LEGO Marvel's Avengers Review


Hulk SMASH! (But then tidy up after himself)

It’s time for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to (quite literally) assemble in Travellers Tales latest blocky smash-em-up. But, after 2015’s massive Dimensions, is there still room on the shelf for standalone LEGO titles?

Game: Lego Marvel’s Avengers
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Reviewed on: (Review Copy Provided):

It doesn’t quite seem right that this is the first LEGO game to be based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a connected series of films that began with 2008’s Iron Man and is set to move into its third “Phase” of storytelling in a couple of month’s time with the massive crossover piece, Captain America: Civil War. But, after tackling the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and, last year, Jurassic World, TT Games have finally got round to blockifying the movie versions of Cap, Thor, Hulk and Iron Man in their own franchise game. Yes, we have indeed been here before in the form of 2013’s stellar LEGO Marvel Superheroes but, where that game had an original script and was allowed to use characters which appeared in non-MCU franchises (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man) Avengers is based solely on the films.

It’s actually becoming quite hard to review the LEGO games now. It’s easy to dismiss the franchise as being the same regurgitated thing year after year but, essentially, they kind of are. To some extent that’s not necessarily a bad thing – these games are aimed squarely at a younger audience so keeping the core mechanics as similar as possible is a positive thing, and TT do tend to change things up by swapping out certain features in each iteration. But despite the big changes that LEGO Dimensions brought with its “Toys To Life” approach last year, it’s still the same core experience as 2005’s LEGO Star Wars. If you don’t like that core experience you might as well stop reading now and click away to something different, because LEGO Avengers isn’t going to win you over.

As with most of the recent franchise games, TT have been able to incorporate sampled dialogue from the films. As I said last year when I reviewed LEGO Jurassic World, this sometimes works really well and sometimes feels out of place, especially when placed next to characters who have been re-voiced, often because their dialogue has significant additions to help push the story forward. The new actors sometimes sound great but sometimes don’t fit with the rest of the voices and can make things seem little disjointed; this is particularly apparent with the voices for Red Skull and Arnim Zola who bring way more pantomime than Hugo Weaving and Toby Jones (if that’s even possible). All in all, however, the overall mood of the story is considerably lightened by the series signature humour which ranges from subtle to silly. Who couldn’t love Agent Coulson’s doe eyes as he gushes over Captain America?

Structurally, Avengers is a bit of a hodge podge of previous games mechanics sorely in need of its own identity. There are elements from various other LEGO games sandwiched in here, from the team up moves present in LEGO The Hobbit, to the dearth of mini-game related puzzles from LEGO Marvel. Indeed, where LEGO Marvel took an open world approach to the game world, presenting a sprawling Manhattan island that players were free to explore between missions, Avengers is far more linear. Players are guided through the story of both The Avengers as well as its sequel Age of Ultron, while taking single mission detours into Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, although the latter three are wholly optional missions. The overworld here takes the form of a globe that allows players to jump straight into story missions, replay them in free play or visit one of the games many free roam worlds, all of which allow them to unlock new characters and find other collectibles. There is a huge amount of content in the game, with over 250 characters to work towards unlocking, each with unique abilities that will help find other tid bits. When most modern games are happy to hide the majority of their unlockables under the pretense of DLC, LEGO Dimensions included (albeit PHYSICAL DLC in that case) it’s great to see a game give players so much out of the box.

For the Marvel fan, there’s a lot to love as many characters come from the more obscure (at least for those only familar with the Cinematic Universe) corners of Avengers lore. This is a game where the ORIGINAL Human Torch is an unlockable character and has dialogue that cleverly skirts around any potential copyright issues! A huge problem, however, is the removal of world maps for the free roam sections. Instead of being able to look at where items are located in the world, place markers and generally explore, all of the unlockables in an area are immediately shown on a small radar – not even a mini-map. In the smaller free-roam levels, this isn’t such an issue, but the large Manhattan map from LEGO Marvel makes a return and it’s easy to get lost in. Also missing is the character select dial that’s been present in recent games. Again, when you’re only juggling one or two Avengers this isn’t such a big deal, but there are a few sections which see five or six characters in the field at once and having to cycle through them to find the correct ability to solve a particular puzzle is frustrating when the dial present in previous games made this process far more straightforward.

I’d be remiss to not mention that the game has a season pass available, however in a time when people are paying out upwards of £40 for add on content (Star Wars Battlefront, I’m shaking my head in your direction) the season pass for Avengers is positively brimming with generosity. £8 will net you five extra missions covering characters from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV series, upcoming films Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel, as well as a mission focussed purely on villains. Given that these packs are all likely to come with their own sets of unlockable characters and collectibles and, based on the levels in the main game, should add at least 30 minutes play time a piece that’s a lot of extra content for the price of a cinema ticket! Playstation owners are in for an extra treat as they also get free DLC in the form of a character pack based on the upcoming Civl War (which is available on the Playstation Store right now) as well as a full level pack based on last years excellent Ant-Man movie which will hit sometime this spring.


LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is a fun, polished game that’s very generous on content, but it’s hard to deny that the over familiarity of the mechanics is starting to wear slightly, and the game is struggling to find its own unique identity. Whether there’s any room for standalone franchise games going forward, given the success of Dimensions remains to be seen and, for my money, LEGO Marvel Superheroes handles the broader Marvel spectrum better with its sprawling open world map and original storyline. But, if you want more Marvel, want to see the MCU characters in full on LEGO form or simply want several hours of unlockable content to wade through, this is the game for you.


Writes and produces films at independent outfit Shortorme Productions. Records music under the guise of Stage of History. Gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum. Always on the lookout for something new and fresh.

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