Monday, November 10, 2014

TGLVG: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Yeah, I know. Two video game reviews in a row? What gives?? Well, its my blog. I do what I want! BWAHAHA!!! ...ehem.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes
(PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, OSx)

*NOTE: This review will cover the PS3 version*

Over the past 6 or 7 years, Tell Tale Games has been releasing a stream of increasingly fun Lego-based games. The earliest entries included Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Carribean, and later expanded to franchises like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and even Batman/Justice League. Personally, I've played through Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and my wife greatly enjoys both Harry Potter games, but by far the superior game in the Lego series so far has been Lego Marvel.

Now please understand, I'm acutely aware that I'm a Marvel fanboy. However, here are the quick stats of how much bang you get for your buck, whether or not you enjoy Marvel comics:

155 unique characters (not just re-skins, also not including the 10 or so DLC characters)
15 story missions, 11 bonus missions
12 slots for customizeable characters (yeah, you can MAKE YOUR OWN SUPERHEROES!!)
44 different land vehicles
15 different air vehicles
Multiple unique costumes for 20+ characters
This is the pre-DLC character list. The blacked out spots are create-a-character slots.
Oh and let's not forget the best part: If you're sick of doing missions and just want to unlock some stuff, the team at Tt Games painstakingly recreate the ENTIRE ISLAND of Manhattan out of Legos and filled it with citizens and cars for you to explore, which has thus far been my favorite part!

Okay, now that I've gushed over the content, let's get into the nitty gritty and review this sucker!

Each level houses lots of secrets for different characters.

One of the greatest strengths that this game has is how late in the Lego series it is, as well as how far into the console life cycle. Because of those two reasons, the game looks beautiful. The island of Manhattan is seamless, and the load times between missions and gameplay are very bearable.

That said, there are some downsides in this department. Because of the scale of the game, it is incredibly glitchy. I have the game downloaded onto my system, so I don't need a disc. While this is convenient, the first time I downloaded the 7GB game (which took a good two hours) it would crash every time I'd play it, within 20 minutes of playing it. I recently deleted and re-installed it, and that problem seems to have gone away, but there are plenty of glitches still present.

This isn't a surprise considering how large the game is, but it still can be a buzzkill during some levels. Characters will frequently get stuck within the map, and in several cases they'd get stuck in such a way that I had no choice but to restart entire levels. One instance had Iron Man falling, dying, respawning, then falling and dying again, to the point where I couldn't switch characters, or do anything. These glitches do bump down my final rating, but are not enough to deter a purchase by any means!

The cutscenes are crisp, and very funny for the child at heart.

The game takes place in three main areas: Story missions that usually last around 20 minutes, bonus missions, usually around 10 minutes, and free roaming through Manhattan.

The story missions have you slowly building your ranks with heroes as they combat an increasingly large amount of villains, who are trying to secure mysterious "cosmic bricks", black Lego bricks that hold extreme power. Each story mission teams up two to four heroes, and has you swapping between them in order to solve puzzles and beat up bad guys. If you're playing two player (which I HIGHLY recommend), each player takes control of one hero, but you can still swap. But even if you're playing single player, the other hero will still be on screen at all times. Each story mission also has a multitude of unlockable areas and items, many of which you can't even unlock until you replay the mission with different characters, which greatly expands the replayability of the story. Oh, and in typical Marvel movie style, stay tuned after the credits when you beat story mode for a bonus scene!

The bonus missions are unlocked by completing enough optional objectives within the story missions, or by acquiring enough Gold Bricks, which are found by solving puzzles in the open world of Manhattan. These missions are typically good for a laugh, and involve tasks like helping Iron Man throw a party for the Avengers, or playing as Spider-Man as he cleans up an office after a villain attacked it. These, just like the story missions, have three or four side objectives to help unlock more characters, but don't hold a whole lot of replay value beyond one or two times.

The streets never feel empty of life or activity!

For my money, the free roam in Manhattan is where this game shines. Picture the open world environment of games like Grand Theft Auto, but in Lego form, and kid friendly. Through all three game modes, you collect Lego bits which are used as currency to unlock characters, costumes, and vehicles. Personally I spent the most time collecting these in free roam mode, by having any hero drive a car, smashing through stop lights, mailboxes, and anything that will break.

But here is why the free roam mode really shines: It's two player! I can't remember how many times growing up that I wanted to play Grand Theft Auto 3 two player with my brother, but we never could. Well in Lego Marvel, you and a friend can split up, and do whatever you want in free roam. The screen splits, and you can help or ditch your co op partner as you see fit.

You'll play as everyone from Iron Man to Taskmaster, to Howard the Duck.
I cannot stress enough how much you need to give this game a try. Though mainly geared towards a younger audience (with features like the inability to get a game over, constant instructions appearing on screen, etc.) it has something for absolutely everyone. With a few more bug fixes, it would definitely be a perfect ten, but there is nothing here that will make you never want to play it again.

9 out of 10. An absolute must play!

As I stated earlier, if you decide to go the downloaded route, and you have some issues, just uninstall and re-install it. Worked like a charm for me!