Chandrakant IsiMar 08, 2016 16:24:05 IST
Licensed LEGO games have been around for some time. The plastic-brick company has already covered Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Jurassic World. This time around, the Danish company is revisiting Marvel's bunch of superheroes. LEGO Marvel's Avengers is developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Warner Brothers’ entertainment division.
The Avengers have been featured in previous Lego titles, but this is the first game of the type that follows the movie arc rather than that of the comic books. Story elements and set-pieces come from The Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America franchises. The story isn't cohesive, as the game puts you in the middle of one action sequence after another with not much connecting the two. In one mission you fight Loki, next Batroc, and then Mandarin. It's all random. On the bright side though, the unpredictable nature of the game makes things interesting.
Like previous LEGO games, the Avengers is an action adventure game that's primarily focused on kids. It offers swift action, light puzzles, and makes you collect lots of studs (Lego's in-game currency). If you are not fond of platformers, don’t touch this game, even with a barge pole.
The Avengers work in a team, so most of the action is co-op. If you don’t have friends, AI accompanies you. Hawkeye works with Black Widow, Bucky will tag along with Captain America and so on. Each Avenger has a special power, ideal for certain situations. Captain America can put out fires using his shield, Nick Fury can go past guards undetected and Maria Hill can call in reinforcements, for example. However, in some important fights, only one player gets to tackle the situation. The other one has no option but to turn into a spectator.
Each character has two attacking moves to fend off the baddies. You can also jump and attack for some variation and there's a timed, special attack. Similarly, team-up moves require sweet timing. Puzzles are as simple as arranging pictures in a certain order, finding a part from some machinery or building a required tool/object using LEGO bricks. If you can't find a way out, the easiest method is to destroy each and every object in the room, and you will find some clue.
Needless to say, the game gets repetitive very soon and this is where the movie inspired set-pieces come to the rescue. The action-packed sequences are incredibly well constructed in the LEGO universe. The developers have managed to deliver thrilling action without hurting the light nature of the game. Another breather is the open-world nature of a few levels, where you drive around freely. In fact, there are hundreds of side quests that can keep a player busy long after completing the story mode.
Collecting studs is by far the most annoying aspect of the gameplay. The game is so overloaded with those coins that I cringed at the sight of every stash. It makes the game look as if Avengers are mercenaries who only care about the money. This in-game currency can be used to unlock more characters and other stuff. Speaking of which, the game has a roster of over a hundred Marvel characters to choose from. Despite the rewards though, I mostly avoided collecting in-game money. I prefer doing that in real life.
The game has quite a few bugs. For instance, if your character dies in the fire, he re-spawns at the same spot, going into a death loop until you restart from the last checkpoint.
The game doesn't makes use of ground breaking technologies, but the visual treatment is very good. The guys at Traveller's Tales have created a vibrant world with an irresistible charm. The blocky LEGO characters are playful and often times cheeky and I love how the characters look charming, despite the limited expressions.
Another good thing is that the game does not take itself too seriously. In many scenes, random Shield agents rescue chickens during an emergency, Nick Fury uses a Baseball glove to extract tesseract and Chitauri raiders taking selfies in the middle of a serious discussion. In the Helicarrier level for example, Hawkeye fires bananas instead of deadly arrows. Similarly, during a street firefight, Quicksilver gets shot by multiple ice cream cones instead of bullets.
In addition to the character models, the environments are well done. Especially New York's streets, which are very detailed. That said, I did not like the level design. They’re too clunky and overwhelming at times. The game however, does not utilise the full potential of current gen consoles as bullet marks and debris do not last for more than a couple of seconds. Then there's the issue with camera angles, which are very awkward in some few levels. For example, level 6 The Hydra Lab.
The game's background music and foley work is mostly competent. However, there are a few spots where the sound is a bit out of sync. The biggest issue here is the dialogue, which is mostly inaudible in game, save for the cutscenes. This is probably because the dialogue seems to be extracted right off the movie DVD. In a futile attempt to salvage the situation, the game automatically mutes all other sounds when a character is muttering famous one-liners. Unfortunately, this makes matters worse by introducing weird silences in the middle of chaotic battles. All this could have been easily avoided by hiring voice artists.
Did I enjoy playing LEGO Marvel's Avengers? Yes, I like this game for its fun gameplay and charming characters. Sub quests and co-op modes add mojo to the game. Since the game's pacing was good, I did not care whether the story was coherent or not. On the flip side, it's the bad sound recording that hurts LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Awkward camera angles and glitches add to the frustration. Overall, the game is undoubtedly promising, but is let down by glaring issues.
Reviewer's Rating: 6/10
- Charming visuals
- Entertaining set-pieces
- Huge roster Marvel characters
- Good pacing
- Light humour
- Co-op mode in campaign.
- Terrible sound
- Clunky level design
- Awkward camera angles
- Has more coins than Super Mario.
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