Having been a long-time fan of the LEGO video game franchise, with my love for it owing to LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes which was a sublime adaptation of its universe in bricks and blocks, I couldn’t wait to lay hands on the latest iteration of this series. However, 5 hours into the game, I could neither find the LEGO-fied comedy of our favourite superheroes, nor was there an amazing portrayal of the storylines of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All that I could see throughout the game was simply a lackluster effort in bringing way too many movie plots and storylines mashed-up into one terrible video game.
To begin with, there is nothing out-of-the-blue in the plot, as LEGO and Marvel decide to stick to the puns and excitement that we all have grown to watch in Joss Whedon’s classic, The Avengers. Mixing up plots from other movies such as Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier while seems like a good idea, TT Fusion messes it up in its execution. Beginning the game with a sequence from The Age of Ultron to introduce is to our beloved characters, one cannot help but realize simply how mediocre the moments felt. Jumping off to flashbacks by pasting the moments of the highly underplayed ‘Red Skull’ from Captain America: The First Avenger and a complete opposite of an enigmatic Tony Stark from Iron Man 3 was not a very good idea too. In fact, probably the only good thing in this aspect would have to be Stan Lee’s hilarious and perfectly executed cameos and appearances.
While some may argue that this game was based completely around everything that has been witnessed by us which leads us to see it sort of average, I would like to then invoke LEGO The Lord of the Rings. This was one video game that stayed true to its original storyline much like how LEGO Marvel’s Avengers does. However, every trick and tweak here and there in adding puns and laughter within the Middle-Earth succeeded in keeping me engaged for hours as they were befitting to the complete flow of the game, while The Avengers staggers in coming with something original and out of the box. This is highly evident also with the fact that the studio decided to add The Avengers’ title track at literally every turn making the audio of this game completely sub par.
While the game does share the same mechanics as its previous versions such as building blocks from breaking blocks and every character having a special ability, gameplay in itself was a major setback in even trying to enjoy the game. Unbalanced gameplay being my primary target, I found myself simply spamming the ultimate abilities of the heroes instead of trying out a rather limited arsenal of actions and moves. And since one ability did it all, other than passing on to levels ahead there was simply no reason to try out the other partners in combat. Examples being Captain America’s shield toss eliminating number of enemies in a single but perfectly played move, and Hulk’s smash, well, smashing everything in sight. And this must have been literally the only game in the LEGO franchise were I found myself roaming in the same arena for a LOT of time pondering over the simple question ‘what next’. With unclear objectives and no motivation for me to even try to figure it out, I barely made it till the end.
There hasn’t been much of a significant technical advancement in the series either. Graphics are at a much better place than they used to be, sure. But it is 2016, and the optimization is all over the place. Technical glitches exist even after there were updates that promised to do away with all of it, two of them even halting my progress in the game. Moments during explosions set your framerate count back by almost twenty and the shaders aren’t used very in a wise manner. The graphics options menu on the PC is very limiting as well, especially in comparison with games that we see in this era. It seems almost as if LEGO has produced this game out of spite, instead of any kind of a yearn for a good video game.
In my opinion, the LEGO games that I have grown to fall in love with were always about the casual jokes, that two player fun, the awesomeness of your favourite characters in movies and comics LEGO-lized and of course, the insane hours of building and trying to get a 100% completion by trying out all the characters that we would painstakingly unlock. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers fails to accomplish almost any of these, even though there are some good moments such as Hulk taking a selfie before decimating the alien armies and Loki’s insane obsessions that occasionally makes me smile in a game that has otherwise perfected the art of putting me to sleep. However, something I can definitely say is that this is surely a step backwards for the LEGO franchise, and we really hope that the much awaited LEGO’s The Force Awakens turns out to be a much better iteration, considering the hype and fandom associated with it equals none in any of the other games.
We give LEGO Marvel’s Avengers a 5 out of 10.
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