Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lego Marvel Heroes Review

So my super sweet husband gave into my begging and got me Lego Marvel Super Heroes for WiiU. Yes, I could have gotten it cheaper on DS, and yes, he could have gotten it for his Xbox 360 and actually gotten the achievement points for it, but dammit, I wanted a WiiU game. The poor console had been barely used since I finished Pikmin 3 earlier this fall. And this makes me sad because I like my WiiU.

I should also note that I played primarily on the GamePad. The switching between the TV and the gamepad wasn't as smooth as it is for Nintendo titles, but it was still easy. I didn't have any lag. The gamepad's battery survived being played almost constantly Saturday and Sunday.

I'll admit, I've been a fan of the X-men comics and cartoons since the early '90's but didn't know much Marvel lore overall until the Marvel Universe movie series started. So, I'm a little bit late to the game.

As such, I can't really speak to how true the game is to the comic-version of the Marvel world, but I do have to say there was something unbelievably awesome swinging around Manhattan as Spider-man, or starting at street level and flying up to the helicarrier as Ironman or Thor.

The story was good if a bit predictable, [spoilers]Loki is the bad guy again, and it used the same MacGuffin as the Avengers movie, the Tesseract., which having seen Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World felt overused.[/spoilers]  The plot did manage to move forward well, though I wish we would have had more options for which characters to use during the initial play through of each level. The first time you play a level, the game assigns which characters will be needed to complete that level successfully, and so there is little exploration initially. This causes the linearity of the levels to stand out and start feeling old by the end of the game. This was, however, offset by the free play mode that is unlocked for any just-completed level. The free play mode allows for on-the-fly switching between characters during the level, allowing for maximum exploration based on needed abilities and skills.

Second admission. I've never played a Lego game before. This was my introduction to the franchise. As such I found the mechanics easy to learn, although some areas gave far too many hints (Agent Coulson I'm looking at you) and others were trial and error until you found the right piece of the background to break apart and turn into a useful item. I liked the mechanics of building a shield for Captain America to stand on to aim lasers, and a 4 for Mr. Fantastic to use to turn into a special item/action.

I found the controls to be a bit fidgety. It felt like each button did too many tasks, too few of which were context-dependant. For example, if you were Ironman, a double tap of b was fly. Then holding B was go up, and holding A was go down, with a double tap for land. But if you held the left thumbstick in the "up" position, this would "lock" you into accelerating in that direction. Nice if you are trying to get to the helicarrier, annoying if you were just trying to get to the top of a building.  Or in fights, Y was your main attack, but a to-long press and you would go into aiming mode. Further, there was no way to select between near or ranged attacks for the characters who had both. You are stuck rapidly pressing Y and hoping you hit the enemy who was attacking you. This leads to visually neat (the characters to multiple different combinations, and there are variations between all the characters I've played with), but tactilely disappointing battles. I would have liked to have some use of either the bumpers or the triggers to perform different kinds of attacks.

Overall I had a lot of fun playing it, I beat it in 15 hours, including some but not all of Deadpool's side missions, and none of the special unlockable characters. The result was it felt a lot shorter than it really was, due to my beating it over one weekend of play. I am usually extremely slow at completing games, even short ones. This feeling of shortness would lead me to recommend waiting to purchase it until the price drops below $50, especially if you are fast or have played Lego games before and know exactly what to look for to solve the puzzles.

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