Ever since LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game shook the world with its family friendly take on a beloved franchise, Traveller’s Tales have cornered a lucrative niche. By far the best-selling of the bunch was LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, though its pseudo-sequel LEGO Marvel’s Avengers didn’t fare as well due to its more narrow focus. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is thankfully a looser interpretation, allowing for more comic book silliness.
As we learned at Gamescom, the world has been fragmented by some diabolical scheme that plays out early in the game. As such, Medieval, Egyptian, and more themed worlds will be open for you to explore in the open world hub areas, and you can even do so with some themed variations of Marvel’s heroes. It’s a strange idea to have Cowboy Captain America and Gladiator Hulk running around, but it does mean that there’s a near limitless range of LEGO Marvel characters to recruit.
It even includes a number of “what-if” characters. One they were particularly proud to show off was Carnom, a fusion of Venom and Carnage, which they apparently sought permission from Marvel to use. Thankfully, Marvel loved the concept and gave them the green light. As is par for the course in LEGO games, each character will have themed abilities – some can fly, others produce fire, etc.
Another key improvement for this game is that everywhere can be explored in the game. The floating island high above the clouds can be reached by those who can fly, though it may take a long time to get there. It’s impossible to say at this stage if the hub world is larger than any other LEGO licenced game, but it certainly sounds impressive enough and there should be plenty more variety on offer as they break away from the original’s recreation of Manhattan.
Once we went hands on with the game, we were tasked with killing Surtur in a multi-phase boss fight. Given control of Captain America, Ms Marvel, Thor, Female Thor, and Loki, there were plenty of times where I had to switch character to use specific abilities to overcome particular obstacles. The key difference here is that certain characters have multiple abilities. Captain America for example has a different button used for projectiles, indicated by red, white, and blue targets.
My enjoyment of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was hampered by the realisation that I was seeing a very small part of a much bigger game, with this demo area being rather by the book. There were decent parts, such as throwing a water barrel onto Surtur to make him cool off, but it seemed like Traveller’s Tales didn’t have much new to show beyond the story and the setting.
Of course, that doesn’t mean kids and parents won’t get any joy out of it. It controls well, though aiming the beams can get finicky at times, and it seemed polished with a familiar LEGO games flair. It’s a key niche that you don’t see many developers aiming for, and it seems to come quite naturally to TT Games.
So the signs are pointing to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 being more of the same, but with added influences from other Marvel Universes and some custom creations. This will more than likely be enough for the kids and parents that the game is largely aimed for, but for those wanting something fresh and exciting beyond the setting, it doesn’t look like they’ll be making any huge departures anytime soon.