(Wii U)

Game Review

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Super studs

There was really no way to predict it so long ago, but the modern series of LEGO franchised games are undeniably great. When the first LEGO Star Wars game hit store shelves in 2005, it’s probably safe to assume that Traveller’s Tales didn’t foresee the growth that the franchise would go on to enjoy. Eight years and more than 10 games later, the LEGO series is still alive and doing incredibly well for itself. Showing no signs of slowing down, the latest — and arguably greatest — LEGO game to hit the scene is LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, a brand new adventure featuring the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, their greatest villains, and some other random pals who came along for the ride.

As mentioned before, there has recently been a whole mess of LEGO games released for a number of different consoles in a very short amount of time. The Wii U, a console that just recently celebrated its first birthday, is already home to three unique LEGO titles, including console exclusive LEGO City Undercover. The majority of these games have been based on various film and comic book franchises, borrowing characters and plots that lend to a distinct experience with each release. Situational differences taken into account, the fact is that all of these games provide a similar experience that doesn’t diverge too drastically from the established formula — even the sense of an open world is becoming common on home consoles. If you’ve played one LEGO game before, then you can expect to find incredibly similar gameplay here. The LEGO games are mostly about style over substance anyway, and Marvel Super Heroes is no exception to that rule.

Reflective of its comic origins, the plot of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is both over-the-top and wildly convoluted, taking characters from all ends of the Marvel universe and attempting to tie their stories together. In short, Silver Surfer’s board breaks apart into cosmic bricks. Realizing the power contained within, Dr. Doom, Loki and Magneto team up to collect the cosmic bricks in order to build a devastating weapon designed to take down the local super heroes. More twists and turns occur, forcing characters to visit strange locations and create unlikely team-ups, but we’ll kindly keep the rest spoiler-free. The plot may all be a bit much, but the comical styling of the LEGO franchise does its part to support the otherwise messy story by not taking itself too seriously, poking tongue-in-cheek jabs at the source material and always remaining self-aware. Whether it’s Tony Stark’s trademark snark or Nick Fury shouting a line from various Samuel L. Jackson films, the jokes are on-point and are guaranteed to have you laughing – assuming you’re savvy enough pick up on the countless pop culture references.

On par with the course for previous Lego titles, the controls are kept simple and intuitive, primarily utilizing the left stick and lettered buttons to move, attack, and use your character’s special power. The Wii U GamePad is used as the chief input method with options for a second player to join in with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination or a Wii U Pro Controller. Some awkward on-screen instructions might confuse players using the Wii Remote as the prompts to press certain buttons are specified to GamePad controls rather than the differing Remote layout, but it’s a minor complaint that is easily overcome by playing for a short amount of time and understanding which buttons perform particular actions. Instructional snafu aside, the controls remain welcoming and uncomplicated, perfect for gamers of any age to master and enjoy.

The controls may revel in their simplicity, but the GamePad’s technology is far from utilized to its fullest potential. While exploring the Big Apple, the GamePad’s touchscreen can show an interactive mini map that allows you to set waypoints and make sure you’re heading in the right direction. During stages, however, the touchscreen is limited to merely displaying the characters that you have available in that particular area. Being able to accurately switch characters by tapping the screen is vastly superior to pressing the X button and fumbling through nearby figures until you’re in control of the one that you want, but that’s about the extent of it. The GamePad is used here to make basic mechanics more intuitive, but it doesn’t do much beyond that. The controller also supports off-screen play, allowing you to enjoy your adventure while a pushier housemate hogs the television. When playing with a partner, you also have the option of featuring one player on the television screen while the other is shown only on the GamePad’s small screen, a convenience that completely circumvents the necessity for traditional split-screen.

Realistically, the majority of gameplay in any LEGO game is repetitive button mashing combined with very basic puzzle solving. The gameplay may not be the most interesting or original, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer amount of fun that players of all ages are sure to have. Repeatedly tapping the Y button to smash through waves of baddies may sound like a chore, but it somehow manages to feel fresh with each passing stage. Each character also has special powers that are reflective of their comic origins. Wolverine, for example, can use his claws to dig up hidden objects while Spider-Man can shoot webs and climb along certain walls. Whether you’re firing optic blasts at your opponents as Cyclops or comically swinging them back-and-forth like a ragdoll as Hulk, there’s definitely some fun to be had by all.

