Last time on LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Galactus may have been vanquished, but Star-Lord warned us that there was something else bad on Earth. With the arrival of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 we now know what he was referring to.
After getting down to a spot of Redbone’s funktastic ‘Come and Get Your Love’, the story mode – co-written by hit comic book author Kurt Busiek – launches with the Guardians ready to rock. It soon transpires that time traveller extraordinaire with a very big sword Kang the Conqueror (no relation to Kodos’ mate) is a bit of a collector. There’s no harm in that – well, unless it’s actual real lands from all through time… which, of course, it is.
It’s up to the Guardians, along with inhabitants of several of Marvel’s alarmingly bulgy universes – some the same character, but from different times – to collaborate in order to take Kang and his very big sword down, and restore order to time and place. After all, Ancient Egypt does look kind of weird abutting a noir-tinged Manhattan – but that’s the deal with Kang’s several-worlds-banged-together ‘Chronopolis’.
Oh, and when we’re talking Marvel characters here, we’re talking both popular and obscure. Like, really, really obscure. When you assemble some 250-plus we guess that’s inevitable – but hey, maybe now is the time for Hellcow?!
Chronopolis is the hub of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, and allows free travel amongst all 18 worlds that have been jammed together by Kang (when he wasn’t giving its denizens the irrits with constant self-aggrandising broadcasts). There’s a lot to explore, and heaps of hidden stuff. Like most every other LEGO game there are also side missions such as races, various schlep quests (although it’s an honour to save Stan Lee, lots) and the breaking up of squabbles, so if you want to get all completionist then you’ll lose track of an easy 40 hours.
While ultimately more of the same as far as the game engine goes, creators TT Games have spent some time sprucing up the look of the ageing engine room. This includes appropriate comic fonts (no sans though – phew!), a user-friendly code entry screen (finally!) and, uh, pink bricks for Gwenpool instead of red ones for Deadpool. On the iffy side of the ledger the actual character select screen is now a mess of miniscule 1×2 stud LEGO tiles, which made it hard to discern characters even with our face planted in our 55” telly. Some genius also obviously has never used a PS4 controller, as they’ve moved the hint button to L3. Everybody knows how easy it is to push that sucker in during the heat of battle, so a random screen popping up mid-fight is a real annoyance. Now, if there was an option to remap the buttons…
Fighting remains the same – hordes of pointless minions swarm about just to annoy you, and you’ve but a couple of mashy ways to send them off. Also, your teammates are as utterly useless as ever, rarely doing more than spectating and usually only just getting in the way. We had hoped that the slightly more engaging fighting mechanic of The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game may have become the new LEGO game norm, but nope. Still, the four-player, split-screen battle mode from that game has made its way here, and it’s welcome.
Also, it’s a small thing, but pausing now doesn’t tell you which level you’re in – very annoying if you missed it in a hurry-up-we-just-wanna-play X-button mash frenzy and need to look up the solution to yet another obtuse puzzle.
Speaking of those puzzles, while LEGO games have always had the odd brain rattler (despite ostensibly being kid-friendly games), we had several occasions where we were going nuts nutting out puzzles only to eventually realise that we’d encountered a bug, so there was nothing that we could actually do. A quick reload fixed it, but we’d hope that a patch is imminent. Hmm, we guess LEGO game bugs are tradition by now…
Despite the engine that these games run on groaning ever louder with each new release, story-wise LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is as well-written as ever. Patient fans – of both Marvel and LEGO – will still love it. Nuff said!
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is available now on PS4 (as reviewed), Xbox One and PC. The Switch version releases November 29.