Bruce Bane hulks up and throws a car at the incoming enemies in the middle of a recognizable New York street, as seen in The Avengers. The studs are flying and enemies fall apart in all their Lego elegance. It’s familiar territory, so we skip over to a boss battle – featuring Dr. Octopus, one of the game’s many villains – at the Fantastic 4 HQ. A multi-leveled fight ensues, one that spans buildings and rooftops, but as we reach the end we are abruptly stopped. This is as far as we get for now.
Lego Marvel Super heroes builds upon a solid foundation with an ever-expanding hub, its trademark abundance of characters and more secrets and unlockables than ever before. Hovering over the city is the Air carrier, your starting point and an always available mini-hub with vehicles to master, 8-9 rooms to explore and bricks to find. It is from here you plunge down to the city below to save the world and fight off familiar foes. As you land you are introduced to a confined tutorial area where you will get to know your superhero’s controls and abilities. As Mr. Fantastic you can shapeshift on cue to anything that a situation requires, and Captain America can put out fires and hit switches with his shield. It’s a formula perfected through multiple games where a character’s unique abilities will have you replay parts of the game to unlock new areas and find those golden collectibles.
New York is a seemingly huge hub. It is bigger than anything built before it, and you are only limited by the Hudson Bay surrounding it. Being a superhero means you can fly, climb and slingshot your way to any place in the hub area in search for new missions and sidequests. Through a story arch that puts you in the shoes of 20 popular heroes, your quest is to prevent the villains from gaining control of the cosmic bricks spread all around the city. Side quests range from silly gags to more profound story bits that help flesh out the story.
It’s no secret that the Lego games are aimed at kids, and as such Lego Marvel Super Heroes takes place in the movie version of The Avengers. It’s more recognizable to them than the comic books, and most of the references found in the game will be from the silver screen version of The Avengers and Fantastic Four. That doesn’t mean the hardcore fans are forgotten. There will be references and easter-eggs, and you can even play as a super-powered Stan Lee voiced by the icon himself.
The game looks and plays as expected, but we did experience some bad framerate issues during hectic encounters. In line with the latest games it will be fully voiced, feature local 2 player co-op, have a bonus area and some 100 characters to play as. They promised a hand picked selection of the coolest superheroes in the Marvel universe, so let’s see if the fans agree when game is out this fall. With what we’ve been shown so far, fans will have little to worry about with Marvel Super Heroes which looks to be yet another solid title in the Lego library.
This hands-on was for the console version of Lego Marvel Super Heroes, but I did manage to confirm that the Vita version will yet again be a separate game designed around handhelds. This is to be expected, but also mildly disappointing considering the strengths of the Vita.