Another year, another Lego title. You might think I’d be tempted not to give the game a chance, given my previous musings on the subject, but I went into this new title with the most positive intentions.
What does take things to the next level is when you collaborate with another character to perform a double-takedown, but these are slightly awkward and time-consuming to pull of, so you’ll find you do it once to see what it is for that combination of characters (with about 400 to choose from and a different one depending on who kicked things off, that’s about 800 to see), and then carry on brawling in the same way as you always have.
Environments are quite diverse, and not as random as they felt in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, thanks to the familiar storylines and links to the films, though there are a few which are almost identical to how they appeared in the previous games. There are a number of hub worlds this time, rather than just the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and New York City, including Asgard, Washington D.C. and even Hawkeye’s secret farm, all of which have their own side missions to explore. Unfortunately you are introduced to an area in a story mission and fairly quickly whisked away again, unless you actively try to wander off and ignore the story, but most side missions require various characters, which means you need to have unlocked Free Play by completing the story first.
There’s 100 characters which you haven’t played in a Lego game before, but many of them are comic characters you haven’t heard of,
The story itself features the original audio from the films themselves, meaning the jokes are just as strong as ever, and if nothing else, the game feels like an immersive way to watch The Avengers again. Jokes take on a different style with some of TT Games’ now trademark visual humour, which creates some of the most chuckle-worthy moments and makes some of the darker moments in the narrative more kid-friendly.
Really that is the biggest thing to remember about this title - it is a game for children more than adults. The puzzle elements are more visual this time around, so kids can warm to them more easily without mum and dad’s help, leaving the biggest challenge for adults - to reach ‘True Avenger’ on the story missions, which involves collecting over a certain number of Lego studs, and is markedly more challenging this time around thanks to the ability to increase your score by building up a multiplier in combat first.
The characters have a little more variety than they did before, though some (we’re looking at you Scarlet Witch) still seem to have more than the average amount of secrets, or have a surprising range or abilities. There’s 100 characters in the box which you haven’t played in a Lego game before, but many of them are comic characters you haven’t heard of, whereas you miss out on family favourites like Wolverine. It seems to want to have its cake and eat it too, by focusing on characters we know from the films, but then still including their comic versions rather than MCU versions in the game itself.
The other usual mechanics are all here, such as the character creator (which I’ve never put much stock in) and the Red Bricks, although The Collector now holds the latter hostage in return for specific mini-missions rather than you stumbling across them naturally.
In all the game is very much what you might expect, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might feel a bit repetitive for those who have played a few of these games before, and it may lack some of the variety from Lego Marvel Superheroes, but in the end it recaptures the fun of the films accurately (even shot for shot in some instances) and the characters are fun to spend time with - some even recorded additional audio specifically for the game.
Considering its available on pretty much every platform under the sun, you’d struggle to avoid it if you have a youngster pulling at your trouser leg for something to occupy them over the weekend, and this fits the bill in a way which few other games can.