Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 successfully builds on the Lego franchise in new and interesting ways while telling a pretty decent story, but awkward character exclusions, wonky voice acting, and bugginess keep it from being as super as it could be.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
Developer: TT Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 copy for review
The first Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a grand celebration of Marvel and its long-lasting legacy. The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Inhumans- every possible character group was represented and given a fun story and an open world to mess around in. As fun as Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is, calling it Lego Avengers 2 would be more accurate. The focus on the MCU is very noticeable, and puts a bit of a damper on the otherwise fantastic world this game takes place in.
Picking up right after the first game’s climactic battle with Galactus (who isn’t mentioned by name), Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 revolves around the invasion of the time-travelling tyrant Kang the Conqueror. Right at the beginning, Kang has combined different universes and time-periods together to create Chronopolis, the ultimate empire for him to rule over. It’s up to some of Marvel’s most iconic heroes from all different worlds to defeat Kang in order to restore order to the many displaced realities. The story itself is light and fun, and best of all it allows for a fantastic open world and some truly fringe characters to appear. Forbush Man, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Gwen are just a few of the otherworldly characters to appear, which makes for a nice sense of variety in the roster.
While these characters are all solid inclusions, they can’t hide the fact that all FOX-owned characters have mysteriously disappeared. Galactus, the X-Men, the Fantastic 4, and Deadpool are all curiously absent from the game with little to no explanation, or even acknowledgement. Gwenpool has replaced Deadpool, the Avengers Mansion has replaced Xavier’s Institute, etc etc. I complained about this same exclusion in my review of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, and I’ll continue to bring it up for as long as these characters are absent. These characters are important to both Marvel and its fans, and no amount of awkward side-stepping can make us forget these iconic heroes and villains.
The present characters are quite impressive though, as many have been entirely overhauled to avoid characters becoming too “same-y”. Star-Lord can listen to his walkman and dance while he battles (Come and Get Your Love and Mr. Blue Sky are great inclusions), while teenage characters like Ms. Marvel and Gwenpool can take selfies (and it is as ridiculous as it sounds). Jetpacks, web-swinging, teleporting, and flying all allow for characters to quickly travel in a number of diverse ways, which is important in such a huge open-world.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 lets you loose in Chronopolis, meaning you can visit other planets like Xandar or Hala, or other civilizations like Attilan or K’un-Lun. Even different time periods, like the Old West and Future Nueva York, are at your disposal, each full of missions and characters fitting of their setting. There are lots of different mini-games and puzzles to partake in, making the world worth exploring even after the story is done.
Many areas of the map even include areas where you can pay to build monuments and statues. It’s a minor addition, but I like the feeling of building onto the world to make it your own. Similarly, souvenirs from different quests and missions appear in the trophy room of the Avengers Mansion, which adds an extra bit of customization to the game’s world.
Otherwise, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is essentially what you would expect from a Lego game with some much-needed improvements. As mentioned earlier, character movesets are more diverse than ever, so chances are your favorite characters will each have something unique to bring to the table. The levels feel a bit shorter, but in a way that makes them more digestible. Lego games often have stages that drag on, so this pruning is welcome. Bosses are typically easy to understand and fun to fight, though a couple overstay their welcome by a few phases. Nonetheless, fighting is quite fun thanks to the smoother combat and the spectacular team-attack mechanic. When your special bar is filled you can do a team attack with any member of your party. There are a ton of different moves that can mow through enemies, and they’re all a joy to watch. Making Spidey swing Star-Lord around while he shoots everything in site is a fan’s dream come true, and there are countless attacks and team-ups to try out.
On the flip side of things, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is very buggy. Sometimes my characters would become trapped in an inaccessible area, or get caught in a loop of falling deaths. Boss health bars don’t always display properly, and occasionally bosses get stuck in blocking phases for quite some time. There aren’t any game-breaking glitches or anything, but there are enough minor ones to make the game feel a bit unpolished and sometimes frustrating.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 has rather nice visuals overall. Models look like their characters and are very expressive, and attacks look suitably flashy. The environments are especially nice, and the lack of load-times makes it easy to explore these locations. You could fly from a street in New York to the flying city of Attilan with no loading whatsoever, then immediately blast off to Egypt without a single load screen. I also like how mountains and buildings aren’t usually made of Lego. Having these realistic bits of land makes it feel like you’re playing with Lego in real environments, as you may have done as a kid (I know I did).
The voice acting in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 isn’t particularly good. Characters like Captain America and Thor sound stiff, as the actors were likely instructed to stick close to the MCU depictions of these characters. I don’t really get Marvel’s aversion to voice acting continuity either. For example, Rocket Raccoon has different voices in this game, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, and TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and he is by far not the only one. The inclusion of licensed music for Star-Lord’s walkman is a really nice touch though, and I hope to see more minor details like this included in future Lego games.
The Final Word
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 adds quite a bit to the Lego formula, but is held back by its bugs, voice acting, and blatantly missing characters. Still, the overworld and new combat features, alongside other minor refinements, makes this a worthwhile jaunt for Marvel fans.
– MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair