LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2: First Thoughts

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
Designer: Arthur Parsons
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developers: TT Games, Traveller’s Tales

Review by Stephanie Cooke

I love playing video games. I especially love getting swept up in epic RPGs like Skyrim, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect. When I play those games, I think of myself as a bit of a completionist. I always want to finish every aspect of the game (at least the first time around). Despite this, I’m not able to get through it all. Open world games are simply TOO big sometimes.

That being said, one game franchise that I ALWAYS make the time to 100% are the LEGO games. I love them. Whenever one comes out, I devote a ton of time to playing and getting the most out of the game.

With some games, being a completionist feels like a chore. Sometimes even within the LEGO games, it can be too, but I enjoy myself too much not to do it.

I’ve only just gotten started with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (on Xbox One), but it’s already one of those games that I know I need to make my way through COMPLETELY. So while I don’t have a full review yet (because again, sidetracked…). However, I do have some initial thoughts on it that I would love to share.

Right off the bat when you jump into LMSH2, you’re introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy— the darlings of the Marvel Universe right now. It makes sense that the primary focus of the game starts with them after the success of the first and second films with fans and critics alike. The Guardians are trying to fend off an attack from Kang who is using some sort of time manipulator to take over the world(s)… mwahahahaha?

At first, it was jarring when the Guardians start talking. The writers of the game (one of whom I believe is Kurt Busiek) try to use the same witticisms that James Gunn infused into the characters which fall a bit short, in my opinion. I don’t know if it’s the dialogue that doesn’t work here or if it’s the fact that the characters are not being voiced by the people who made them iconic on the silver screen but there’s SOMETHING that feels off as you play.

That’s a nitpick though… I don’t think a ton of people come to the LEGO games for the voice acting, necessarily. What they do come for, however, is a fun experience getting to play as characters from our favourite pop culture franchises. Within LMSH2, those pop culture characters are from the Marvel comic book universe. I had a blast in the first game collecting all of the characters, especially ones like Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl who’s special power involved throwing around squirrels (which for the record, is NOT her actual superpower).

I was thrilled that Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) was established as a primary character early on as was Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel). I was given the chance to play as both of them. Kamala’s personality shines through, and she is exceptionally delightful.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy playing as Spider-Man. He and Spider-Gwen are a ton of fun with their ability to swing from anywhere and throw webs around like nobody’s business. And speaking of Spider-Gwen, Gwenpool makes an appearance in LMSH2 as the keeper of the cheat codes and bricks. As far as I know, you can’t play as her, but she’s there for all those diehard Gwenpool fans.

LMSH2 incorporated other dimensions like the ones we saw in Spider-Verse event which gives a more organic explanation as to why these characters are playable here. Of course, it’s a very silly game featuring comic book heroes that are also LEGO pieces so while that’s not 100% necessary to explain. It’s still nice to see it tied in with the larger picture.

Supposedly this game picks up right where the first one leaves off. It’s been a while since I played that so I can’t speak to that accurately. I honestly wouldn’t have guessed that from my initial gameplay. It doesn’t feel heavily tied to it. You definitely don’t need to have played the first one to get the full experience for this one.

As I jumped into the game though, it does feel as though they assume you’ve played a LEGO game before. The tutorial stuff is very light here. While I have played LEGO games before, I do like the option of going through a tutorial or passing on it. The game is relatively basic though. Not a lot is lost if you aren’t immediately figuring out all the controls which I suppose is part of why they chose to forego it.

The only other thing that I’ve taken notice of so far is how “inside baseball” some of the game feels. I think the first LMSH probably suffered from a bit of this too although I didn’t realize it as much at the time. As mentioned, the villain here is Kang, and as a comic book fan, I still felt a bit like “Huh?” as he made his first appearance. I haven’t been an avid Marvel reader for a while – events have long kept me from enjoying monthly ongoings. There are a lot of other villains that could be utilized and are more recognizable. That being said, it isn’t taking me out of the gameplay. More just puzzling me in terms of the decisions made behind-the-scenes.

I guess it plays in as a way to introduce casual fans to a bigger sampling of the characters from the universe.

My one other small nitpick involves not enough checkpoints for saves. My game has erased significant progress twice now because I’ve had to leave gameplay to do other things. A game where kids or families are playing should definitely have an option to manually save progress to avoid that sort of thing.

Verdict:
So far, so good. I’m really enjoying myself as I play through. I can’t wait to try it out playing with someone else as my favourite LEGO game experiences are with others.

Stay tuned for a full review!

Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more.Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her personal web site.

Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more.Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her personal web site.

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