Preview: Lego Marvel Super Heroes
After messing around with various other franchises in the LEGO universe, ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean, DC Comics (the LEGO Batman games) to Lord of the Rings, we were trying to figure out which one Travellers Tales would tackle next. Some people were betting that LEGO City Undercover would somehow find its way to other consoles, as other prior Wii U exclusives have done. Instead, though, the developer pulled the rug from under everyone and announced a partnership with Marvel that would bring its collage of heroes and villains to the LEGO universe.
The end result, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, was shown off to a select few this past week at the Game Developers Conference, with a hands-off demo showing just how much progress the developer was making with the franchise. And judging by what we've seen thus far, die-hard Marvel fans have nothing to fret about. (Put down your Tesseract cases already.)
In the game, we got to see only three characters in action – the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Spider-Man – but the final game will feature over 100 playable in all, including the likes of Deadpool, Wolverine and Black Widow. We asked if Venom would be making an appearance, LEGO-ized tongue and all, but the developers couldn't say just yet. Since he's such a fan favorite, however, it'd be safe to say he'll be in there somewhere.
Each character has attacks in the game that distinctively fit their characters, and it's interesting to see how they can all play a part when battling enemies – in this case, the sand-produced minions that work under the watchful eye of the devastating Sandman. He's overtaken the city with his dust clouds, and the trio of available heroes fight back with every ounce of energy they can muster.
Hulk is by far the favorite of the three, not only because of his immense size (he's just as vulnerable as the others, surprisingly – guess Travellers wanted to keep things balanced), but also due to his ability to pick up and destroy items in the environment. He can even generate boulders by picking up street gravel and sand and generating it within his grasp. And the way it breaks apart into a million pieces is awesome, showing that Travellers Tales has put time into its LEGO engine, so it's not just another would-be title using the same old graphic effects.
The main boss battle in the game is quite impressive as well, as Sandman swirls up into a big ball of particles, launching fists and other attacks at you. The three of your team members will have to work together to complete small things, like deactivating structures and using projectile attacks, to eventually bring him to justice. The gameplay may be familiar to LEGO fans, but the way it all incorporates into the Marvel universe is quite cool.
Like prior LEGO games from the past year, Marvel Super Heroes will use full dialogue, and the team has done a great job finding sound-alikes similar to the heroes' big screen personas. LEGO Tony Stark is just as snarky – and humorous – as the real deal, and LEGO Hulk has no problem letting off threatening lines in between smashes and thunderclaps. Spidey sounds good, too.
As for the graphics, they're quite good. You'll notice a number of familiar locales from the Marvel universe, including Tony Stark's office building and locales around New York. And, yes, the Helicarrier will be in there somewhere, Avengers fans, so relax.
While a LEGO game may not be worth getting excited about for a distinct few of you, Travellers Tales has bumped up its game as of late, making them just as enjoyable for older players as they are for kids – ideal for family sessions or working with your siblings. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is looking just as good as any effort, and we're sure to see more in the months ahead, leading to the game's fall release on various platforms.
Be sure to check back for more coverage, or we'll send LEGO Hulk to your house to SMASH!