When LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game released in 2005, it was a huge hit. Fans loved seeing famous moments from the classic sci-fi films recreated in block form, and both the puzzles and platforming felt fresh for the time. Since then we’ve seen major franchises such as Harry Potter and Batman get the same treatment. Now, over ten years later, the series is back once again, this time reenacting events from Joss Whedon’s Avengers movies.
If you’ve experienced any of the 20+ LEGO games released in the past 10 years, then you should feel right at home with how LEGO Marvel’s Avengers plays. You’ll run around New York City destroying every object in sight in order to create new objects, and solve puzzles by using character-specific abilities. Practically every Marvel character under the sun is included in the game, too, even if they didn’t appear in the Avengers. So, if you’re a fan of Squirrel Girl, then you’re in luck.
While the instant familiarity is comforting, it soon becomes apparent that nothing has changed from previous installments. The combat is still largely done by using a single button, which does little to make you feel like you’re controlling an awesome God such as Thor. The puzzles are still completely reliant on making sure you find every breakable item, which means players can easily get stuck if they don’t notice something is interactive. Sadly, the series just hasn’t progressed in any significant way, and it feels like a retread in every way possible.
Marvel fans most likely got their fill in 2013 with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, but this release has the advantage of allowing them to relive the recent Avengers films. Both of the movies are fully told throughout the game’s lengthy campaign, and most of the memorable scenes, such as the fight between Iron Man and the Hulk, are playable.
Reliving some of the epic battles that were seen in these films sounds like an awesome premise for a game, but sadly the gameplay just isn’t up to the task. Most important fights end with a sequence that merely require players to mash on a button repeatedly. This makes defeating Loki feel more like a chore rather than an actual accomplishment. Even quick-time events would feel more interactive, and enjoyable. The combat never feels well executed, which is pretty disappointing for a game where you play as some of the most powerful beings in the entire galaxy.
Not only does the combat feel unsatisfying, but it’s also made completely trivial due to the game infinitely respawning enemies. Nothing of any value is gained by beating up on enemies, as more will immediately take their place. In turn, this means most players will likely tire out of the combat and just run around trying to solve the puzzles so that they can move on while enemies constantly shoot at them.
Just like its predecessor, a full open-world is also available even if you probably won’t notice it until you’ve beaten the story. There are a ton of LEGO studs to collect, and lots of secrets to be found in the game’s version of New York City. Flying around Harlem as Iron Man is still pretty dang cool, even if you will have had your fill of collecting objects by the time the credits roll.
The most damning thing about LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is the sense of déjà vu players will experience. It isn’t in a good way either, as it largely feels like you’re playing a really pretty PlayStation 2 game. The series just hasn’t evolved, and almost every aspect from the puzzle solving to the combat feels clunky. This franchise seriously needs a revamp, and not just another re-skinned adventure.
If LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is your first LEGO game, then you might get a kick out of seeing some awesome films redone in block form. If not, you’ve seen this all before. The lack of any new game mechanics, and the fact that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes released less than three years ago, makes this feel like the dullest game yet in Traveller’s Tales’ long running series. We’ve seen this exact spiel before in LEGO form, and it isn’t any more interesting the second time around.
This review is based on the Xbox One version, which we were provided with.
Playing through LEGO Marvel's Avengers may trigger the sense of déjà vu if you've experienced any past games in the series. There isn't anything new to see here, and the franchise really needs a serious revamp if it's going to continue.