They might get a bit of stick from some gamers who brand them as generic games for kids but I can’t help but enjoy a good LEGO game, especially where superheroes are concerned! I don’t think anyone can argue that LEGO games have improved over the years, with advancements in technology we have seen some great titles on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and most recently the awesome LEGO City Undercover on Wii U which sadly due to the take up of the console won’t get the recognition it deserves.
Since I became a father playing through LEGO games has been a more regular occurrence in our household, now at 6 and a half years old this game was the reason that my son Luke wanted a PlayStation 4, welcome to the world of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes! After LEGO Batman 2 the bar for LEGO games was set pretty high, the open world sandbox element to that game where you could play as your favorite DC characters outside of the main story was so much fun, we played an awful lot of the game and it still remains a firm favorite. As soon as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was announced we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it and it has certainly been worth the wait.
The story is nice and straightforward, Galactus the Devourer has got a hunger on and is headed for Earth to make it his main course, the herald of Galactus, the Silver Surfer is attacked on earth and his board shattered into pieces which get scattered across the globe. These pieces are referred to as cosmic bricks and Doctor Doom quickly sets out to collect these and with the help of his evil chums tries to take over the world (insert evil laugh here).
Despite being a next gen title there is obviously nothing new with the controls, if you have played any LEGO game before then you will feel right at home here. Now this is no bad thing, the controls have always been pretty intuitive and as the old saying goes, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it! With the flying characters, you gain altitude by holding onto X and lose it by holding O and if you double tap X you use a supersonic boost to help you get that little bit quicker. The usual collectibles are here, gold bricks, red bricks and minikits can all be hunted down and used to unlock more goodies.
Given the huge catalogue of characters you can pick from this time around there are quite a few different abilities to get your teeth into. The main storyline gives you plenty of chances to play as different types of characters which will help to whet your appetite for free play. Vehicles are plentiful in the open world hub which can be used if you want to but to be honest with all of the abilities that you have at your disposal the vehicles are kind of un-necessary, I mean who wants to drive a school bus when you can soar up into the sky as Iron Man or The Human Torch right?
The map is accessed via the touch screen in the Dualshock 4 and works nicely as a navigation tool, however, once in the map interface you don’t have to use the touch screen if you don’t want to, you can simply use the regular controls. If you have a PlayStation Vita you won’t be disappointed with the remote play feature, this game is an excellent example of just how easy and useful remote play can be. The game handles beautifully on the handheld and transfer is seamless, I find myself switching my PS4 on with my Vita just to collect some more characters or gold bricks for half an hour here and there whilst I watch some sport or a movie.
It’s a bit of a weird example to say that a LEGO game looks like a true next gen title but on the PS4 it kind of does. Graphics are bright and colorful, character models are very well detailed and have been modeled individually. Animation is superb and each character moves like their comic book counterpart. Take the Hulk and Juggernaut for example, both huge character models but both move and run very differently. When Juggernaut builds up enough speed whilst running he throws his arms behind him and lowers his head in a typical charge style, this kind of care and attention really gives the characters their own level of depth and individuality.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a big jump from the previous games on older systems, the game world is vast and alive, I mean sure it is still only a LEGO game to many but there is something satisfying about seeing a shiny high definition metallic Iron Man, even in LEGO form! The lighting effects on the whole are very well done and all of the levels look extremely well thought out and detailed, there are no issues at all with the frame rate or any other graphical aspects of the game, it is all very smooth. Cut scenes look fantastic and due to the graphical quality of the game they blend in very well with the game itself, often you find the narrative on the cut scene continues into the level itself and this transition is seamless.
If I had to pick one thing to grumble about with how the game looks (and believe me it is tough!) then it would have to be the fact that there appear to be no reflections of our heroes at all. I can forgive this on previous versions but surely with all of the processing power of the PS4 they could have dealt with this? When you are soaring past massive skyscrapers and you don’t see your reflections in the buildings it does feel a little cheap but I really am splitting hairs here.
Familiar Avengers style music plays in the background for missions and encounters which is then set off against some softer background music when you are in the open world hub. This open world section is where you will be spending the majority of our time as a gentle piano and string composition plays behind the sound effects, kind of like a nice bit of jazz whilst you play along and it is very suitable for the post game clean up which in itself is a pretty relaxing experience.
Character voices are varied and surprisingly good across the board which is no shock given the fact that you have (amongst others) the voice talent of Dee Bradley Baker (Klaus in American Dad), Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us and The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins) and John DiMaggio (Bender in Futurama). Joining this line up is Clark Gregg reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson from the Avengers movie and the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The dialogue is well thought out and delivered with the usual level of comedy and sarcasm that you would expect from a LEGO game.
You can play in single player of course and to be fair it can be a lot easier without split screen shenanigans but these games are meant to be enjoyed in co-op. As with all LEGO games the way that the screen splits can really throw you off, making some tasks almost impossible to finish with a second player moving the screen around (especially when you have a 6 year old running around doing his own thing!) Luckily this can be solved with a bit of team work and the second player keeping still for a few minutes or even dropping out temporarily to enable you to finish your task in peace.
The main story is both fun and fairly long but even after you have finished the campaign there is an awful lot to do in the game world, go back to the story levels and mop up all of the collectibles, play through some bonus levels or complete various tasks or mini games to unlock more gold bricks and last but not least try and locate and unlock some of the many characters there are to play with. In fact the amount of characters is pretty mind blowing, with around 150 to choose from it will take some time to grab them all.
A small issue we found whilst playing together was what seemed to be a higher than normal amount of glitches with characters getting stuck in the scenery, you always expect a few in LEGO games especially when the screen gets pulled around during multiplayer but they seemed more frequent here than usual.
I’ve played a few LEGO games in my time but this is hands down the best of the bunch, the subject matter lends itself perfectly to a LEGO game and if you enjoyed LEGO Batman 2 picking this up is an absolute no brainer. The story is well thought out and gripping, both Luke and I were hooked on what would happen next and who we might be playing as, this game really is just so much fun to play. Even if you are not a fan of LEGO games I defy anyone to play this and not enjoy it, it is hands down one of the most polished and enjoyable games I have played in a long time and if it wasn’t for the odd glitch with characters getting stuck it may well have scored even higher.
There is always a huge replay factor in these LEGO games but here there is just so much longevity, we finished the story mode at 21% completion and that was with taking time out to explore and unlock a few extra characters along the way! It looks fantastic and plays just as well on the PlayStation 4, if LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is anything to go by we can expect more high quality, good looking LEGO games in the years to come.
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Developer: TT Games
Release Date: 15th November US and 29th November EU
Platforms: PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS Digital: Yes
Price: $US/EU Rating: ESRB:XX PEGI:XX
Offline Players: 2 Co-Op
Online Players: 2 Co-Op