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LEGO Marvel's Avengers

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: Jan. 26, 2016 (US), Jan. 29, 2016 (EU)


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'LEGO Marvel's Avengers'

by Adam Pavlacka on Dec. 9, 2015 @ 6:00 a.m. PST

Experience the first video game featuring characters and storylines from the blockbuster film "The Avengers" and the sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

We're less than two months away from the release of LEGO Marvel's Avengers, so it was no surprise to see a playable version of the game on display at PlayStation Experience this weekend. TT Games was on hand, showing off an all-new level. Attendees at the show got to experience the prologue level, which is based on the initial attack on Baron von Strucker's base in Sokovia from "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."

The prologue level serves as a good introduction to the core Avengers team, with a different pair of characters getting featured in each segment of the level. Gameplay follows the LEGO formula, so you'll be busting bricks, building new items and using special powers to overcome an obstacle before moving on to the next section of the level.

Every LEGO game has focused on some new element or feature, and LEGO Marvel's Avengers is no different. This time around, the new bits are expanded team-up moves and super-sized characters. LEGO The Hobbit did have some team-up moves with the dwarves, but from the demo, LEGO Marvel's Avengers seems to take things one step further. Not only do all the Avengers have team-up moves, but the selected move also depends on who is paired and who is the primary character. One example is Black Widow's team-up, where she gets thrown into the air and then rains down gunfire in a circle of death. Another example has the Hulk picking up Iron Man and spinning around as Iron Man blasts out a laser beam.

Speaking of Iron Man, how he switches suits has been updated for the new game. When playing as Tony Stark, you can bring up a Jarvis interface that has all your suits. Pick a suit, and Tony puts it on with a custom animation that is specific to the suit in question. For example, pick the suit from "Iron Man 2," and Tony places a suitcase on the ground before it unfolds and he puts it on. Pick one of the newer suits, and it assembles around him. It's a nice bit of fan service.

Although the game starts with a sequence from "Age of Ultron," the game then jumps back in time to tell a chronological story. "The Avengers" and "Age of Ultron" make up the bulk of the game, but there are also key bits taken from "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Iron Man 3," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Thor: The Dark World."  In short, expect at least some references to the majority of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That's not to say that comics and TV fans are going to be left out in the cold. The team behind LEGO Marvel's Avengers has gone out of its way to include both obscure and common Marvel references. The incredibly cheesy Thanos Copter, which was more or less a meme among comics fans before memes were even a thing, is here, as is Lola, Agent Coulson's flying car from the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." TV show. Obviously Agent Coulson is in the game, as he featured in some of the films, but there is no official word on whether other agents will be showing up. When I asked about them, all I got in response was, "We haven't yet announced all the characters." It wasn't a confirmation, but it also wasn't a denial.

I mentioned super-sized characters earlier, and LEGO Marvel's Avengers delivers on that front with Fin Fang Foom, Hulkbuster and Stanbuster. All are bigger than the standard big figs, so there should be plenty of opportunity for destruction.

Voice work for the game is pulled from the respective films, with some actors — including Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) — providing additional lines specifically for the game.

Outside of the story mode, LEGO Marvel's Avengers includes a rather expansive set of open environments. Both the Avengers Helicarrier and Manhattan make a return appearance, and both have been upgraded. The Helicarrier looks more or less the same on the outside, but the inside is different. Of note, Deadpool's room is no longer where you'll go for collectibles. This time around, you'll take a portal to Knowhere and deal with the Collector in a nod to "Guardians of the Galaxy." Manhattan has expanded in scope, with more to do as far as side missions are concerned. In fact, you'll even have the ability to reset side missions to replay them again.

On top of the main hubs, LEGO Marvel's Avengers also offers up a number of smaller environments to explore, including: Asgard, the Barton Farm, Malibu, S.H.I.E.L.D. Base Exterior, Sokovia, South Africa and Washington D.C. These areas all have their own side missions themed to their corresponding movies, and all include the trademark LEGO humor. For example, in Washington D.C., you can play as the Winter Soldier and experience events from his warped perspective (while he was still under mind control). This mission has you fighting unicorns and ballerinas to the death. It's absurd, and yet it totally works.

As big as the home console versions of LEGO Marvel's Avengers are, it's worth noting that the Vita version is also getting a playable open-world area. Past LEGO games on the Vita have been known for their limitations, so hearing that Manhattan would be playable on the Vita version is a definite plus. The Vita version of LEGO Jurassic World did a good job of replicating most of the core levels, but it didn't even attempt the open-world aspect of its console big brother. It'll be interesting to see how well the open-world experience plays out on the handheld.

After getting up close and personal with a few different areas in LEGO Marvel's Avengers, it's safe to say that I'm excited for what's to come. It seems like the team at TT Games is hitting all the right notes and putting together a package that is laser-targeted at LEGO and Marvel fans.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check back on Friday, December 11, 2015, when we'll run an interview with Arthur Parsons, the game director for LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Also on Friday, don't miss your chance to win an EXCLUSIVE LEGO Marvel's Avengers collector card, direct from PlayStation Experience and autographed by Arthur himself.

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