Preview: LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes hands-on
It was 2006 when I had my first lash of LEGO gaming. An editor at Official PlayStation Magazine tossed me the LEGO: Star Wars II review. What did I do wrong? I asked. Oh, you’ve never played one before? he responded. Well, you’re in for a treat, and he was right.
What the LEGO branded franchises based on film and pop culture properties get right over its peers is the balance of fun gameplay for both the young of age and young at heart, and never condescends treating the children, like, well, children.
It is the secret to successful ‘all-ages’ films and video-game series alike and ensures it reaches the broadest audiences possible. I’ve played through several previous iterations with my six-year old nephew and it’s hard to pinpoint which one of us is having a better time. Yep, LEGO is just that good.
The tried and tested LEGO formula stays true to form in LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes. You’ll beat, bash, crush and destroy a toy store’s worth of bricks, become a dab hand at solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles to earn yourself some sweet sweet LEGO bits as currency.
The characters are voiced this time around (some previous versions had a charming mumble as the only vocal intonation from its leads) and as usual you can switch on the fly between heroes to find the right mutant ability to suit the situation, or to just mess around for the hell of it.
Where it differs is the sheer insane number of characters you can choose from and unlock and how true their abilities are to their nature. They all just feel right. In the short playtest I had I managed to take to the skies as Iron Man and repulsed my fair share of enemies. I got my webslinging on with your friendly neighbourhood you-know-who. I called down the thunder as a Norse god leaving everything in my wake a little Thor… ahem… sore.
Down on the ground I brandished twin katanas as Deadpool, brandished my S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Coulson (welcome back from the dead buddy), took enemies apart a slice at a time as Wolverine and even got a feel for vibranium as I took my favourite star spangled Captain out for a spin as his iconic shield performed perfectly as a whirling dervish of LEGO destruction. If that wasn’t enough you can even take control of the man himself Stan ‘Excelsior’ Lee and his powers are sure to surprise you.
The other noticeable change was the introduction of the larger sized heroes, or Big-figs such as The Hulk. These bad boys can lift and throw cars, pick up chunks of the ground and send them careening into enemies or just simply… smash!
As I was battling Sandman in a construction site or Loki on the Bifrost (rainbow) Bridge the hardest thing to do was stay on mission. Every new unlocked champion just begged to be tried out. I knew each character’s powers and skill-set but was still intrigued to see how they translated across and played out.
After predominantly covering the DC Universe of heroes (Batman, Superman and the like) in previous versions, this Marvel-centric offering is coming at you no holds barred and offering a ridiculous number of playable characters with countless super-powered options. Decisions, decisions. I never thought I’d have such a deep spandex-clad smorgasbord to choose from.
The hardest choice I had to make was who to play first and I still haven’t narrowed the list down in the slightest. It was like being a kid all over again and being spoiled with every hero figurine on your birthday. I wanted to try that one. No. Wait. That one. Wait. I’ve got it now. THAT one. You know what? Stuff it. I’ll just jump into free-play, take my time and play them all. You’ll want to, too.