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Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, WiiU, PC)
The combination of Lego with famous movie and comic book franchises has been a massive success in recent years, both in terms of physical sets of bricks and video games.
The themed sets are a lot more advanced than when I played with Lego in the 80s. Fire stations and garages were about the best I could make back in my day.
The 11-year-old me would have loved the Lego Marvel sets and would have ogled them in Gamleys before putting one of his Christmas list.
He would also have really enjoyed the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game because it’s very good.
Packed with the humour and playfulness that have become trademarks of TT Games' Lego titles, it's one of the most fun games I've played this year. I think I've had a smile on my face during just about all the time I've spent with it.
The main campaign starts with 'cosmic bricks' falling to Earth after the Silver Surfer is bumped out of the sky and his surfboard shatters.
Doctor Doom wants to harness the power of these blocks to make the Doom Ray of Doom in cahoots with various other villains such as Loki and Magneto.
SHIELD director Nick Fury counters by sending in the X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four and other heroes such as Spider-Man to retrieve the bricks before they can be used for evil.
The action-adventure game unfolds as a series of episodic missions comprising combinations of heroes giving chase to the villains within familiar Marvel locations such as the Baxter Building, Oscorp Industries and X-Mansion.
The missions contain a mix of platforming, puzzle-solving and fighting which utilise the varying mental and physical abilities possessed by the characters, some of whom are great at fighting or smashing things up (yes, you Hulk) while others are better suited to more cerebral tasks.
Between missions there are open-world segments during which the Lego/Marvel version of New York City can be explored, new characters unlocked, side quests undertaken and hidden items discovered. There are even some very light Grand Theft Auto-like opportunities to create some mayhem by running into pedestrians or commandeering vehicles, while Stan Lee also puts in appearances too.
With no cussing or graphic violence, and everything presented in a colourful cartoony style, Lego Marvel provides good clean video game entertainment aimed at a younger audience.
In some ways it's quite a simplistic game, but it can still provide some testing times.
Some of the combat can be chaotic and intense, particularly during the exciting boss fights.
The puzzles can be quite challenging at times. Usually they are about working out which character's skills or weapons you need to use in order to break through an obstacle or reveal a hidden section, but it can be a bit tricky to reach the required solution. One cool thing during the puzzles is sometimes being able to hold down a button and construct a useful item out of scattered Lego bricks.
This game is like a love letter to fans of both the esteemed brands. A lot of affection for its two sources materials has been shown by the developer, or at least that's how it comes across.
There is a huge army of around 150 Marvel characters featured in the game, ranging from the stars such as Wolverine, Captain America and Thor to more obscure inclusions such as Union Jack, Moon Knight and Squirrel Girl.
There is some nice attention to detail in their actions and voices, which take inspiration from both the comic book heritage and recent movies.
TT Games has created some adorable game worlds faithful to different themes in the past, and the Lego-rendered interpretation of the Big Apple is up there with its best. Seeing vehicles, hotdog stands, people, flowers and many other objects represented as Lego creations never stops being cute.
Although the game is always respectful towards the two brands, there's no getting away from the fact it's still a game which involves playing around as brick-based superheroes - so it's also very silly. There's never so much as a hint of it ever taking itself too seriously, and it's loaded with gags and giggle-worthy moments.
What’s not so much fun are the faults the game has. The camera angles sometimes don't favour the player, the flying controls for characters such as Iron Man are awkward to say the least, heroes occasionally get stuck in scenery and switching between characters can be fiddly.
All of these are a bit frustrating in their own way but don't really dampen enjoyment of the game. This is such a likeable game that it's impossible to be cross with it for a few imperfections.
Such a charming and humorous game that offers high levels of fan service to both camps, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is well worth checking out.
8 out of 10
Out now from Warner Bros for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC and WiiU – PS3 version played
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