LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is an action packed comic adventure featuring Captain America, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many more as they face off against Kang the Conqueror. The game succeeds on nailing the feel of the Marvel universe and giving players a giant world to explore. Unfortunately, an aging formula and frequent bugs hold the game back from being truly spectacular.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 marks the third team up between TT Games and the Marvel Universe. The first game, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, launched in 2013. The follow up, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers landed just last year. The interesting thing is that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is neither a follow up to the first game or a sequel to Avengers. Instead, it’s a little bit of both. You get characters like The Guardians of the Galaxy pulled directly from the MCU movies as well as characters like Spider-Gwen and Black Bolt who are directly from the pages of Marvel comics. This feels disconnected because there is no distinction between the two worlds, nor an attempt to reconcile them. There are even references to the Marvel films, which a character like White Tiger would have no knowledge of.
The gameplay in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is familiar to anyone who’s played a LEGO game before. You progress through a level defeating enemies, solving puzzles, and collecting studs. Most of what is here is like second nature at this point. Team up attacks are back. Growing and shrinking with specific characters is back. If you are looking for innovation in the formula, you aren’t going to find it here. That’s not to say that what’s here isn’t good, it’s just what is expected and nothing more.
The story takes players through 20 levels. The premise is simple, Kang is trying to overthrow all of space and time and the Marvel Super Heroes have to join forces to take him down. The story is told through several branching paths, which is new for the Marvel series. Two or three missions will be presented with a different team assigned to each. The player can then choose which order to complete the missions in. The main cast is made up of Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Thor, Doctor Strange, and Wasp. Along the way players will be joined by likes of Black Panther, Hulk, Spider-Man 2099, Daredevil, and Kid Colt just to name a few.
As with any LEGO game, the real fun starts once the story is completed. I finished the story content in approx. 15 hours. The post-game content gives you the giant sandbox of Chronopolis to play in. Chronopolis is a miss-match of various worlds and eras. There is Manhattan, the Old West, Ancient Egypt, and Nueva York from 2099 all mashed up into one open world. There are side-missions, random crime encounters, races, and gold bricks to find which is enough to keep you busy for another 15 hours or more. If you are a fan or any LEGO post-game, I think LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 might be the best to date.
Journey Into Mystery
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is out on all current consoles. The huge advantage in picking this up on Nintendo Switch is the ability to play both at home or on the go. I spent most of my time playing docked with a Pro Controller. The game looks and responds just like you would expect it too. If you play other LEGO games regularly on Xbox or Playstation, then you will probably notice a slightly lower resolution, but it’s not enough to affect your enjoyment of the game. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for handheld mode.
The set pieces and overworld in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 are huge. There is a ton of stuff going on: laser fire, ships flying, things blowing up, etc. Most story missions have as many as 4 or 5 characters in your team, who are all on screen together. Putting all of this on a very small screen isn’t the perfect way to experience the game. There are many times, during a mission, that the camera pull out and with so much going on it’s hard to even find your character. There is also slight framerate dips in handheld, more so than when playing docked. It’s not unplayable by any stretch, but it’s worth noting if playing on the go is a selling point for you.
I do have several issues with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. The first revolves around the characters, both onscreen and off. Where are the X-Men?! I get that Marvel is trying to push the MCU content, but I am a giant X-Men fan. The first LEGO Marvel Super Hero game included both the X-Men and Fantastic Four. The 2nd game, Marvel’s Avengers, was focused on the MCU so it made sense leaving them out. However, Marvel 2 is back to a comic book based story with tons of comic characters but no X-Men. It might seem nitpicking, but this was really disappointing for me. I also have to mention the voice acting. I won’t say everyone, but I would say the majority of the voice acting seems out of place. Star Lord, for example, plays a huge part in the story, however the voice actor doesn’t even try to capture the charisma of Chris Pratt. It was just off putting to see some of these characters looking just like their movie counterparts but missing the personality or dynamic they should have.
The other major issue I had with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, and to be honest most LEGO games, was technical related. During my playthrough I had the game freeze on me no less than 8 times. Almost all of those incidents were at the end of a mission when a cutscene would trigger forcing me to manually quit the game, reload, and then replay that level again. There were also quite a few bugs and glitches that I encountered like falling through the ground or getting stuck on something in the environment and not being able to move. The worst of these came during a mission with the Inhumans. Black Bolt glitched into a room where he was running upside down. The section of the level I was in required him to break glass, but he was stuck. I tried everything but ended up, once again, having to restart that entire level. I’m not saying that seeing Black Bolt run upside down wasn’t funny, but it’s frustrating to have to replay 15 to 30 minutes of a level just because it’s broken.
Recently, for Xbox Enthusiast, I ranked all of the LEGO titles and awarded LEGO Marvel Super Heroes number 1. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was my most anticipated game of the Fall. I wanted to love it and, for the most part, I did. In spite of the bugs, in spite of the pedestrian voice cast, and in spite of the missing X-Men characters there is a lot to enjoy in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. If you are a fan of LEGO games and/or a fan of Marvel, this game was made for you. Between Wong sweeping the Sanctum Sanctorum, Ms Marvel taking selfies with the heroes, and Star-Lord dancing to his very own Mix Tapes LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 kept a smile on my face.