Available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
We played on: Xbox One
The LEGO games have always been known for their quirky humor. They’ve taken beloved characters from movies and turned them into silly, light-hearted versions of themselves. At least, most of them do. In LEGO Marvel Avengers, that humor is mostly absent and the characters haven’t changed at all from the movies.
LEGO Marvel Avengers pulls scenes and plot lines a variety of the movies that fall under the Avengers’ umbrella—the Avengers movie and the movies focused on a single character. There’s a lot of material to draw from. And the game does its best to take the most exciting scenes from the movies and squash them together into one game. If you’re not familiar with the converging plot lines of all of those movies, you’re likely to become a bit lost in terms of the story. But you’ll probably recognize the majority of the playable characters because they’ve all served a significant role in the movies or had a movie completely focused on them.
You’ll also quickly notice how different they are from each other, not only in the movies, but in LEGO Marvel Avengers as well. And that’s one of the game’s stumbles. It’s long been a tenet of LEGO games that they’re pretty much free of tutorials. The characters have all performed in basically the same way, making it really easy to figure out everything on your own. But Avengers is different. There are so many characters with so many different moves and attacks that it can be difficult to learn them all. And you need to be able to execute those moves early on in the game in order to make any progress. This can serve as a point of frustration for anyone who wants to simply play as their favorite character and smash their way through all of the destructive environments.
Another downfall of having so many characters is that you don’t really get to play as any one of them much in the beginning of the game. The early levels switch environments and characters, meaning, for example, that you can only play as the Hulk in one level. After that you need to play as the other characters in other levels before you can play as the Hulk again.
But the game’s biggest drawback for me is that it’s simply not funny. And that’s what LEGO games are supposed to be. The characters in the game stick so closely to their movie counterparts that there’s no room for injecting any humor into the game that isn’t already present in the movies. I think this might be due to the fact that all of the characters are voiced by the actors who play them in the movies. Having the same voice talent would be a huge plus in most games, but in the LEGO games, it just sucks. It’s impossible for Captain America to be silly when his movie counterpart is so stoic and serious.
I really like the Avengers universe and was looking forward to the creative spin that the LEGO games put on everything. But that spin wasn’t there. The game could have easily been a straight-forward, third-person adventure game. That’s how much personality it’s lacking. But I’m not really the target market for this game. It’s designed largely for kids who love comic book heroes. Your kids may not be bothered by the fact that it’s not funny. They may just want to fly around as Iron Man or use Mjolnir to pound enemies into a flurry of LEGO pieces. And the game lets you do that. But if your kids do enjoy some of the silly moments that are present in other LEGO games, you won’t find them here.