Every year, we see a flood of incredibly violent games coming from almost every direction, and sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and have fun with a palette cleanser. Lego Marvel Super Heroes may be the ultimate palette cleanser, as well as one of my favorite video game experiences of the year! I've played all of the previous Lego games, and where some were good and some bad, Marvel Super Heroes is the only one I'd call fantastic! Of course, Lego has tackled superheroes before with the two Lego Batman games, with the latter even focusing more on DC Comics as a whole, but never before have they paid such tribute to the franchise that they have Legofied. This game is fandom at its best and it’s very clear that the people TT Games are huge Marvel fans. There are pulls from all over the Marvel catalog and not just from the comics. With a splash of inspiration from both film and comic book universes (and even some from reality), Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a game that manages to be pleasing on every level and offers a lot to any Marvel fan.
The main cast of Marvel heroes and villains that you expect to see are very well represented. The character roster is the biggest of any Lego game and pulls from literally everywhere that the Marvel name has touched; Howard the Duck is in this game! There are even Stan Lee cameos hidden in every level and you have to save him. This game also isn't just pulling from Marvel, but there are very direct references to movies like Ghostbusters 2 and Jurassic Park that are just fantastic. On top of all of the Marvel nostalgia, though, lies a surprisingly good story. One of my main problems with Lego Batman 2 is that the DC heroes were saved until the last level and then just kind of shoved in there, and the story itself was merely passable. Lego Marvel has you pulling heroes from every corner of the franchise immediately and even has some great team-ups as you work to stop Loki, Doctor Doom, and Magneto, who have teamed up to do some seriously diabolical work. The writing is easily the funniest I have seen in any Lego game and literally had me laughing at my screen from the first mission to the end. The characters are all given a great and fitting personality that ties into the story really well. One of my favorite things about the game is the way characters are thrown together to deal with a situation and you actually get a great sense of teamwork which is important in the Marvel franchise. A lot of these games can kind of drag by the end but Lego Marvel manages to keep the momentum going with a great comic book story on top of fantastically designed levels, making you want to jump out for more as soon as you finish.
The gameplay is the same as other Lego games for the most part. You have your open world map of New York City, which is the same idea as Gotham City was in Lego Batman 2, but feels a little more open. You have your missions that are accessed from the hub world, and in these missions you will collect studs, find hidden minikits, and fight a boss or two. The levels are some of the best designed of any Lego game, and do well to offer a ton of variety as you play. It also helps that almost every character is just incredibly fun to use. With the wide arrange of powers for each character, the game does an amazing job of making everyone feel unique and useful. Almost every level has you with at least a handful of characters and everyone has their part to play. Each character is also unique in combat. I know these games aren’t difficult and are meant for kids but it really feels like TT Games isn’t just aiming for a kids demographic with this title. Even adults should have fun smashing up bad guys with the different super heroes and villains at your disposal. I wouldn’t say the combat is deep, really, but it is just a lot of fun. The open world is also so jam packed with unlockable characters, vehicles, and secret levels that you could honestly spend hours just roaming the city experimenting and have plenty to keep you busy.
The Lego games have been consistently looking better with each release and Lego Marvel is definitely the peak of their work so far in the visuals department. Lego Marvel is easily the brightest and flashiest game that they have ever released. The levels are the definition of eye candy and there are actually some legitimately amazing particle effects done with Lego studs. It’s weird to think that a kids game designed around children’s’ building toys can look as good as it does but the proof is in the pudding. Lego Marvel spans some interesting environments and all of them just look amazing. Asgard in particular was one of my favorite stages based purely on the visuals. The voice acting is superb as well. Some voice actors who have done Marvel characters in previous cartoons and games return to do their characters, but otherwise there are some great stand-ins for the voice cast and everyone is able to bring their A-game and deliver some hilarious lines.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes may not only be the best Lego game, but one of the best super hero games. With an insanely large cast of characters and some of the funniest writing I’ve seen this year, Lego Marvel is incredibly entertaining and some of the most fun I’ve had with a game this year. I’ve never played a game that consistently made me feel good as I played it and never left me bored after the ten hour story. This is a game that I just want to keep diving into and absorb as much out of it as I can. I had a feeling I would enjoy this game, and maybe it just came at the right time of the year, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. With an industry full of dark and brooding violent games, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is an amazing palette cleanser and an extremely fun time.