Not unlike LEGO Batman 2, Marvel Super Heroes features an open and explorable world set in New York City as well as 15 story stages in self-contained areas. The campaign can be played through in around 10 to 15 hours, but this is the type of game that thrives on replayability and its various side-quests scattered throughout NYC. The usual collectable minikits are located in stages, demanding at least a second play through of each in order to collect everything, and many LEGO bricks can be found in the open world, often rewarded for completing challenges. Challenges in NYC range from finding and retrieving an object that a random citizen may have lost to defeating a Sentinel that suddenly decided to terrorize the town. At one point while exploring the streets, Blade decided to challenge us to a race on Pizza Bikes. Why a superhero would feel the need to steal a Vespa and drive it in an underground street race is beyond us, but that doesn’t make it any less fun and hilarious.

Though the campaign may be considered short, extra missions unlock after its completion, expanding the LEGO Marvel universe and continuing to breathe new life into the game. While not spoiling some really great surprises for comic fans, we will say that the additional missions continue to delve into the absurd and tie nicely into some of the upcoming films. These extra missions, combined with the hundreds of collectables to be found and characters to unlock, ensure that this is the type of game from which you’re bound to receive countless hours of play.

Just like other games in the series, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes looks fantastic. We considered including a joke here about “blocky” graphics (it would have been a real knee-slapper too), but we decided to play this one straight instead. So much attention to detail isn’t obvious in the character models as they all look like LEGO minifigures or Big Figures anyway, but all of the environments, whether they be in stages or the open New York City, are beautifully rendered with lush surroundings that make each new locale feel unique. Rather than simply recycling settings and reskinning them to give the appearance of a brand new environment, the classic Marvel locations instead come to life and feel like they could have been adapted directly from the pages of a comic or film.

The audio is similarly impressive to the visual presentation, but that’s not to say that it comes without its flaws. The orchestrated soundtrack is tremendous in scope and all of the game’s dialogue is fully voice acted, lending an additional layer to the already hilarious script, but the game is full of strange audio dips and raises that are more than a little distracting. It’s a bizarre issue to define, but LEGO Marvel Super Heroes seems to have some issues finding a balance in audio levels and maintaining them throughout. Sometimes character voices will suddenly drop in volume at the end of a spoken line, making the punch line inaudible, and other times a stage sound effect will suddenly blare out loud, drowning out everything else around it. These niggling issues may be far from game breaking, but they hint at a larger sloppiness that thankfully doesn’t rear its ugly head too often when playing through.

Conclusion

The LEGO series of games has always been focused much more on content rather than gameplay, and Marvel Super Heroes continues on in this tradition. As the games continue to expand outward rather than upward, longtime fans may start to see through the cracks and realize that what they’re being fed is little more than what they’ve been playing for years, but in a vastly larger and prettier package. The great news for players and the developers alike, however, is that the formula has remained true because it’s one that works. Don’t approach this one expecting a unique experience, but do appreciate it for its charms and accessibility.

If you’re looking for a fun way to unwind, relax, and have a laugh alone or with some friends, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is exactly the game to fulfill that need. It’s pure family-friendly fun that squeezes in just enough variety to ensure that players of all ages will find something to enjoy. A heroic feat, indeed.

More Stories

Game Trailer

User Comments (56)

MrWalkieTalkie

#4

MrWalkieTalkie said:

Bought it for half off at Walmart during Black Friday. I even got a little figurine with it! Good to see its 9/10 quality! Can't wait to play it!

Pahvi

#6

Pahvi said:

So, how does this compare with LEGO City Undercover, especially when it comes to loading times?

Nico07

#7

Nico07 said:

Ron thanks for the great review. I picked this upat release and have enjoyed it since then with my son, who can't get enough even with other games out now.

Zach

#8

Zach said:

I may just end up getting this. I've just played the Harry Potter ones and those were a lot of fun, though having to review them took a bit away from the experience. Thanks for the review!

Gerbwmu

#9

Gerbwmu said:

Can't wait to pick up this and SMB3D in an after Christmas sale......should be great fun with the kids

zionich

#13

zionich said:

Its a shame the US has not got the demo yet. I still have this purchased for Christmas for me and my little buddy.

bonham2

#15

bonham2 said:

I really didn't like this one. I was so excited for it because I absolutely loved Lego City (probably my favorite Wii U game to date...seriously). I had such high hopes for this one, but it just made me want to play Lego City again. As it was, I only played about 1/2 way through it before I traded it for another Wii U game.

JaredJ

#19

JaredJ said:

Do you have to use the gamepad for single player? I would rather use the pro controller.

ricklongo

#21

ricklongo said:

Lego City Undercover is still my favorite original Wii U Game (the only one I probably enjoyed more was a remake, Wind Waker HD). I think, however, that a great deal of my enjoyment came from the open-world city environment and the fact that it was its own thing, not tied to any franchise.

I think I may end up getting this eventually, but I would rather get some sort of Lego City Undercover 2 instead. The fact that I'm not big on superheroes definitely helps me feel this way.

