LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is among the best LEGO games ever created. The FingerGuns Review;
If there’s one thing that TT Games excels at when compared to any other developer in the world it’s that their passion and understanding of the licensed property that they’re working on always shines through. Whether it be the sci-fi antics of LEGO Star Wars, the hijinks in the LEGO Movie game or the magical whimsy of LEGO Harry Potter, the love from the developers always rises to the top and you can feel the palpable excitement they have for the subject matter in what they create.
With “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2”, they go beyond that. This game is their magnum opus that responds to most of the criticism levelled at them in the past and delivers a wonderful, laugh out loud comic book romp that’s among the best the studio has ever created.
The game begins with Kang The Conqueror attacking Xandar from his giant sword-shaped space ship and Nova Prime calling out to the Guardians of the Galaxy for help – Don’t worry if that sounded like I had started speaking in tongues. It’s all explained very clearly in the game who is who and what they’re doing. Peter Quill, Groot and company dutifully oblige and they discover that Kang isn’t playing fair by using time manipulation to aide him in his fight. Using these powers, Kang pulls chunks of various realities together to form the city of “Chronopolis” which forms the main hub for the game. It’s a neat little introduction that sets the comedic tone for the rest of the game. While the plot of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is entirely original, it riffs on the most memorable locations and events from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in their own unique LEGO slapstick fashion. Various versions of Captain America, Miss Marvel, Iron Man, Spidey and a myriad of famous Marvel characters team up to take on Kang. Elsewhere, this game shines a spotlight on Marvel comic characters that haven’t previously had a chance to shine in a video game like Kid Colt in the Wild West, The various Black Knights of Medieval England and Horus in Egypt. The various sources of inspiration from comic books, movies, the other games, the meta surrounding Marvel and some original creations too make for a lovely lattice of characters and events.
What’s obvious after playing just a small chunk of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is that the writers and designers had a lot of fun creating it and that shines through in the game itself. Whether it’s the enemy troops dancing along to “Come And Get Your Love” while Star Lord listens along on his headphones, when you help a superhero chef called “Iron Pan” to cook a turkey to perfection or when you’re helping Taserface to find a less ridiculous name, it’s a game that has it’s tongue firmly pressed into its cheek. The massive amount of optional hub content is just as fun as the main story missions because the writing is intelligent and humorous.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 plays predominantly how you’d expect if you’ve ever played a LEGO game before. It’s as “smash everything in sight and collect all the studs” as any title before it and for the most part, the game is only as deep as using the right character for the situation. Gold brick barring your path? Use Iron Man’s lasers to melt them. Silver brick in your way? Use Green Goblins explosives to blow them up. Unbreakable glass ahead? Use Black Bolt’s sonic voice to clear the way. This game does go out of its way to prevent anything becoming repetitive. The heroes you use in the main story missions are constantly getting rotated and changed so that each of the main Marvel heroes and heroines get a fair amount of play time without it becoming stale.
Outside of the main story content, the optional side quests vary from being simple fetch quests to in depth puzzles. Some of this content simply involves visiting 5 locations in Chronopolis while others require studying a room to find a code and the reversing and forwarding time so that a structure reconstructs and deconstructs before your eyes. There’s a variety of minigames that can be played in solo, co-op or competitive too such as pig jousting, Hexagon Blitz (which is a memory game) and the 4-player battle arenas that allow you to use the Infinity Stones to blast each other in the face.
One of the bigger innovations in this game is the boss battles. TT Games have adopted a traditionally JRPG styled system here with enemies having health bars that can become locked as bosses go through different stages and transformations. Some bosses call in minions for you to defeat which give them chance to regenerate their health. Defeating these minions quickly means the boss goes down easier. Other bosses retreat to a safe spot and call in dangers for you to avoid. As per every previous LEGO game, there’s no “game over” criteria and a death only shaves off a thousand or so studs from your total but this new system certainly gives a heightened feeling of threat to the combat.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the new Create-a-Character functionality that has been introduced in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. You can tailor everything about your customer hero/ine from the clothes they wear, the colour of their hands and the abilities they have. Rather than just a “nice to have” addition as it has been in so many other LEGO games, you can create a truly custom and, most importantly, useful character when it comes to the game play. Pulling together a character with the right skills needed to root out those minikits makes gunning for that elusive 100% completion all the easier.
Technically, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is one of the most proficient LEGO games to date. There are still a few glitches here and there – I’ve had 2 NPC’s I was supposed to be following get snagged on a piece of the environment meaning that I’ve had to restart a mission from scratch – and when travelling quickly along roads, the frame rate can take a dip but other than that, it runs very well indeed.
The only other complaint is to do with the voice acting. The vast majority of the voice actors do a fantastic job, particularly Peter Serafinowicz who really gives Kang the Conqueror this humorous yet menacing tone that can’t have been easy to balance. Some of the voice acting is a little flat and some of the guest voice actors feel out of place and dialled in compared to others. It’s a shame that the cast from the previous games couldn’t return here because of the SAG-AFTRA strike but the new cast do an admirable job.
I’ve purposefully delayed my review of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 to give my kids enough time to finish the game given the fact that I’m about 15 years outside of the target demographic. I can confirm that my 8 year old, my 5 year old twins and even my 2 year old love LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. For my eldest, he gets to live out those dream Marvel team up’s that are normally reserved for an Avengers movie, my twins love the slapstick trademark LEGO comedy and my youngest so just likes to mash the Square button to throw squirrels while playing as Squirrel Girl which he finds infinitely entertaining. This game is one that’s designed with kids in mind but also for parents. There’s a helpful hint system that can be called upon and there’s often detailed instructions shown on screen which are fantastic for those few “DAAAAD, Can you help me?” moments. Everything is relatively intuitive for children but there are some puzzles which are beyond my children (and, admittedly, also caused me some head scratching). The co-op has been vastly improved for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 allowing the 2 different players to accept separate hub missions at the same time which has saved a lot of potential arguments among my kids. No more “Well, I want to go and do this” and “I want to go and do that”, they can do things at the same time.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is the best LEGO game for quite some time, which is quite an achievement given that the series is held in very high regard among my family already. It’s deeply entertaining for both adults and children alike with design elements geared towards both. Despite a handful of malfunctioning NPC’s, some flat voice work and the same awkward vehicle controls as always, it’s easily the best family game of 2017. If you’re looking for a game to keep your little heroes entertained this Christmas, look no further than LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (review version), Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.
Developer: TT Games
Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment