Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 (Switch)

Still super.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 10/03/2018 07:45 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Wonderful use of the license; solid gameplay; good humor; tons of content
Poison Mushroom for...
Voice work is hit or miss; gameplay isn't much different from other Lego games; some fans will miss the Fantastic Four and X-Men; visibility can be an issue, especially in portable mode

I grew up reading Kurt Busiek’s Avengers comics. While the Avengers have been a household name since 2012’s Marvel Studios film, Busiek started writing the team’s adventures at a time when the characters were far less recognized, and sales for the comic were sluggish. Busiek, alongside a stellar stable of artists, turned the franchise around, getting back to the book’s core mechanics, and revitalizing some of the team’s greatest villains, including Kang the Conqueror. Since then, Kang hasn’t received the sort-of mainstream notoriety of big screen villains like Thanos or Ultron, but the time-traveling despot is now the primary antagonist of Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, and developer TT Games wisely recruited Busiek to help tell the tale.

Picking up shortly after the events of the excellent Wii U original, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 loosely adapts a pair of major Avengers stories with an adventure that crosses time and space. As a result, this time around, players find a much more varied roster of Marvel characters to select from and places to visit. After two titles that tasked players with exploring an open-world New York City, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 shifts things to Chronopolis, a fusion of classic Marvel locations from across time and space, including Asgard, the futuristic Nueva York, Manhattan Noir and more.

A lot has changed in both the comics and films since the 2013 release of Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and the sequel has a roster of characters that reflects that. Since then, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Black Panther have both become cinema stars, and both have received significantly bolstered roles in the game, while comic newcomers such as Kamala Khan and Gwenpool have also been added. Since time travel and alternate dimensions are involved in the game’s plot, characters such as Two-Gun Kid and Spider-Man 2099 also join the pack. Finally, a number of otherwise obscure characters that played a role in Busiek’s comics are here as well, such as Stingray, The Presence and Torg. Regardless of how deep your familiarity with the Marvel Universe is, all these combined elements make for a stable of playable characters that’s sure to impress.

Characters in the game (left) and their comic counterparts from Avengers #43 (right). Art by Alan Davis.

The roster’s many new additions don’t come without some trade-off, however; the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool have all been cut from the lineup. These characters all have film rights owned by Fox, which has led to much speculation that Disney requested developers leave the characters out of their Marvel games. It’s natural that Disney would want to promote their biggest properties, and, quite frankly, none of those characters originally appeared in the stories that inspired Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. As such, the only truly blatant omission is Cyclops, considering the fact that all of his teammates in the Champions were included as DLC characters. With Disney’s recent purchase of Fox approved, it’s likely these types of omissions won’t be the norm going forward with Marvel games, but their exclusion in this game will likely come as a disappointment for some fans.

Completing the main game in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 should take most players somewhere in the 10-15 hour ballpark, but getting 100 percent completion in each level and unlocking all of the game’s playable characters will significantly boost the experience. The game also offers a number of DLC packs, offering new characters and story content. While some of the new story missions are a bit lacking, the additions to the game’s playable roster will certainly be worth the extra price for most fans.

Regardless of which characters made the cut, it’s still very impressive just how faithfully the developer recreated those that are in the game. Spider-Man can web-sling, Iron Man has his repulsor rays… Star-Lord even has a Walkman! With so many characters offered, it’s only natural that some offer differences that are mainly aesthetic, like the multiple incarnations of Thor, but that’s to be expected with this many playable characters. With every Lego title, TT Games continues to show an impressive depth of knowledge and passion for each property, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 continues that trend.

That attention to detail also shines through in the sound department. The music is strong, and the game gets extra points for including multiple tracks from both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, including Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” and ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” They even brought in Sacha Dhawan to reprise his role as Davos from the Netflix Iron Fist show! Unfortunately, not all the voice acting in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 lands quite as strongly. The original title boasted a number of Marvel voice veterans, but the voice actor’s strike resulted in a new group coming in for the sequel. Some of the newcomers are strong, particularly for the characters that didn’t appear in the previous game, but others don’t quite match the characters they’re portraying; the voice actor for Thor, for example, lacks the gravitas required to really bring the character to life.

Though TT Games has made a lot of changes for their latest Marvel title, the basic gameplay remains very much similar to what gamers have come to expect from Lego offerings. Players control a group of characters, battling their way across stages while picking up studs, destroying things and finding new stuff to build. At this point, you’d be hard pressed to find a gamer that doesn’t have a set opinion on this formula, but it’s hard to deny that it’s effective, especially for players of varying ages. Those who haven’t enjoyed TT Games’ previous offerings likely won’t find anything here to change that opinion.

While the controls are typically strong, sometimes context sensitive actions aren’t as responsive as players might like them to be, resulting in your character performing an attack when you actually want them to build. Sometimes it can be easy to get lost and not find your way, particularly in handheld mode. Visibility was an issue in the original game, and here it’s certainly exacerbated when playing on the go. With so much going on, it can be hard to see details required to solve each puzzle.

Despite the fact that TT Games and Warner Bros. Interactive have now made three titles with the Marvel license, they’ve managed to keep Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 feeling fresh and different from its predecessors. It still has some of the flaws inherent in many of the other Lego titles on the market but, at its core, it’s a strong title with solid gameplay and humor. Most importantly, it’s a licensed game from a developer that clearly knows and appreciates the license, and that frequently shines through. With a script co-written by classic Avengers scribe Kurt Busiek and a plethora of new heroes and villains to play as, Marvel fans of all ages will find a lot to love.

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