Warner Bros.' booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week had something for everyone, whether you were a hardcore Batman fan (Batman: Arkham Origins), were looking for something new (Dying Light, Mad Max) or wanted something to make you feel at ease within the comic book universe (Scribblenauts Unmasked). But one of the big highlights, for me anyway, was getting hands-on with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, a game that takes various heroes and villains from the acclaimed Marvel comic world, scrunches them down to LEGO size, and plops them into a worthwhile adventure for all ages. This could easily be one of the best LEGO games to date – and that's saying something considering the depth of LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
The level we got to play through at E3 was the same one that was presented in a hands-off format a few months back at Game Developers Conference, as a monstrous Sandman and his sandy cronies laid waste to the city. Initially, we had three heroes at our command – the large, powerful Hulk; the weapon-packing Iron Man (with snarky Tony Stark under the armor); and the web-slinging Spider-Man.
However, in this demo, we were also introduced to a new few characters, which we got to try out for the first time. LEGO Wolverine is a charmer, but he's also deadly; he can run with a good amount of stability and cut enemies down to size with his LEGO-ized adamantium claws. Deadpool is a lot of fun, even though he doesn't nearly make as much commentary in this game as he does in his own Activision release, which is coming next week. Finally, there's Venom, who feels a bit limited in web-slinging capabilities compared to Spider-Man, but makes up for it with plenty of tentacle-based assaults.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes requires you to work together as a team in order to overcome obstacles. For instance, we ran across a sand-filled train station, with Sandman setting up a huge, almost impenetrable wall for our heroes to try to knock down. Fortunately, with the help of Iron Man and Hulk, we were able to use their abilities to do so, with Iron Man shooting a sensor on the wall and activating a water cannon to loosen the wall, only for Hulk to bash his way through it. You'll need to work closely together with your team in order to make it through each puzzle – something to keep in mind if you're playing with a friend in co-op.
Having abilities that tie into each character's comic book psyche is brilliant, as it really makes you feel like each one has a practical use within the LEGO world. Even the close-range characters like Deadpool and Wolverine play their part, making up for their lack of reach with an effective up-close assault. And Iron Man and Spider-Man are useful when it comes to getting around in a hurry or shooting enemies from afar. Finally, Hulk, well, he smashes awesomely.
This is easily one of the best-looking LEGO games to date. Though Marvel Super Heroes' demo did have some slight texture issues, the huge levels, massive boss fights (LEGO Abomination is a lot tougher than he looks), and the ability to go split-screen so you aren't limited to the same battle area, all come together to create a massive new LEGO experience. If you're a fan of comic books – or just want to game with your younger ones – this'll be an easy fit in your library.
When it comes out this fall, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is likely to be a big hit across the board, no matter what platform you own. We just hope that LEGO Venom eventually lives up to the hype – and LEGO Carnage isn't too far behind…