LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Preview
LEGO and renown heroes: a successful partnership established over the years by many titles developed by Traveller’s Tales. Their brand, despite reusing every time the same formula and mechanics, does not seem to know the word “crisis”; in fact, it always manages to collect a considerable success both from critics and customers. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is only the latest entry in a long list, but from what I’ve seen it has all the requirements to earn the title of “best LEGO game yet”.
Here’s some impressions arising from the Gamescom demonstration.
The first thing that catches the eye of a careful observer is the place where the game is set: New York City. The Big Apple becomes a hub for the occasion and it’s been reproduced in a fairly faithful way, with the proper proportions and places like Central Park and Times Square are instantly recognizable. Alongside these real structures there are also some landmark buildings of the Marvel universe, such as the Stark Tower, the core center of the industries owned by Tony, aka Iron Man: an imposing building, for sure, as the story demands.
Through the streets of Manhattan you can either wander around without a purpose and have fun in completing the various environmental puzzles prepared by the developers, or just find all the hidden secrets and consequently unlock some of the beloved heroes of the immense Marvel’s roster: I can say that these secondary activities seem to be well balanced to ensure the player extra hours of fun even after the end of the main story, estimated in about 8 hours as usual, so as to ensure increased longevity in comparison to past games in the series.
Let’s move onto some more concrete details. The developers have shown us the opening of one of the fifteen available missions in which, directly from Helicarrier, we saw our heroes parachute directly to the action to thwart one of the many nefarious plans of Doctor Doom himself.
Our crew for this mission was composed of two characters, Mr. Fantastic and Captain America, who needed to enter the palace of the Fantastic 4 and foil the evil scheme of Doctor Doom : the elasticity of Mr. Fantastic comes in handy to allow him to take any form needed, while of course the legendary shield of Captain America proved useful once again for both defense and offense purposes.
The developers have promised that everyone will have a custom set of original moves and special abilities taken directly from the originals, but it’s only after seeing the character selection screen that I was able to truly understand the huge work behind these words: a hundred of Marvel super heroes awaits us to join the battlefield. For a huge fan of Marvel comics such a vision could have led to the collapse; fortunately, I somehow managed to stay on my feet to bring you this report.
Then, once we were ready for anything (or at least we thought so), the guys of Traveller’s Tales have decided to land the final blow: Stan Lee as a playable character! I must confess, in the dark room I heard several thuds. The genius creator of some of the most important heroes of Marvel will be one of the playable characters in the game: amazing, I thought, but with what powers?
Silly me: obviously, all the coolest ones! He can shoot webs as the much-loved Spidey, change shape just like Mr. Fantastic, electrocute any enemy through the eyes of Cyclop, regenerate likes Wolverine and finally, giving him satisfaction after a famous episode of The Simpsons in which he tried in vain to demonstrate its ability to turn into the Hulk, he will take the form of a Stan-Hulk.
After recovering from the shock, we checked the last remnants of the mission in which we found not only the cooperative mode, the real source of fun in LEGO games, but also the combat system and progression that players have come to expect from the series.
As for the rest, the graphics engine, colorful and well characterized as usual, is even prettier on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the old gang of voice actors is back together. I must confess some doubts on the now rather old formula that accompanied the LEGO games for years: will LEGO Marvel Super Heroes be strong enough to withstand even the franchise fatigue? I think so, as I said I bet that the game will prove the best in the series, but for the next LEGO chapter a more radical shift could be needed.