More a spiritual successor than a direct sequel to Tt Games first LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, this new game brings aboard a seasoned comic book veteran in Kurt Busiek (Astro City, Avengers) to tell a unique story set against a melting pot of the publisher’s most iconic characters and settings. This massive undertaking packs over 200 characters, first-time puzzle solving mechanics, and a new massive world to demolish then build up again. Do all the gambles pay off, or is LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 the feeling of stepping on Legos in digital form?
LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES 2
Developed by: Tt Games
Published by: WB Games
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Release Date: November 14, 2017
(Note: Review copy provided by publisher)
The first LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game was one studio’s exercise in 75 years of Marvel comics knowledge and seeing how many easter eggs it could cram into a game disk. It was incredibly fun and, at the time, broke ground because it ignored much of Marvel film. Instead, choosing to focus solely on comic book lore. For all of its strengths, that game’s story felt a bit generic. Since then, Tt Games have embraced much of the MCU culture with their follow up Lego Avengers game which took you through all the events of the MCU from Iron Man up to Avengers: Age of Ultron giving fans a decent story but one ultimately diluted. With LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, the developer is going back a bit in favor of blending the MCU with comics proper.
In a story inspired by Kurt Busiek’s Avengers comics, Kang The Conqueror has kidnapped pieces of the Marvel U from different times and realities to build something that feels like Battleworld Hickman’s Secret Wars but in LEGO form. Here, it’s known as Chronopolis. All the heroes of the Marvel universe past, present, and future unite to rebuild nexus of all realities by gathering pieces of its crystal from the different parts of Chronopolis. A journey that will take players to iconic exotic Marvel locals such as Wakanda, the icy mountains of K’un-Lun, even the future 2099’s Nueva York. It’s a fun story to play through even if it gets a bit long in the tooth at times. Every character is meticulously serviced from Spider-Gwen playing drums to Kamala Kahn’s love of writing fan fiction. Players will be in for good time loaded with jokes and gags suited for all ages to balance some massive action. It’ll just be a long run. For anyone who isn’t hopped up on cocaine or Monster Energy, the game’s story is going to take you at least 10hrs and that’s not counting the dozens more you can spend exploring Chronopolis in order to unlock more characters through various side missions.
Even with more than 200 Marvel characters, it’s easy to see (other than Kang) this story predominantly belongs to the characters and versions MCU fans are familiar with; Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man. You will see other pop-ins from the pages of comics such as Spider-Gwen, Gwenpool, and in fact other than Loki just about every villain you face is a comics’ version. Every developer working on a Marvel property will tell you they go the MCU route because they’re the most recognizable versions of the characters in the general audience. LMSH has the real estate to incorporate orbiting characters in comics and takes advantage of that allowing Tt to go deep down the well of Marvel. Some of the ones you unlock in your Chronopolis travels are too good to ruin the surprise here but rest assured comics faithful, even though it’s not the in the meat of the main narrative, you are served.
The balance between the two Marvel sides could have used more equilibrium but blurring those lines too much runs the risk of ending up with a product that makes no sense to anyone.
Just like in LEGO games, players have tons to collect. As always, you’ll save Stan Lee who by now has been electrocuted, burned, nearly flattened ten times over by these guys. Poor Stan. Gwenpool, one of Marvel’s newest amalgams, takes the place of Deadpool in the first LEGO Marvel game as the keeper of pink bricks. Her unlockable missions give you access to earn pink bricks which give players access to detectors that make hunting for Stan Lee and pieces of other collectibles easier.
Between racing vehicles, taking hilarious selfies with certain characters, rescuing the inept regular citizens caught in Chronopolis, and secret missions there’s at least three games’ worth of content for players after the story ends. That’s something I’ve always admired about Tt Games, in a modern gaming landscape of microtransactions and shaving content for DLC, they don’t skimp on adding value for people who simply want to buy the regular edition of the game day one. Of course, there’s a season pass option featuring content from upcoming Marvel films Black Panter and Infinity War, but the standard version on its own should be enough for most people.
Added this time around are battle arenas run by The Grandmaster. Players can face each other or CPU controlled bots in order to hold the Infinity Stones for the highest score. It’s like keep away but with a cosmic twist. Some of the other additions are cleaver ways of incorporating puzzle solving, the standout being tracing the pattern with Doctor Strange without going through the same path twice. It’s simple but still gives welcomed challenge for the intended ages.
After about 16hrs with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, I’ve powered through the main story but only about a quarter in on everything there is to unlock in the open world of Chronopolis. I can tell you 100 things I absolutely love about this game from seeing a villain as entertaining as Kang get his due, to being introduced to new things like Carnom, and everything in between. On the flip side, I can only tell you one big thing I have a problem with. No X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Deadpool. For the past few years, I didn’t want to believe Marvel was shafting these characters because they couldn’t be in the MCU. When LEGO Avengers first came out it wasn’t going to have Spider-Man according to WB, then Marvel gets to put Spider-Man in the MCU and miraculously the character gets put in the previous game, a featured role here, and his own exclusive Sony title next year.
It’s too coincidental. Bill Rosemann’s team over at Marvel Games has a lot of influence with studios using their characters and while the quality of the experiences is definitely getting better, a lot of great characters are being left out. Leading me to believe, yeah they’re definitely doing this on purpose. Whether due to the Disney business side of Marvel telling someone not to use those characters or there’s a plan for them somewhere down the line, there will always be a glaring character hole of mainstays as long as the FF and X-Men are left out of things like LMSH.
There’s such a thing as too many Spiders. Peter, Gwen, 2099, and a bunch of other Spider-verse characters make an appearance and they’re even a bit on the meta side when it comes to having gone through Dan Slott’s Spider-verse. When you combine that with loads of spiders in the Egypt too, that might be too many damn spiders. I have to reach for my shoe just or look for a new place to live just typing that sentence.
When it comes to missing Wolverine and Gambit, maybe it boils down to personal preference but lots of people love those characters. Hell, X-Men by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont is how I got into comics. So it sucks not seeing Gambit, Storm, and Magneto in a great Marvel game such as this one.
That’s what LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is in the end, fantastic. While it still caters mostly to the general aimed audience of the MCU, Tt Games have put together enough history from the house of ideas that LMSH2 is an absolute must-have for every type of Marvel fan.
9/10 – LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES 2 lives up to the legacy of big Marvel adventures and packs enough value for your hard earned dollar.
Here’s a good way to start off your week with Ms. Marvel and Baby Groot.