Lego games are all about having a great time, and they never really disappoint in that department. There have been tons of titles from popular franchises turned into Lego format, like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the DC Universe. It’s time for Marvel to get in on the action with that special splash of humor that only the Lego games can achieve.

Somewhere in the Marvel universe, the Silver Surfers’ board has been smashed into cosmic bricks and spread around the city. The villain Doctor Doom has a plan to get all of the pieces with the help of various other baddies from the Marvel Universe. It’s too bad that Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. also have a plan to find the cosmic pieces and return them to the Silver Surfer. He’ll call on great heroes like Iron Man, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to chase down these brutish bad guys and recover the goods.

Much like any Lego game, it wouldn’t be great if it didn’t contain the tongue-in-cheek humor we’re used to. In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, the jokes fall down to mostly laughable puns that would make Spider-Man cringe. Many of the jokes are hit and miss, but it’s a great reminder that comic books can be fun and escape from the dark and gritty world it has become.

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The story is typical fair for the most part, but somehow the game takes familiar characters and stays true to their spirit. Unlike the DC game where Batman was jealous of an aloof Superman, the Marvel characters act as they would in the comic books but in a comical fashion. Spider-Man for instance, is still the web swinging jokester, but he acknowledges his failures in Peter Parker’s life continually to the other Heroes.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes does not change the mold from the now familiar open-world formula of the series. It does excel at making the puzzle structure match the characters on-screen. Now if you are a fan like me, many of these puzzles will make you question a few of the superhero groupings. However, I allowed myself to step away from my fan boy side and realize this is a Lego title designed for kids.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes does not change the mold from the now familiar open-world formula of the series. It does excel at making the puzzle structure match the characters on-screen. Now if you are a fan like me, many of these puzzles will make you question a few of the superhero groupings. However, I allowed myself to step away from my fan boy side and realize this is a Lego title designed for kids.

That in turn comes down to my underlying problem with the title. The secondary nature of all other heroes in a game labeled “Marvel Super Heroes.” I was a bit forgiving when it happened in the DC Universe, but I figured by now we could get a world branching story featuring famous and not so famous heroes in the universe. Instead, they should have called it Marvel Movie Heroes, because if you were not in a movie in some fashion… you are not going to get any actual screen time.

Beyond the normal gameplay types, players will receive calls with different jobs from an assortment of characters. There are a few new people like Gerald the drug dealer, but many of the cast from the Single-Player show up to supply the players with jobs. These missions are similar to the single-player missions GTA V, but not as elaborate and scripted as those events. They are designed for multiple players to recover drugs, cars, or destroy vehicles for riches. It’s a blast to head out into the world with your friends and get into all sorts of trouble.

Every activity that’s accessible from the single-player is available in the Online version of the title. From Tennis to Car Customization, your character can do anything available in Los Santos. Unlike GTA V, money and rank are a big deal and are the deciding factor on what you can do in the game. Cash will buy you clothing, cars, guns, and properties. Rank unlocks clothing, weapons, and elaborate missions.

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You’ll find yourself bringing a team together and ploughing through missions in search of money and rank points. It’s an MMO at its core but with the mechanics of a smooth third person shooter.  Skills are still raised by using the ability, but at a much slower rate in comparison to GTA V.  Players will enter lobbies similar to Red Dead Redemption, where catching a stray bullet from another player is almost a guarantee. You can select Passive mode for a small amount of money, but cars can still kill you and fighting is off-limits.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a vast array of Marvel Heroes available in the game. In fact, the many interesting side-quests will have our blocky heroes helping citizens, solving puzzles, and taking down villains to unlock heroes like Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, and even Squirrel Girl. I can state that the act of searching the world for heroes, golden bricks, and partaking in the side-story missions narrated by Deadpool… is easily the best part of the title.

The storyline segments instinctively follow the Lego formula to a fault. Our heroes will chase villains through stage after stage, waiting for them to knock over objects and send out waves of bad guys until reaching the final boss. When the battle begins, it is up to our heroes to wait out similar attack patterns until Lego blocks crumble to the ground. They will then build an item that can damage the boss for that turn, and then it’s back to repeating the cycle until he or she is dead.

It is not a boring formula due to the frequent swapping of heroes later on in the game, but it sure is repetitious and the more heroes there are the harder it is to switch to a specific character. I can usually play games for hours, but after taking down a long stage in Lego Marvel, I just want to take a break. I won’t deny that the game has some very active and dynamic stages. Hands bust through rooftops obstructing pathways, and Juggernaut runs rampant through the X-Mansion.

It’s a pleasing and appreciated visual design for both stages and characters alike. The city of New York looks fantastic when seen above, and each individual character model contains many details from their familiar movie and comic counterparts. There are a few hits of lag, tons of graphical glitches and you may experience a crash or two, but for the most part… this is the best-looking Lego title to date.

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I also thought the controls were unappealing this time around for the aerial powers in this title. It’s incredibly hard to get a hero to go up and down without suffering a thumb-stick spasm. More importantly, the computer A.I. is quite possibly the dumbest I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s laughably bad when there are four different Supes on the screen, and only one of them realizes there is a boss battle going on. Please Lego; let’s get some online gameplay for cripes sake!

I’m torn between loving this Lego Marvel universe, and my idea of what it could have been. I love playing as my favorite heroes, but I feel that the story neglected the perfect opportunity to use as many character combinations as possible. This game managed to make Mr Fantastic interesting by morphing him into Teapots and Fire Engines. I can only imagine what they could have done with the other Marvel alumni if they would have taken it a bit further.

It’s a shame that the galactic nature of the story doesn’t span over a variety of the heroes that exist in the world. While I have no gripes with playing as Spider-Man and Wolverine every three or so levels, but I think it’s time for a few lesser known characters to get their time in the sun. If the crazy world of Lego cannot make an interesting story with, Iron Fist, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, Namor, and Daredevil… what game can?

Lego Marvel Super Heroes receives three stars out of five from Geek Citadel. It’s great to see all of the Marvel characters in a Lego game, but the technical issues, controls, A.I., and lukewarm puzzles hold it back from truly being tops.