LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Review – Not With a Kang, But With a Whimper (PS4)
Since WB Entertainment owns the LEGO video game publishing rights and DC Comics, no one believed we would get any sort of Marvel-based video game. That’s when LEGO Marvel Super Heroes dropped, shocking everyone while providing a really fun LEGO game about Marvel’s beloved comic book characters. TT Games did their best to encompass all the big names in some fashion, but when your character base is nearly 500+ people, certain characters will be overlooked. Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe literally raking it in, both with cash and audience, as well as the Netflix TV shows, many of these overlooked characters could get some of the limelight they deserved with a sequel. And thus, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was born!
This sequel is an interesting amalgamation between the Marvel films, Netflix TV shows, and comic books. Thanks to Netflix, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all have their own main story mission. (Why isn’t Jessica Jones in it? Not a clue.) Thanks to the films, characters from Thor Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dr. Strange all have an appearance. While the last game emphasized the X-Men, this one looks more to the inHumans. It also contains plenty of throwbacks to those who read the comics as well, such as the inclusion of Secret Empire Steve Rogers, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Jane Foster Thor. But how does this hodgepodge of lore work together? Does it fit together brick-by-brick or is the foundation too unsteady?
Kangs for the Memories
Galactus plagued the last game, and Kang the Conqueror won this spin on the Marvel Wheel o’ Villains. Kang is a time-traveling deviant who likes to—this will shock you—conquer worlds. This time he’s selected worlds from specific timelines and alternate dimensions that he likes the best, and he’s spliced them together in a realm outside of time called Chronopolis. Present-day Manhattan connects to K’un Lun, Manhattan Noir, Nueva York (future Manhattan), alternate future Asgard, ancient Egypt, Lemuria, New Attilan, Hala, and alternate Manhatten from the Hydra Empire timeline (from the Secret Empire mini-series). That’s not even everything patched into this weird conglomerate of time and space. All I can say is thank goodness for fast travel points. I thought that Manhattan in both LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers was bad enough to traverse. Chronopolis would be a nightmare without these saving graces.
But really, who is here for the storyline? It’s all about breaking them bricks, solving fun puzzles, and enjoying the bad LEGO jokes, right?
The game certainly has plenty of bricks to break, puzzles to solve, and delightfully puntastic jokes. In fact, while they didn’t implement all of the new ideas they had from The LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game, they did give many of the formula norms an overhaul. Of course there are still races and odd side quests to complete in order to collect character cards and gold bricks. Not to mention, Stan Lee is always in peril once again and there are pink bricks instead of red bricks to collect for Gwenpool instead of Deadpool. (If you aren’t familiar with Gwenpool, don’t ask. You’ll thank me later.) However, now you can race co-op with a couch friend, and there are new types of side quest missions based completely upon solving slightly complex puzzles.
Puzzles have always been an intricate point with the LEGO games, usually in a co-op and/or platforming nature. Usually they’re part of a Rube Goldberg machine, which this game makes fun of quite a bit. This time, the puzzles are part of mini-games and the characters’ abilities. For example, a common mini-game is the Simon-type puzzle found in most terminals and console accesses points. While those are still present, Ms. Marvel and Dr. Strange each have their own unique puzzles to solve, and both are far more complex than a Simon mini-game. With Dr. Strange, players are tasked with drawing runes without going over the same line twice. It’s a simple visual and spatial processing game, and they often were not challenging to me. That said, I know that these puzzles would stump my youngest child, or really anyone under the age of 7. These puzzles found in the story portion are simple, but outside of that, they get rather complex. These same young children will also most likely be stumped by the rotating puzzle boards and the sliding tile puzzles.
It seems that since this game is a sequel, it was constructed with older kids, older than those who played the first game, in mind.
Is It Kree You’re Looking For?
Before I can even get into the technical mess of this game, it has plenty of problems gameplay-wise to begin with. For whatever reason, your AI teammates are utterly worthless. They don’t seem to get that hey, if I’m holding one handle to open this door, maybe you should grab the other. And if I switch characters to get another one to grab the second handle, my original character lets go. More than once, I had to plug in a second controller to get two characters to do separate things. I would have asked one of my kids to help me out, but the split screen is once again atrocious. Within a few minutes, we got confused where we were in the game, who was who, and which side of the screen we’re supposed to look at. It was a mutual decision that this is better solo.
If only that was all that made them worthless. None of the AI in your four-man party will lift a finger to fight anyone. They all stand around like sixth grade kids at their first boy-girl dance. Usually I can count on them to at least keep an enemy busy while I deal with other things, but not in this case. I had no aggro assistance at all, which made the boss fights just an absolute joy. It didn’t help that someone at TT Games thought that chipping away at a health bar was great fun and should be brought into a LEGO game. Dear whoever made that decision, I’ll deal with that in an RPG or an action-adventure game that actually has a deep story. LEGO games are not the place to have lengthy boss fights; it doesn’t matter that you don’t really die in the game. They’re still a chore, and a boring one at that.
The AI characters won’t even follow you properly. I can’t tell you how many times I had to backtrack through a level to get the characters to follow me. It was even harder when the others who had actually originally followed me thought I wanted them to stand where the other guys were once standing. People, I jumped over spikes, falling platforms, and quicksand to flip a switch and open a fecking bridge for you. Why don’t you use the bridge? Don’t you appreciate my hard work? Why are you still standing there? No, Cap, don’t jump in the quicksand. Gah! Why are you in the quicksand? There’s a bridge right here! Why are you going back in the quicksand?
I’m not exaggerating. I had that exact conversation with my TV more times than I’d like to count, albeit not all of them were about quicksand.
LEGO Marvel Super Glitches
Once again, we appear to have yet another rushed LEGO game. It’s readily apparent the developers wanted this game out right after the release of Thor Ragnarok. While yes, there are film references aplenty, from unlockable characters to a whole game mode, the most obvious element that points to a rushed deadline is how unpolished the title is overall. Characters randomly falling through the game world, never to get out again without restarting the level or the game. Or how about characters getting stuck in an object that can’t get free no matter what, sometimes requiring a restart because of course it’s a character you NEED to exit the level? In the screenshot below, big Groot somehow didn’t duck his head in Dr. Strange’s portal, and his leg (or some part of him) was permanently stuck in the portal. Wouldn’t you know it, big Groot was needed to finish the level.
And no, that wasn’t the only time a character decided to melt into an object and force a restart.
Sometimes the glitches included a thing not appearing or a puzzle solution not doing what it needs to do to progress the level. More than once, I ran through a level multiple times just to make sure I didn’t miss something stupid. The screen is often so chaotic, it’s not obvious what needs to be done to move along, and I have missed triggering these set-pieces because they were either too tiny or I lost track of what was going on. Most of the time, however, it was a hiccup in the level, which once again forced a restart. It’s rather frustrating to watch both door locks open while the door stays shut, and even more frustrating to play again, not do a thing differently, and watch the door open.
It is known how much I adore LEGO games, but these last two have been glitch-filled messes. I can’t recommend this one at all, even to those who loved the first one, until TT Games puts out a hefty patch to resolve these glitches. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 isn’t unplayable by any stretch, but it’s a downright frustrating adventure with these game-breaking issues. Ye have been warned.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.