Spoken like a true hero
For the most part, Lego Marvel’s Avengers uses lines of dialog lifted from the movies to further its plot along, but when that’s not enough, it enlists the aid of Agent Phil Coulson and Peggy Carter to help out. Their sparkling delivery highlights how drab and awkward the rest of the dialog feels. The tone of the Avengers movies is far different from the playfulness of a Lego game, and that disparity shows every time a hero opens their mouth.
Finishing a level is a tedious slog as you force your way from one poorly-designed environment to the next, always kind-of-sort-of knowing what you’re meant to do but being baffled as to how you’re meant to do it. Lego Avengers is terrible at communicating with you – about your objectives, your next destination, whether you’re hitting the right buttons, anything. Epic fight scenes between the likes of Thor and the Hulk are meant to play out like dramatic QTEs, but because neither the button prompts nor the onscreen action ever changes in a significant way, you can’t be sure if you’re impacting the action or not.
Time and exploration are all it usually takes to figure out what needs doing, but too many sections make that nearly impossible by sending an unending series of finishing-move-obsessed enemies at you. You’ll run around and whap buttons and eventually you’ll do the right thing, but the sense of victory that should be yours to claim is shoved aside by the annoyance that’s been building the entire level.
The best Lego games succeed because they maintain a pleasant balance between fun minor characters and the stars of the show, so that you always feel like you’re an important part of the adventure, no matter what minifig you’re controlling. Lego Marvel’s Avengers achieves a similar kind of homeostasis, except in this case, all the characters achieve the same relative level of suck. I’m not entirely sure how anyone could turn controlling lightning, shooting lasers from your hands, and flying into soul-sucking chores, but it probably has something to do with a tesseract.
Even when it’s following the plots of the movies from which it takes inspiration, Lego Marvel Avengers feels flat and uninspired, superheroism and Lego collection by numbers. Smash this, build that, listen to jarringly out of place Nick Fury dialog clip, shrug, move on.
Everything about Lego Marvel’s Avengers feels just a little bit low-rent, a little bit slapdash, a little “A for effort.” It’s a clunky, cludgy mess that hopes you’ll have so much fun watching the Avengers assemble (and disassemble) that you won’t notice how badly it’s been put together. Die-hard Marvel fans (especially of the young variety) will undoubtedly enjoy getting to Hulk Smash no matter what, but everyone else should seek out one of the many truly excellent Lego games to get their own brick-building fix.
This game was reviewed on PS4.