Review: Lego Marvel’s Avengers (3DS)

Has TT Games assembled a winner?

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 02/19/2016 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Fun gameplay; great music and sound; open-world NYC is impressive
Poison Mushroom for...
Short length; Not enough content compared to console versions; gameplay will feel tired to some

Over the years, Traveler’s Tales has struggled to find the right way to make a handheld Lego game. While the developer’s recent efforts have been more impressive, it still hasn’t quite managed to replicate the success of the console versions. Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a step in the right direction, but the developer remains its own greatest competitor.

Last summer, Lego Jurassic World released on Wii U and 3DS. The handheld iteration’s biggest problem was that it came across as too ambitious. Both games offered Lego variations on the Jurassic Park films, but the 3DS version omitted several scenes from each movie, likely due to space limitations. Traveler’s Tales had done this before with other handheld games (such as Lego Batman 3), but with popular films, it became all the more noticeable. Thankfully, it seems the developer learned its lesson with Lego Marvel’s Avengers. Rather than attempt to cover all of the films that the console version offers, the handheld version instead primarily focuses on events from Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The result is a tighter package, and the game’s pace never feels interrupted.

That isn’t to say the game only focuses on those two films. The game also offers side quests, and even an extra level pulled from one of the other films that the console version covers. Traveler’s Tales managed to find an appropriate place to sneak in a level pulled from Captain America: The First Avenger. In the Avengers film, Steve Rogers has a brief flashback to the “death” of his friend Bucky, which happened in the Captain America movie. In the game, rather than show snippets of that sequence, the developer included the whole scene as a playable level. It’s a really clever way to squeeze in an additional level from the console version, and it shows that TT Games was focused on filling the 3DS game with as much content as they could.

Unfortunately, the game’s narrowed focus is also its biggest downfall. As a result, most experienced players will be able to play through the main quest in a little over four hours. On the plus side, the game does offer a wealth of additional content. Once the game has been completed, there are still a number of popular Marvel characters to unlock, and a handful of side quests to be found in the game’s open world city of New York. The majority of these are time trial races and competitions to smash the most items, but there are a handful of short missions featuring Marvel characters such as Dr. Strange and Daredevil, as well. These sections aren’t terribly deep or long in length, but Marvel diehards will appreciate the extra content.

The game is the first handheld Lego title to offer an open-world. The game’s version of New York City isn’t the prettiest or most fully developed open-world, but it is rather impressive from a technical standpoint. Very few other 3DS games have tried this sort of thing, let alone pulled off what Traveler’s Tales has. The game even allows players to choose between exploring New York during the day or at night.

The content of Lego Marvel’s Avengers should be familiar to anyone that’s played a Lego game over the last few years. While Traveler’s Tales continues to make minor changes to the formula, the core gameplay remains the same. The Avengers have some new team-up moves, and Iron Man can switch armors on the fly, but little else has changed. It’s still easy-to-control and a lot of fun, but players feeling burned out on the Lego formula should look elsewhere.

Lego Marvel’s Avengers also features voice work and music pulled directly from the films. The music sounds terrific, but the use of the original voice work from the films can sometimes be a little restrictive. Occasionally, lines will abruptly cut off, either for timing or content (Tony Stark’s euphemism for ED in the first film is unsurprisingly cut, but not until the last second). At times it seems the developers would have been better off using the all-star voice cast from Lego Marvel Super Heroes, but it’s also hard to imagine these lines being delivered by any other actors. Fans of the films will likely be happier with the original voices, regardless of the occasional wart or two. While the developers obviously didn’t get new voice work from actors like Chris Evans or Robert Downey Jr., Marvel veterans Clark Gregg, Hayley Atwell, Cobie Smulders and Stan Lee all provide new audio for the game. This is a very welcome addition, and it really helps to make the package feel a little more complete.

Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a wonderful recreation of the source material, it’s fun to play and the trademark humor fans have come to expect from the series remains intact. Unfortunately, the game’s short length makes it a little difficult to recommend for most seasoned gamers. The console version offers a more robust amount of content for just $20 more, and it’s on just about every current and last generation system available. For those shopping for a younger fan, or a Marvelite in desperate need of a game that can be played on the road, it’s a great pickup. As it is, the game is a little too short when there are better options readily available.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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