LEGO Marvel's Avengers Review (XONE)

LEGO Marvel's Avengers screen
LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Warner Bros.

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I used to 100% every LEGO game, but as the levels keep getting longer and more complex, my desire to re-play them to collect everything has completely evaporated.  On the other hand, as the open world hubs have grown and gotten more interesting, I find myself grinding through the increasingly bland story missions so I can unlock the actual fun stuff.  The good news is that LEGO Marvel's Avengers has some of the best open world hubs the series has had yet.

  The bad news is that it also has some of the most bloated, boring, and un-fun story missions we've seen in a LEGO game in a long time.  See all of the details here.     

Game Details

  • Publisher:  Warner Bros. Interactive
  • Developer: Traveller's Tales
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros:  Tons of Marvel characters; LEGO sense of humor; fun open worlds
  • Cons:  Story levels are boring; puzzles; combat is bad; confusing plot

Features

LEGO Marvel's Avengers focuses mainly on the two Avengers movies for the bulk of the story missions, but there are also levels based on scenes from "Iron Man 3", "Captain America: The First Avenger", "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", and "Thor: The Dark World".  They are presented in a jumbled, out of order mess, though, so unless you've seen all of the movies it can be confusing as to what exactly is going on and when it's supposedly happening.

  The game features more than 200 characters including Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, and Hulk along with a surprising amount of totally obscure Marvel characters you probably won't recognize.  Strangely, popular characters like Spider-Man, any X-Men or other mutants, or the Guardians of the Galaxy are totally absent.

  This is disappointing, but does serve to truly separate this game from LEGO Marvel Superheroes, so it is understandable why it was done.

Gameplay

The core LEGO gameplay is present and accounted for, of course.  You break blocks, collect studs, build stuff, and different characters have unique abilities required to interact with different types of LEGO blocks.  Unlike LEGO Jurassic World, which was mostly puzzles with limited combat, LEGO Marvel's Avengers gives you large helpings of both, which is where the first problem comes in.  Combat is bad here.  Really bad.  Unless your character is a super powered hero, which you'd think would be the norm in a game like this but most characters are actually normal-strength folks, beating enemies takes a really, really, really long time.  Using Thor or Hulk lets you plow through enemy hordes easily.  Almost everyone else?  Not so much.  This makes combat an absolute chore.  You do have team up moves where two characters perform a power move, as well as sort of instant kill moves where you can take out an enemy in one hit after you build up a meter, but these take several precious seconds to execute every single time, so you get tired of seeing them pretty quickly.

Another issue is that the game does a surprisingly poor job of telling you what to do next.  I have played through almost every LEGO game, so you'd think I'd have a handle on how to solve puzzles and what to do, but there was at least one point in every single level where I didn't know what the heck to do.  The solution was always that I needed to destroy some single block somewhere or hit a switch or pull a lever I couldn't see so it was always simple, but to get hung up somewhere on every single level was very, very frustrating.  And this is supposed to be a kids game!  On top of that, enemies infinitely respawn in many areas while you're trying to figure out how to make progress, and considering the combat is only mediocre to begin with, it isn't a very good experience.  I genuinely miss the shorter and simpler levels of the original LEGO Star Wars games

Once you grind out the 15 or so story missions, the game opens up and the real fun begins.  There are several hub worlds in LEGO Marvel's Avengers, including Manhattan and smaller areas in Asgard, Washington D.C., and a couple others.  Each of these hubs offer side missions, unlockable characters, and more.  Manhattan is the largest, of course, and is mostly the same as in LEGO Marvel Superheroes, but now there are also random crimes to stop all over.  Switching characters at will, puzzles that require actual thought instead of just smashing everything, being able to explore iconic locations in the Marvel universe - I've felt that the open world hub sections have been the best parts of recent LEGO games, and that is definitely the case once again here.  Here's hoping the next games skip the dedicated story levels and just make a big fun open world with missions spread around that world a'la Metal Gear Solid V.  I'd love that.

Graphics & Sound

Visually, LEGO Marvel's Avengers does look very good.  The level backgrounds look fantastic and special effects for all of the different super powers and weapon blasts flying all over the screen look great. 

The sound is also good, for the most part.  Music and sound effects are taken right from the movies and, just like LEGO Jurassic World, dialogue from the movie is re-used here.  The sound quality of the dialogue is a little sub-par, though, and sounds pretty muffled compared to the louder and clearer quality of everything else. 

Bottom Line

In the end, LEGO Marvel's Avengers is one of the weaker LEGO titles we've seen in a while.  Similar to LEGO The Hobbit, efforts made here to make it bigger and more complex and more cinematic have ultimately made it too big and boring and too much of a grind to get through.  It isn't that I'm tired of LEGO games like a lot of reviewers seem to be - I really loved The LEGO Movie Game and LEGO Jurassic World here lately (enough I played them both twice to get all of the achievements on 360 and XONE) - it is simply that LEGO Marvel's Avengers just isn't that good.  If you love the movies the game features there are definitely some cool moments and some fun to be had in LEGO Marvel's Avengers, but if you aren't a die-hard Marvel Cinematic Universe fan you can probably skip this one.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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