LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 22.11.2017

Review for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 on PlayStation 4

Tt Games has been putting out quality LEGO titles for an age now, with its own unique IPs, like Ninjago and LEGO City Undercover, and with the many big licenses it has racked up over the years, especially via its now sadly deceased Toys to Life system of LEGO Dimensions, whether it be cutting up bricks with light sabres, climbing the blocky streets of Gotham, or riding minecarts through Temples of Doom, Tt has delivered some insanely fun experiences. Some of the very best of those have been thanks to its titles based on Marvel comics. It's been around 18 months since the last, LEGO Marvel's Avengers, which took the backdrop of the MCU and expanded it with its comic counterparts. Now, this latest is a true sequel to the original LEGO Marvel Superheroes of 2013, focusing on the comic characters and their stories.

While Galactus was the big bad to overcome in the previous game, he didn't have much of a presence throughout the story, and instead the game dished up a rogue's gallery of fan favourites to take on. While there is once again a huge rogues gallery to take on in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 - with a different iconic enemy standing ready at the end of each stage for a boss fight - this time the main villain takes a much more prominent role. His name is Kang, Kang the Conqueror. Marvel fans that have never picked up a comic and instead have relied on TV shows and the MCU to this point aren't going to be very familiar with this character, but, then, they won't be familiar with the majority of the cast here, either.

There is absolutely no easy way to explain just who Kang is and what he can do. The character has had so many changes and versions over the years it's hard to keep track of if Nathaniel Richards really is Iron Lad or Immortus or a future Doom or… regardless! Kang is a time-travelling psychopath with a penchant for conquering civilisations and a self-aggrandising fixation. In this latest game, Kang is the plot device used to pull together as many Marvel characters as possible (other than those with movie rights over at Fox!). Kang tears apart both dimensional reality and the time stream, smashing together different eras and Elseworlds into a manic amalgamation named "Chronopolis," which sees Asgard next door to Manhattan, and Wakanda beside Atilla. What this equates to is a strange mish-mash central hub that links to each of the 20 story stages. It's a big downgrade from the Manhattan hub environment in LEGO Marvel Avengers but at least it manages to include some iconic Marvel locations.

Screenshot for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 on PlayStation 4

On the whole, these 20 stages are good, giving some fantastic battles straight out of Marvel history. Thor and Jane Foster team up with Loki to take on a giant Surtur tearing apart Asgard; the Royals have to stop Maximus from taking over Atilla; a rag-tag group of Defenders team up with Spider-Man Noir to take on the Kingpin in a 1950's style gangster, and so on, plus Iron Fist has to take on the Steel Serpent at the foot of Shou-Lou the Undying within the depths of K'un-lun. Between each of these stages, J. Jonah Jameson acts as an exposition device, giving a little explanation to some of the heroes and their histories. The gameplay is classic LEGO with no real significant breakthroughs; it's the age-old system of smashing through a stage, utilising a team of four pre-set heroes, each with specific abilities to overcome basic puzzles in each stage, before taking on an end of level boss.

Completing each stage unlocks the ability to replay it in free-play mode, with any of the considerable cast to switch between. Returning to each stage in free-play is the most fun element, searching through every corner to find collectible mini-kits, gathering up tons of studs to fill up the "True Believer" bar, collecting gold bricks and saving good ol' Stan the Man, who manages to get himself into sticky situations in every level. The problem is, while this is what fans have come to expect and hope for from a LEGO game, it actually takes a few steps backward in comparison to LEGO Marvel's Avengers and many other of the LEGO titles Tt has put out over the last few years. Little aspects of the design and gameplay suddenly reappear, and stages often include horrible damage-sponge bosses, plus are frustratingly littered with glitches that end up getting characters stuck on the scenery.

Screenshot for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 on PlayStation 4

It doesn't take steps backward just in regards of the gameplay, either. This suffers from the types of issues that were thought to have been ironed out in Tt's LEGO titles long ago. Just weird little behaviours and decisions that aren't major but each just add a little more negativity to the final product. During FMVs before or after levels, for example, the sound will cut off and the action will all freeze on-screen. Not for a long amount of time - only a few seconds - but just enough time to make things feel awkward, like a parodied ending to a '90s sitcom where everyone freezes. The design has gone back in time, too, with everything from the character select images to the comic-style layouts upon completing a stage all looking very dated.

Then there are the audio aspects; the most egregious of these is the quality of the performances of the voice actors. It's not across the board, though. Some are quite enjoyable, but there are so many that are horrendously bad that it ends up casting a shadow over the entire adventure. It makes the audience long for the early days of the LEGO releases where there were no voices. In fact, it's more enjoyable at points to turn subtitles on and speech volume down to 0... although, this then points out the problems with the writing. The voice actors sound even worse when the characters on screen get stuck in a loop of quips, over and over and over… There are also strange audio hiccups from time to time where the soundtrack cuts out and the stark lack of music makes the whole scene feel odd.

Screenshot for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 on PlayStation 4

There's a huge cast full of fan favourite characters to play with, at least. It makes for an interesting observation, in fact. At NYCC in 2015, Cubed3 attended a developer roundtable about LEGO Marvel's Avengers and spoke with Mike Jones, the man who oversaw all of the Marvel games and ensured they not only kept a high level of quality throughout but also that they met with the company's focus. What this meant was when asked at the time about the inclusion of Spider-Man and his supporting cast or rogue's gallery, Mike had to give an excuse for why they were not included.

"We're just focusing on Avengers this time and if you think of Avengers you don't think of Spidey." Of course, now, it is apparent that people did think of Spidey. He had a huge history with the Avengers. He was absent because of the feud at the time with Sony Pictures. Thankfully, that feud is someone amicable now; in fact, if recent rumours are to be believed, an upcoming purchase may mean all of Fox's Marvel properties may soon return home, too. Not yet, though. What that means here is that while the original Marvel Super Heroes saw the Fantastic Four and the X-Men playing a major part, they are absent here. There's a gargantuan enough roster to minimise their absence, though. The aforementioned Spidey cast plays a huge part of that, with the super popular Spider-Gwen web-slinging through the city alongside the wall-crawler, characters from the 2099 Universe, even Gwenpool, Squirrel Girl and Carnom. In total, there are a staggering 236 characters to play with and many of them brand new for this instalment.

Thus far, this doesn't sound good… problems with the voice acting, gameplay that feels a step back from recent LEGO titles, issues with the design, and so on. However, this is a highly enjoyable LEGO game regardless, perfect for a night in front of the TV for couch co-op. Marvel comic fans will adore finally being able to get hands-on with characters they have always longed to play (pity LEGO hasn't made physical versions of many of them yet!) The post game is where the real enjoyment comes in. Hunting down every optional collectible in each stage in free-play mode, then heading into Chronopolis to track down a mammoth amount of unlockables, bosses, gold bricks and more. Unlike the recent LEGO Ninjago the Movie, there is an exceedingly large amount of playtime and content here.

Screenshot for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

This feels like a true sequel to 2013's LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and that is both a positive and a negative. Just like its predecessor, it is stuffed to bursting with fan-service and it delivers the signature fun LEGO gameplay elements that have always been core to these titles. However, it feels like a game out of time, something that should have come out in 2014. It fails to integrate the many innovations and changes to gameplay that subsequent Tt LEGO releases have created. If this had included the same type of open world as LEGO Marvel Avengers and the combat of the recent LEGO Ninjago the Movie, it could have been the best LEGO iteration to date. Instead, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2's just on par with what has come before. Not that that is a particularly bad thing, it is just that it could be so much more.

Developer

TT

Publisher

Warner Bros

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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