Desy64

#22

Desy64 said:

This game is also freezing my WiiU, the same happened with previous LEGO on the Wii. I don't get it why TT still makes these buggy games

AyeHaley

#23

AyeHaley said:

"Just like other games in the series, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes looks fantastic. We considered including a joke here about “blocky” graphics (it would have been a real knee-slapper too), but we decided to play this one straight instead." This made me smile. :) Thanks for the review, tempted to get it now!
I just hope it doesn't have the same long loading times like in Lego Undercover...I seriously love that game but its not really a pop-in and play game due to those super long loading times. Such a shame cause its a fantastic kid-friendly GTA alternative (no violence! <3).

rjejr

#26

rjejr said:

No mention in the review of the game having come out 2 months ago? Odd.

"The plot may all be a bit much"

Sounds like a normal Marvel plot to me. Better than that whole "Secret Wars" mess that destroyed comics as I knew them. After that it was all about the tie-ins to sell more comics. Not a big Beyonder fan. Infinity Gauntlet at least had Thanos as the star. And the Silver Surfer had 1 of the better Saturday morning carton shows, even if the theme song wasn't as catchy as the great 60's cartoons.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mlFjjzimcs

Does the Wii (not U) Classic controller Pro work?

You seem to poo-poo the Gamepad usage - "but the GamePad’s technology is far from utilized to its fullest potential." - but then go on to talk about all this:
off-screen play
mini-map in the overworld
quick change of characters (such a pain in Lego LotR)
2-player non-split screen (that dynamic split-screen in LotR was killing me until somebody here was nice enough to explain to me how to turn off the nauseating "dynamic" part)

Maybe not fullest potential, but more than enough reasons to buy the Wii U version over the PS3 version for me. though the PS3 version did get a demo in the US. And the sound is really noticeably wonky in the PS3 demo as well.

Are the graphics comparable to the PS3 version? That demo looked really good. Not just for a licensed or Lego game, but any game.

Speaking of music, I hope it's good. Mailman just delivered my $200 Sony receiver that I bought just b/c the stupid Wii U didn't have optical out and I hate listening to anything thru my tv speakers. I almost didn't buy my Wii U b/c of that. Well gotta go set everything up, wish me luck.

PinkSpider

#27

PinkSpider said:

I wonder how this compares to the other versions, I thought it looked really good. So much better graphically than any previous lego games

gage_wolf

#29

gage_wolf said:

I've always thought these games were underwhelming stylistically. From the first time I saw the Lego Star Wars game I wished they had gone FULL LEGO on the environments, instead of semi-realistic / generic backgrounds with Lego characters and accents. Growing up with Legos, I never really cared much for Lego figures outside their context in a Lego environment, and it seems the figures have become the focal point while the building aspect is kind of...well lost. But I guess Mine-craft has come along and shown us the true potential of a virtual building block world.

OptimisticLink

#30

OptimisticLink said:

I'd rather have a new LEGO Creator, but the LEGO Group is too focused on popular franchise licenses to give a darn about delving in various genres anymore...

Peach64

#31

Peach64 said:

I had a go of this on PS4 last weekend and although I didn't get to play extensively, I loved every second. I think the Lego games work best with a license I'll definitely be picking it up soon, although not sure what format.

FilmerNgameR

#32

FilmerNgameR said:

I'm glad this game turned out to be good. My first LEGO game was LEGO Star Wars for the Game boy Advance and PS2 I also got the Original Trilogy they were fun! :D

maneauleau

#33

maneauleau said:

The best part is that WiiU is the superior version with all the gamepad possibilities: map om the gamepad or quick character select on the gamepad or choice of coop spit screen or no coop splitscreen with the gamepad. Only regret, no wii classic pro controller support while wiiu pro controller is supported.

Razzle

#34

Razzle said:

My impressions:
I have played extensively through the game almost entirely in two player co-op. The game is a little gem for those seeking a family friendly game or if you just love the Marvel world.

The gameplay is fun although it's pretty basic once you know how it all works. I think it's best enjoyed in the co-op mode because of the team dynamic and the way the puzzles work.

I must add, we have experienced glitches multiple times, some completely break the game (like a puzzle element won't work) and need a restart, some just lock up the game. One level we needed to play single player, because 3 times in a row on co-op a boss fight failed to complete and we got stuck. A shame.

The way you can have a player on the gamepad and another on the TV is great, much better than split screen. Only downside is the gamepad resolution makes it a bit harder when the action is hot, and I would say the framerate dips into the 20's frequently. Still, it's fun and I highly recommend.

