As you can expect with such a massive selection of titles announced for this year’s Eurogamer Expo, the variety of games on display were staggering to mere mortals such as myself. Ranging from Nintendo’s Pokémon X & Y to EA’s mech shooter Titanfall, it’s easy to see how other titles may be considered a drop in an ocean of awesome. When walking around the show floor I found that one particular game kept catching my eye… LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.
Now over the years I have always been drawn to the Lego game series, especially ones that have been tied to a franchise I’m particularly enamoured with (such as DC Comics, Star Wars & Indiana Jones). When you plonk a child of the 80’s in front of a video game that combines their two greatest childhood loves of comics and toys, then you should expect some degree of excitement. When it comes to actually sitting down to play one of these little brick adventures however, something has never quite clicked to keep me on them from more than an hour or so in total.
When the announcement Marvel Super Heroes was made the initial thought was “another LEGO title I’m not going to play“, so you can imagine my surprise when I went ahead and pre-ordered a copy of the game when I’d gotten back from Eurogamer once I’d gotten my hands on it and found myself wanting more.
From what I could see there was a choice of two story levels which involved either Hulk & Iron Man or Thor, and then the same repeated in freeplay. I played through a co-op section with the Palace’s own Andrew, with him controlling Mr Stark and myself as Mr Banner (when trying to play the Asgardian themed stage, we’d been swiftly told off by the Warner Bros. booth staff). The demo level took place in what appeared to be a rather chaotic New York Highway before passing through Grand Central Station and concluding at Stark Tower.
As with all LEGO games, the story line and cut scenes were highly entertaining for both children and adults (man-children) alike. We found ourselves going up against the intimidating ‘Abomination’ (think Hulk with more intelligence and less regard for civilian life), who’d teamed up with the Sandman (the only redeeming feature of that awful Spider-Man 3 movie). This villainess duo had begun the demo by knocking over a convoy of S.H.E.I.L.D Agents, transporting a mysterious & powerful power source that had been represented by a black brick of Lego. This looks like a job for the Avengers!
When looking at Iron Man in action I was very impressed by the detail that goes into a LEGO representation of the character, with any gold sections of his Mark-VII suit reflecting high details of off camera buildings and any flight movements looking like they’d been taken straight out of the movie series. When controlling Stark in all of his suited glory, you are given a range of attacks to dispose of your foes, including the basic melee attacks that have become expected in Lego titles, Repulsor rays to take out long range enemies from the ground or sky, missiles that are used to destroy shiny silver objects and the Unibeam, a large and powerful chest positioned lazer cannon.
As Impressed as I was with Iron Man, it was The Incredible Hulk that sold me on Marvel Super Heroes. Not requiring the same level of detail and polish as this technically advanced ally, this Gamma powered monster looks to be more Duplo than Lego but it’s the feel of the big guy that really makes this title stand out from the rest. As you can probably imagine, Hulk’s powers tend to be a bit more on the smashie smashie side than anything else, with the only move that doesn’t involve punching, stamping or pounding being the Gamma Clap. It’s a move set that suits the character and really feels fun while your jumping around, picking up large objects and throwing them before slamming your fists into the ground to cause a mini earthquake (failing to resist the urge to shout HULK SMASH!). Playing as Hulk is more than being an uncontrollable rage giant, by holding the same button you’d usually tap to take control of another hero, you can witness a brilliant transformation animation that will allow you to play as the much calmer Bruce Banner and take part in regular sized player duties, such as building and controlling weapons.
Early on we found Abomination disposed of quite easily by Hulk playing a game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ before landing a large uppercut, all to a button mashing mini game (which seemed pretty inoffensive). When perusing Sandman though the mission seemed a little more tricky, so much so that it crashed the Xbox 360 version of the demo. Before long we’d gotten up to speed on the PlayStation 3 copy of the game and carried on perusing the sandy member of the Sinister Six. This brings us to another Hero swinging in to join our team… Spider-Man.
Spidey handles how you’d expect, web slinging & swinging though bad guys with his spider-seance used to find hidden objects, not overly impressive when you consider the huge number of games old Web-Head takes part in but still fun. After the three Heroes team up to take down a colossus sized Sandman, the demo is over and we were treated to a cut scene involving Nick Fury, Agent Phil Coulson and Hulk trying to clean up New York using a dustpan and brush.
In other videos shown around the booth, we had gotten to see some of the 100+ characters on offer, which included everybody’s favorite Nolan North voiced Merc with a Mouth Deadpool and even the Father of some of the major comics book heroes and villains we hold dear, Stan Lee.
After playing the demo I couldn’t wait to jump back in the queue and play again and I’m hoping that level of enthusiasm isn’t for nothing when the final game is released. If you’ve enjoyed Lego titles in the past then you’re most probably going to enjoy this, if your looking for something to play together with younger members of the family then this is a recommended choice. If you’re a giant man-child like myself then I can tell you that you’re going to love playing as Hulk.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U & Microsoft Windows from the 18th October (NA) and the 15th November (EU). PlayStation 4 copies will be made available from the 15th (NA) and the 29th (EU) of November, while the Xbox One will be worldwide on the 22nd November.