Not too long after the LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game, another LEGO title hits just in time for the holiday season. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is out for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC – we’re reviewing the PS4 version.
With the Skylanders, Infinity and LEGO Dimensions franchises no longer doing as well as they once did, the LEGO name is arguably the biggest name in family friendly videogames. At the same time, an often heard point of criticism is that the formula hasn’t seen much innovation over the years. LEGO’s version of The Force Awakens took some steps in the right direction, but the LEGO Ninjago Movie game didn’t really follow through upon that promise. How does Marvel Super Heroes 2 fare in that regard?
One way in which Super Heroes 2 differs from a lot of the other LEGO titles is that it doesn’t take a movie franchise as its starting point. Sure, the Guardians of the Galaxy feature somewhat prominently, but the connection isn’t nearly as strong as it is in the LEGO Avengers games. Where those games clearly cater to the movie-going crowd, Super Heroes 2 feels more much like an homage to the comic book superfans – especially those who can name at least ten Marvel characters who have never appeared in movies. Go on – see if you’re in that group. I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t when I started playing this game.
Featuring a wide range of familiar and not-so-familiar characters on the hero-villain spectrum, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 brings a ton of characters together for a mashup in which you face off with Kang the Conqueror. The locations in which your adventure plays out are as diverse as the cast of the game, ranging from city scenes to Egypt’s deserts and an alien homeworld.
Of course, as with pretty much any LEGO game, all of these locations also have their fair share of unlockables, secrets and achievements to find. Some through puzzles that are based around a certain character’s skills, others by merely exploring the less straightforward corners of a level. Common skills that you use are superior strength to lift things out of the way, ranged weapons to hit switches that are just out of reach, and time manipulation. You’ll need Doctor Strange for the latter, who was my favorite character for this exact reason.
Of course the wide array of characters you can unlock will appeal to comic book enthusiasts as well as completionists, although for me personally a lot of unlocks were met with “who’s that?!?” – which lessens the excitement especially when you consider who you are missing from the roster. It happened to me with Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, and to a lesser degree it happened here as well.
Besides the campaign and the long grind towards unlocking every single bit of content available to you, you can also engage in the game’s Battle Arena mode, which is best played as a multiplayer battle mode with a few friends. On top of that, the grind’s made a bit more enjoyable through the minigames that are scattered around the game world and which can be replayed at a later time as well. The same can be said for the game’s boss fights as well, but unfortunately these aren’t as exciting as one would hope. Perhaps it’s that the characters aren’t as familiar, but even when they are I found that most boss fights are of the rinse and repeat variety and generally have a knack of outstaying their welcome.
The audiovisual presentation of the game is among the better examples within the LEGO videogame range, with the kind of high quality visuals that started with The Force Awakens and a ton of detail. This goes for the audio portion as well, especially when it comes to the amount of speech that was recorded for the game.
If you’re familiar with the LEGO range of games, you already know what to expect – and at this point, who isn’t familiar with them. If you’re a diehard fan then you already know that you’ll be picking this up, and the same should apply to Marvel comic book fans. If you’re a more casual fan of this type of game then you might want to consider which of the recent games you’ll want to pick up – especially considering that The Force Awakens will have dropped in price by now and Super Heroes 2 is a full price release. It’s solid fun, but it doesn’t push the LEGO genre in exciting new directions.