Developer: Traveller's Tales Publisher: Warner Bros Price: £24.99 Platform(s): 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, X360, Xbox One, Wii U
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a better game than Grand Theft Auto V. Yep, there it is. Before you go all Incredible Hulk on us, here's a list of reasons why:
1) It's funnier than GTA V
2) It's nicer than GTA V
3) It has better written story and characters than GTA V
4) Its open world is more fun to explore than GTA V
5) It has Spider Man
6) It also has the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Nearly all of the X Men, HawkEye, Black Widow, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Loki, Magneto, and hundreds of other Marvel heroes and villains, all of whom are playable, all of whom are perfectly realised in cheeky LEGO form.
7) It has Spider Man
8) Spider Man!
When you add it all up, suddenly a game about a fat rich white man robbing some banks and complaining a lot seems a tad dull. But LEGO Marvel Super Heroes goes further. It's also the strongest virtual outing for the majority of the Marvel cast. It's the best Iron Man game, the best Incredible Hulk game, the best Fantastic Four game, and the best X-Men game all wrapped together in one beautiful bundle.
In fact it's such a powerhouse on the Marvel side of things it's almost a shame that it's a LEGO game, not least because most of the game's flaws (and there are a few) lie in the idiosyncrasies that Traveller's Tales have summarily failed to eradicate from their creations over the course of almost ten years. At the same time, the LEGO side is where so much of the charm stems from, and it's difficult to complain about these problems when you're laughing coffee through your nose because you discovered a button that turns Mr Fantastic into a teapot.
Still, like any proper child playing with LEGO, let's break this down a bit. The story of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes revolves around Doctor Doom's attempt to build Doctor Doom's Doom Ray...OF DOOM! (sic), which he plans to achieve by capturing the Silver Surfer and stealing his board. Unfortunately for Doom, Iron Man interrupts Loki's attempted capture of the Surfer, which results in the destruction of the Surfer's Board, sending "cosmic" blocks scattering all over New York City. To recover them, Dr Doom enlists the help of every Marvel villain he can contact, while Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D sends out a rallying cry to all nearby heroes to stop Dr Doom's plan.
As stories go, it would certainly pass for any Marvel comic, and if nothing else is laudable because it finds a way to bring so many Marvel characters together. It's also very pleasingly written, filled to the brim with that tongue-in-cheek humour that have made the LEGO games so popular. Unlike the early games it features full-voice acting, meaning it relies less on sight-gags and more on wit and puns.
It is perhaps not quite as rib-tickling as some of those, but there's a constant buzz of low level mirth that occasionally spikes into outright hilarity. In addition there running jokes that build up the more you see them, such as Spider Man rocking up in increasingly implausible scenarios to lend a hand, or Hulk commenting on how much he hates things in the vein of Left4Dead's Francis. The characters are spot on too, playing on their central traits like Iron Man's narcissism, Spider Man's cockiness, and Captain America's patriotism.