Tons of licensed properties later, the LEGO franchise returns to the Marvel universe as the Avengers and the rest of the world unite to face their greatest threat yet.
In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers team up as a new threat named Kang the Conqueror sets out to break the boundaries of space and time and create his own kingdom from pieces spread all over the galaxy and history. Together, the heroes of the Marvel universe must find a way to stop Kang before he enslaves the galaxy.Co-written by comic book writer Kurt Busiek (known for his work many Marvel properties, amongst others), the game’s narrative is one of the first things that pleasantly surprised me. Whilst it’s obviously simplified a bit in comparison to traditional Marvel stories, the narrative plays out like a fun and source material-driven experience that actually does stand on its own quite well in comparison to its 2013 predecessor. The only downside here is the amount of jokes that are thrown in to fill the gaps, but that comes with the territory of LEGO adaptions (and for all purposes, there’s not a lot of material that I’d necessarily call bad.) Ultimately, the narrative shines because the game is able to do its own and original thing, rather than having to rely on the narrative of the films, for example (though there is a lot of inspiration from them present).
A notable issue I did have with the game’s story/presentation was the fact that some of the new cast sounds less than stellar in their perspective roles. Due to the 2016-2017 voice actor’s strike, most of the cast from the first game and 2016’s Lego Marvel’s Avengers did not return to do voice work for their characters. Not the entire cast is bad, but there are a lot of hit-and-miss additions.Visually, LEGO Marvel 2’s presentation is probably the best that a LEGO adaption has ever looked. Levels, characters, and objects are rich in detail, with real-time cutscenes looking amazingly cinematic as the game moves throughout its campaign. LOD pop-in and such are apparent when moving throughout the open world from a high angle, though, making LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 look its best when viewed from up close.
Being built upon the same foundations as the first game, LEGO
Marvel Super Heroes 2 is split into several sections, with the option for players to focus on the story or the missions and challenges in the open world. I found myself going through most of the game’s story before I really explored the open world, but in all of this, one thing’s clear; there’s something for everybody. Spanning across a large open world, and a decently-lengthy narrative, there’s a lot to do within the game, and unlocking everything will most likely take you quite a while. From the main battle against Kang, to challenges and buying out most of Gwenpool’s inventory (more on that later), it’s hard to be bored when there’s this amount of variety available.
A new addition here is the game’s Battle Arena, supporting both gameplay with AI and secondary players. In this mode, you’ll be able to fight other players and/or fight for objectives through various arenas in the universe. It’s fun, though the game’s issues with combat become very apparent during these sections (along with the fact that our camera is much further from the action in order to focus on the entire arena.)The game features a wide roster of characters, though the lack of fan-favorites like the X-Men and Fantastic Four is very apparent. The roster is still quite large, with more obscure characters trying to fill the void, but this isn’t always as effective. An example of this is the replacement of Deadpool by Gwenpool, there to serve the same purpose of giving us tips and selling us cheats and such. This replacement isn’t bad (though it feels really forced), but it becomes very out-of-place when we see Spider-Gwen swing alongside Spider-Man just a few moments later. One could argue that there are time travel and interdimensional shenanigans going on, but it’s a sore reminder of the selection of characters we lost.The game’s combat and camera were my biggest complaints during my time with the game. Clunky controls aren’t all that new to the LEGO games, but with the game’s heavy emphasis on combat and boss battles, the slow and unresponsive nature was something I found a bit disappointing, which is an ironic contrast to the game’s more fluent movement controls. It’s not as frustrating due to the fact that the game’s AI is pretty easy to beat (even with most of the company’s title), but it’s too bad that the franchise hasn’t really evolved in this aspect. Each character does have its own special ability as well, though some seem kind of overpowered, whilst other seem practically useless in comparison.
As noted, the game’s camera is another problematic factor, with angles sometimes obscuring the player’s view. It’s not exactly a new problem either, but like the controls, it can sometimes be quite frustrating. Sometimes we’re simply far too close, or too far from the action.
THE PS4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW.
Like the first, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a really fun title with a large open world to explore and tons of great content to play through at your own pace. There's still issues with the core gameplay, but it's hard not to have fun with the latest in the LEGO franchise.
Tons of content
Immersive open world
Flawed combat & camera controls
Lack of certain Marvel characters is really dissapointing