LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Review

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Title: LEGO Marvel’s The Avengers
Developer: TT Fusion
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 1.3 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: 
Yes

Lego games have long been debate among handheld gamers.  Lately, it’s been to the point where a lot of handheld sites don’t even bother getting coverage for LEGO games right away.  In the Vita community, a lot of the games are first covered by me, even if I don’t do the coverage on release day.

That changed with this newest LEGO game.  Thanks to the developers giving out more handheld information, a lot more sites and the community in general are looking into the newest game that game out, particularly the handheld release.

This new game is an important factor for me as well.  This past month was the first time I ever got in contact with and started press relations with the Lego developers.  As such, I received a retail review copy from them, along with a cool little Lego toy set.  So, here’s my review of LEGO Marvel’s The Avengers!

Story

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The plot of LEGO Avengers is a bit different from the past LEGO Marvel game.  This game focuses around the plot and story of the first two Avengers movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We follow the steps of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye through their exploits in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The plot isn’t completely those two movies, though.  The handheld version also has a flashback scene that you can play from Captain America: The First Avenger.  So, you can look forward to doing a bit outside of just the two Avengers movies.

As you may know, The Avengers movies aren’t exactly G-rated movies.  To accommodate for this, many “mature” lines were opted to not be in the game, like the swearing sections of Age of Ultron.  They’ve done this to make the movies child-friendly, even with having audio taken directly from the movies.

Gameplay

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Like games in the series before it, LEGO Avengers is a 3D platformer with action and puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  Due to what I am about to reveal, there are also sandbox and adventure elements thrown into the mix as well.

First off, we need to compare the handheld version to past handheld versions.  LEGO Marvel’s The Avengers is the debut of open world sandbox gameplay to the handheld Lego world.  Between missions and during some, you will be placed in a large sandbox version of Manhattan as well as explore-able hub worlds of Avengers Tower and the Heli-carrier.  You can also access the sandbox at any time by quitting the mission you’re on.

Next, let’s compare the console and handheld versions.  TT Games made LEGO The Avengers will the idea of buying both the console and handheld versions.  The base gameplay is the same between the two, but each version has exclusive playable scenes.  Some movie scenes are only available in the console version, while others are only available in the handheld version.  To answer everyone’s question, it’s not watered down in any way.  Aside from the fact that the handheld version doesn’t have multiplayer.

Other small additions are party size and team attacks.  In most LEGO games, there are only two characters on screen in your party at once.  In this game, I’ve seen as much as 4-5 characters, including you, just on your party.  This may have been to more accurately depict the movie, but it’s really nice.  Team attacks are also incorporated by movie events, but part of puzzle-solving.  Like having Cap throw Black Widow into the air with his shield.

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Progression has you constantly going between the sandbox and hub worlds and stages as you play out movie scenes.  For example, you will guide Nick Fury through the sandbox to a heliport to take a helicopter to the Project Pegasus facility where the intro of the first Avengers movie will take place.  Later on, you may be strictly in stages until you take over as Phil Coulson in the sandbox as he drives to Stark Tower to recruit Iron Man and then continue to the Heli-carrier.  Some story sections play in the sandbox and some in actual stages.

What you can do depends on what type of stage you’re in.  In the sandbox, you can jump into any vehicle you come across and drive around.  It even replicated getting in a vehicle to Triangle, much like how that works in the GTA franchise.  As you move along in the story sections, you can run to your objective.  You can freely explore, but you have to be outside of the story mode to have spawn-able events in the sandbox.  For fun, you can run through anything, be it NPCs and other vehicles.

In stages, you will be driven across a linear stage as you play out scenes from the movies by solving puzzles, platforming, and fighting off enemies.  These environments could be a rail-shooter style flying scene (Iron Man flying around Strucker’s Base in Age of Ultron is like this) or a 3D arena you can freely roam around in on foot or flying with a flying character.

Each stage will have various challenges you can do to unlock extra content, like playable characters or red bricks that add special effects.  The challenges are normally having you either collect a certain number of studs or collectibles, but others are directly reflecting movie events.  Like Captain America hitting both Iron Man and Thor with his shield in the Shakespeare in the Park stage.

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Collectibles are also something interesting that I should mention.  Many of the unlockable characters may be characters that you are not expecting.  For example, you can unlock newly-created Marvel characters like the Jane Foster rendition of Thor and the Sam Wilson rendition of Captain America (Captain Falcon?).  Another that I especially loved was that you can unlock and play as the Lou Ferringo rendition of The Hulk.

Across the game, you can beat all of the story stages in about 4-5 hours.  After this, you can work on getting all of the challenges to unlock everything but also events in the sandbox.  These events include Time Trial and Hulk Smash mini-games as well as other events that are character-specific.  Another thing of note is that the sandbox also has areas where you can spawn different vehicles.  Across the game, there are dozens of different vehicles and aircraft that you can unlock and use, from the Quinjet to Coulson’s corvette, Lola, from the Agents of SHIELD TV series.

All in all, it’s about 4-5 hours for the main story and more like 10 hours for 100% completion.

Controls

Like past handheld games, you can play with either the touch screen or the buttons.  The PlayStation TV can play LEGO Marvel’s The Avengers, but there aren’t any special controls when used on that system.  As far as touch goes, it does everything.  Swiping to move.  Tapping to attack.  Tapping icons on the screen for menus.

You can move your character around with the D-Pad and/or Left Analog Stick.  The Right Analog Stick is used to rotate the camera (3D game.  No isometric angles here!).  The L and R triggers are used to cycle your current character party in Free Play mode.  You can also use L for team attacks.  Then, we have the face buttons.  You can use X to jump, double-jump, and fly.  Square is used for attacks.  Triangle is used for the character wheel, and Circle is used for interactions.

I don’t have any complaints about the control scheme.  It works quite well and the tutorials also do a nice job of explaining what you can do.

Presentation

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Visually, I have no complaints.  The game looks great and there’s a lot of detail going on here.  Even in the open world, the draw distance is pretty fair for a handheld game.  As far as music goes, you can expect to hear about a million different remixes of the Avengers movie theme and other music from the movies.  This is done well, especially with the more comical remixes when some of the entertaining sections come up, such as Hawkeye assembling a DJ booth.

Performance is quite good as well.  I saw frames dip maybe once or twice across the whole game and that’s more in scenes than in gameplay.  Even in the sandbox, everything runs very smooth so you don’t need to worry about a console LEGO title struggling on the Vita.

Summary

LEGO Marvel’s The Avengers is the first handheld title in a long time to easily match its console counterpart.  There isn’t any multiplayer, but everything else is solid, from the 3D stages to the large sandbox version of Manhattan.  If you are a Marvel fan with a Vita, this is a must buy

9/10

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