The last time the Marvel Universe banded together for a world-encompassing game was in the less than stellar Ultimate Alliance 2 five years ago. (Yes we're all still wondering why The Avengers game adaption was replaced by Battle for Earth.) The LEGO format by now is no stranger. We've had the very successful LEGO Star Wars and more recently LEGO Batman. (If that wasn't enough, expect LEGO The Hobbit soon.) As shocking as it may be, Warner Bros. actually produced this game. That's basically the equivalent of a Marvel show airing on Cartoon Network. So, does this game cash-in on the Marvel Cinematic Universe phase using the LEGO format or is it something a little more? LEGO Marvel Superheroes is a very nice time for longtime and new fans alike. It perfectly strikes a balance that appeals to everyone. In a world where gory violence dominates the industry, it's very nice to see a happy and cheerful gaming experience.
Loki has returned and alongside Dr. Doom has banded together all the major villains of the Marvel world. It'll take the combined forces of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man and more to stop them and the hungry Galactus whom is edging closer and closer to Earth. The game knows what it is: a parody of the comics and Cinematic Universe. It's a lot of fun, and surprisingly the writing is very good. I say surprising because with anything modern Marvel related when it comes to cartoons and the like, you'll see the writing is geared toward the younger audience with no care whatsoever about its longtime fans. Here it's legitimately funny, you'll find yourself smiling throughout the surprisingly long playthrough.
The gameplay is identical to the other LEGO games. Of course, playing as the Marvel heroes should be a different experience, and it is. Every character's abilities is wonderfully realized. From Spider-Man's webslinging to Storm's lightning, the game makes great use of the characters and their unique abilities. The actual levels are pretty well thought out. Despite the game's often large cast per level, each character is put to good, equal use. The playthrough is definitely long, you'll most likely be spending a week on it. Plus, that's only about 12% of the entire game. The Hub World (New York City) is home to an abundance of other things to do. So this game has plenty of replay value after you beat the main story. (And the fact there are over 100 characters to unlock adds to that incentive.)
The obvious negative is the really odd decision to make the characters invincible. It's impossible for you to lose. If you explode into a million LEGO pieces, you reform seconds after. It doesn't really hurt the gameplay experience, but it must be mentioned. Every video game should be able to make you lose, otherwise there's no challenge. That's what a game is, you win or lose. That's why I don't like the recent things Nintendo has done with their games, such as in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U where if you keep losing the game gives the option of bypassing the level.
Despite being in the loading screen, the Silver Surfer doesn't do anything in the story and ends up being knocked out for most of it. Fans of Galactus will probably be disappointed with his portrayal. Throughout the story he's hyped as the big boss but in the end Loki ends up controlling him for the final fight. (Gotta love how Marvel prioritizes him over characters like Galactus.) The boss fights are definitely solid. The final battle is nicely grand in scale. I am particularly pleased with the way Spider-Man was portrayed throughout. (He's better portrayed here than in his own cartoon!) This being based mainly on the Cinematic Universe, you'll be having plenty of laughs. (Such as Coulson promising Cap he'll make sure the Statue pf Liberty is repaired.) Speaking of that, it was genius to have Magneto controlling the Statue of Liberty and using it as a weapon, I don't think we've ever seen something like that before.
Overall, LEGO Marvel genuinely surprised me. I wasn't expecting much, but it ended up being one of the most fun times I've ever had with Marvel. The writing is fantastic, you'll be having a blast watching the cutscenes. With a pretty solid comic book-like soundtrack, the game rarely becomes boring. There's plenty to do to in the really expansive New York City hub world. Whether you're a fan who's been reading since 1962 or a brand new fan thanks to the movies, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is well worth your time.