Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: LEGO Marvel Super heroes (PS3)


Travellers Tales have become the de facto developers of all things LEGO based for the gaming market.  They have made some truly memorable gaming experiences taking loved franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and more.  I personally felt that LEGO lords of the rings was something of a failure for the LEGO games as it just didn't feel right and had some incredibly annoying gameplay elements.

LEGO Marvel Superheroes however is a return to form for TT games.  The story centres around the latest scheme of Doctor Doom as he recruits a team of the most powerful super villains to his cause for world domination.  Each villain sets off on their own mission to obtain cosmic bricks to complete dooms plan and this is where Shield steps in, backed up by the super heroes of the Marvel universe.

The game follows the typical structure of LEGO games with levels advancing the story which need to be completed in free play to 100% them.  The now default hub area is here again, now a LEGO representation of Marvel New York complete with Stark tower, Baxter building, X mansion and Oscorp amongst others.  Many of these locales are the focal points of levels or optional levels which unlock more characters and gold bricks.

Bosses can be massive
It's pretty straightforward gameplay really, the most novel element being the way the characters super powers are used.  Iron man can fly, shoot missiles, repulsor blasts and lasers making him one of the most useful characters in the game.  Sadly this is a problem many LEGO games suffer since one character can generally perform most tasks in the game.  But being able to swing around as Spider-man, mind control as Jean grey and be an unstoppable force as the Hulk it's still fun.

The game isn't exactly free of bugs though.  The most prevalent of these is freezing.  Ever since the first Harry Potter game LEGO titles have regularly frozen on consoles with zero work to fix these issues by TT games.  From start to 100% finish the game must have frozen at least 12 times during play.  Once after completing a level it simply crashed back to the XMB.   These issues are inexcusable now after so many LEGO titles, how travellers tales have allowed these bugs to persist is beyond me.  Without these issues the game would be really fun if not a little hollow post completion.

Post game after unlocking every character and completing every level it would have been fun to play mini games such as combat arena's or challenges to justify playing some of the characters.  Many of them become excess to requirement and are more for novelty more than gameplay.  It's nice to see them go to the effort of creating characters like Ronan, the accuser but since you never have a level that uses them he will never be used.

Another issue is the races.  In the hub you will spend time collecting gold bricks, characters and vehicles and many of these are unlocked by completing various races dotted around the city.  These are not fun by any stretch of the imagination with terrible movement controls which are either incredibly unresponsive or whiplash inducingly quick resulting in you crashing into everything in your path as you struggle to reach checkpoints.  Flying races are even harder because there are no dedicated flight controls and flying up and down is incredibly frustrating.

I do really enjoy the combat though as basic as it is, the team have really gone to town in creating numerous kill animations for each character.  I do hope TT games advance the combat in future titles since the LEGO is becoming very stale these days despite the allure of the brands.

Asgard, Latveria, Asteroid M and more are visited
The voice acting in game is top notch with numerous actors reprising their roles from across Marvel cartoon series and games.  It's great to hear Steve Blum as Wolverine, Nolan North as Deadpool amongst many others.  The local civilian voices are decent but repeat their lines far too often as you play with certain becoming grating after a short while.  A number of in game sounds have been lifted from the recent films so expect to hear all of Iron man's robotic effects, Captain America's shield hum and more.  The soundtrack uses a few Iron man and Avengers tracks mixed in with the usual LEGO sound.  It works for the most part.

Graphically the game is good.  Characters look like little plastic figures running around on screen and are quite expressive given their limited faces.  Still every character is recognisable and will make the avid mini figure collector dream of owning many of these in real life.  The rest of the games effects are environments look fine but once again the use of realistic environments with LEGO figures doesn't always work.

Overall LEGO Marvel Superheroes is one of the better LEGO games from Travellers Tales.  It does suffer from bugs that can ruin your experience but the overall gameplay is fun and collecting everything scratches that itch for some players.  The races are annoying but the story levels and bonus levels are fun so it balances out.

SCORE: 8.0/10

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