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LEGO Marvel Collection

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: March 12, 2019

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Xbox One Review - 'LEGO Marvel Collection'

by Adam Pavlacka on May 23, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

LEGO Marvel Collection bundles LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 and LEGO Marvel's Avengers together in one package, including all previously released DLC packs.

Buy LEGO Marvel Collection

Now that the Avengers saga has finally come to a conclusion with "Avengers: Endgame," it's a perfect time to revisit the franchise in video game form. While there is no Endgame-specific game, nearly all of the previous films make some sort of appearance or influence each of the three LEGO Marvel games. The recently released LEGO Marvel Collection not only bundles all three games, but it also includes all of the available DLC for the games.

Unlike the LEGO Harry Potter Collection, the LEGO Marvel Collection isn't a remaster. All of the content here was previously released on the Xbox One, so if you already own the games, there is no need to pick up this one, as the content is the same. Those who buy the game digitally get a bundle that grants licenses to all three games and DLC. Those buying the physical game get a two-disc collection that installs everything to your console. There is no launcher application, and there are no new achievements. All three games appear as separate entries in your Xbox One game library.


LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013)

The first (and still the best) game in the series, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, was notable as an expansion on what TT Games had done with LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. The main story still follows the standard level tropes, but the game saw an expansive version of LEGO Manhattan for our heroes to explore. While the size of the world was quickly eclipsed by its sequel, which included Manhattan and much more, the open-world environment was impressive at the time, and it's still fun to explore today.

I had originally played LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on the Xbox 360, so when I fired up the collection, I was starting from scratch. The game mechanics felt right at home, but the inability to invert the Y-axis controls was a tad annoying. The other two games in the collection support this option, but it hadn't yet been standard when LEGO Marvel Super Heroes debuted, and it doesn't look like TT Games went back to add it.

The most surprising part (in a good way) was the story. When the game released, "Thor: The Dark World" was just about to hit theaters, and TT Games didn't yet have the rights to the films. While the game incorporates multiple elements from Phase I of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it also tells a completely original story that pulls in characters from across Marvel's lineup. For example, while you face off against Aldrich Killian and the Mandarin in one level (including a boss battle that incorporates the "House Party Protocol" from "Iron Man 3"), it is an event that is recontextualized for the game. The ultimate battle is a cosmic fight against Galactus, who is an opponent that may even top Thanos.


After finishing the story, there is still plenty to do around Manhattan, and it doesn't hurt that Clark Gregg is on hand to voice Agent Phil Coulson. "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." had just debuted, and so the tie-in was likely a business decision, but Gregg plays the role with his trademark charm. The DLC for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes does come in a bit light, as there are only two character packs. The Asgard Pack gives you characters from "Thor: The Dark World," while the Super Pack grants heroes, villains, vehicles, and a handful of new races.

LEGO Marvel's Avengers (2016)

The weakest of the three games in the package, LEGO Marvel's Avengers, took the idea of "more is better" toward game development. It eschews an original story and instead focuses on the MCU, specifically the events of "Avengers" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Other MCU films from Phase II appear as side stories. Unfortunately, the use of movie audio is one of the game's big weak spots.

As a longtime fan of LEGO games, I've always been partial to the wordless miming used in the early days of the franchise, but I understand the move to voiced lines. When TT Games records original dialogue, it works, but LEGO Marvel's Avengers tries to mix original dialogue with reused snippets from the films, and it simply isn't mixed well. One of my complaints when I first reviewed the game was that the movie dialogue was often very quiet, and the same is still true today. The dialogue hasn't been updated or rebalanced. It's not a deal-breaker, especially if you're familiar with the films, but for someone who is simply exploring the game, you're likely to miss a few words here and there when it comes to the plot.


What LEGO Marvel's Avengers does well is sheer size. In addition to Manhattan, you have a number of secondary hubs that are open for exploring. The game gives you a chance to visit some iconic locations from the films and poke around at your leisure. These were neat the first time around, but after watching "Endgame," going back to these side levels actually evokes a bit of nostalgia.

On the DLC side, LEGO Marvel's Avengers was a bit ahead of the curve, as you get a Captain Marvel mission, Black Panther mission, Doctor Strange mission, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mission, and a Masters of Evil mission. The Captain Marvel DLC level doesn't exactly track with the film (and there is a distinct lack of Goose), but given the timeline, it makes sense. Still, she plays well, and with the movie set for home release, jumping back in with Captain Marvel was timely. I just wish each of the DLC levels were longer.

DLC is also where the collection has its one major catch. Two DLC components were exclusive to PlayStation consoles on release, and they're still exclusive today. If you want to play the Ant-Man mission or any of the Civil War characters, you need to purchase the PlayStation 4 version of the collection.


LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2017)

The newest of the three games, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 offers a bunch of improvements on the technical front, but it doesn't quite hit the level of polish of the first game. It offers an original story that incorporates elements from the various MCU films (and the various Marvel TV shows). By combining time travel with reality warping, the game pretty much ensures that your favorite character is probably featured at some point.

Getting away from the classic Manhattan layout, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 uses the fictional city of Chronopolis as a hub. Consisting of elements of other locations, Chronopolis is akin to a mixtape mash-up of important Marvel hotspots. It's a good excuse to bring in a bunch of different locations for the story and provide a varied play environment (even if it does get a bit convoluted at some points).

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 also includes a basic battle mode that supports up to four players. It's not very deep, but it gives you a chance to pick any unlocked character and beat on each other, brick style. If you don't have enough human players, you can have the AI hop in, but playing against others is the most fun. It's great for parents and kids, but it's also a good mode (with smack talk) for friends and roomies.


The DLC component of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 aligns the closest with Marvel's licensed properties, but I found myself enjoying the DLC levels for LEGO Marvel's Avengers a bit more. This has to do with the fact that the story components here feel like a tease. You drop in, play a segment, and then drop out. The last game was similar, but it feels more pronounced here. Hanging story threads are a pet peeve of mine. On the upside, you can play as Thanos.

Summary

As individual titles, each of the three games has highs and lows, but they're all fun, especially if you've never played any of the LEGO Marvel games. As a collection, it is a bit disappointing that TT and WB didn't seem to do any remastering work. The games are playable as-is, but some of the rougher edges could have been polished up, and it would have been nice to see the Sony-exclusive LEGO Marvel's Avengers DLC finally make it to other platforms. It was originally advertised as a timed exclusive, not a permanent one.

Because this is literally just a collection and not a remaster or update, there is little reason to upgrade for LEGO fans who already own the three games. If you're new to the series or if you've only managed to play one of the three titles, the LEGO Marvel Collection is an easy win. Yeah, it can be a tad repetitive at some points when the games are played back-to-back, but this collection packs hours of fun for all ages into a budget-friendly package. It's also a great way to get your Marvel fix while you wait for "Avengers: Endgame" to hit Blu-ray.

Score: 8.0/10



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