The only Lego game I had played prior was Lego Star Wars on DS so I wasn't expecting much. I was very surprised as this game is a massive step up with plenty of content and well worth a purchase.

JoShCoNker

#35

JoShCoNker said:

I know Marvel stuff and Lego are good enough..., BUT love this am stick with Lego City:Undercover this game its just too damn funny XD

Watch the profanity -Lz

Sean_Aaron

#37

Sean_Aaron said:

Well I'm curious to try the demo, but I hope a patch is in the offing to fix bugs mentioned. The load times in Lego City are out of control and I have to wonder why since none of my other Wii U games have that issue (thinking the expansive Need for Speed here).

Bass_X0

#38

Bass_X0 said:

Eh. Never been a fan of any of the lego games. I didn't enjoy the demos on 3DS.

Kirk

#39

Kirk said:

Nice.

This game actually looks sooo cool.

I really want to play it.

Obito_Tennyson

#40

Obito_Tennyson said:

I'm not a big Marvel fan. I'm more of a DC person. Nothing could beat The Dark Knight, The Man of Steel, The Green Lantern, the Flash, and the many many other DC Heroes! If it was another LEGO Batman installment instead, then I would be sold.

chewytapeworm

#41

chewytapeworm said:

Demo was excellent, the best lego one I've played yet. Even the missus was getting into it. 9/10? You've sold me. Excellent review Ron!

DrSlump

#42

DrSlump said:

I'm comparing graphics between wii u version and pc version: wii u version has far more aliasing, even setting pc resolution to 720p. At wich resolution is rendered this game on wii u?

BossBattles

#43

BossBattles said:

LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER is so much better than this game. People that mention load times of LCU have no idea what they're complaining about.

Zodiak13

#44

Zodiak13 said:

Love the Lego series games. Its one of the few games me and my son both enjoy playing, which makes them even more special to me. Yes it's more of the same per say, but yet I've enjoyed every version except the Indiana Jones games.

AceTrainerBean

#45

AceTrainerBean said:

This game is really fun for any fan of the marvel universe. The review here is extremely accurate. I do think the lego city underground is a much better game as it is more polished and doesn't feel like a quick port with the lack of wii u specific controls.

Gamer83

#46

Gamer83 said:

I've already got too many good games to play this holiday so of course they had to go and make this one excellent. Damn them... I'm thinking about getting this for PS4 but given we're getting closer to Christmas I'm thinking I should wait and see if there is a day-after-Christmas sale.

AyeHaley

#47

AyeHaley said:

@BossBattles Why? I love LCU but those loading times are insane. Maybe if you play like 3 hours straight. But for people who can't game much or can't play any longer than 15-30min at a time, long load times suck. (I've played LCU again 5min ago and I was still surprised how long the initial load takes. Mind you, I love not having any loading times while exploring the city!)

MikeLove

#49

MikeLove said:

How is there no mention of the awful framerate issues with this game?!!
With two players its borderline unplayable, and even with one person it runs at somewhere between 20-25fps!!

Lucky I picked this up on sale for $39, as I'm not sure I will have the patience to get through this one.

RainbowGazelle

#50

RainbowGazelle said:

Do NOT buy this bug-ridden mess of a game. I've found a freezing bug in one of the side quest that renders the game uncompletable. You cannot get 100%, because one mission freezes every time, without fail at the exact same point. I can replicate any time. Don't buy this, unless it gets patched.

Stargazer

#51

Stargazer said:

@FutureAlphaMale

Agreed! The co-op issues and framerate problems in general should absolutely be mentioned. I feel like I'm playing a damn PS2 game when I play co-op and use the Gamepad.

SphericalCrusher

#52

SphericalCrusher said:

Probably going to buy this game when I get off work at 5PM. I've been on the fence... not because I don't want it, but because I'm trying to find something new to play. This game looks amazing and I know playing coop with my five year old son will be a blast. We played through and beat Lego City, and while it didn't have coop or multiplayer, it was something we spent a lot of time dipped into. I'm pretty sure that I am sold on this game now.

macdude22

#53

macdude22 said:

@JaredJ Yes, This was very disappointing. Given that the second player can use it I don't see why it's not an option.

milkonmonday

#54

milkonmonday said:

@macdude22 @JaredJ
What you could do (like me): Start the game like normal, join with the pro controller and then leave the game with player one. This way you can play with only the pro controller.

macdude22

#55

macdude22 said:

I never thought of doing that lol. That's such a dumb workaround when they could just let the damn game work 1st player with the pro controller.

maneauleau

#56

maneauleau said:

This review doesn't mention the bugs or the fact that it freezes the Wii U now and then. This is very poor on both the review side and the developer side...

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...