LEGO games have been a staple of kid-friendly co-op for close to a decade now and it’s no surprise when a major franchise gets the LEGO video game treatment. Warner Bros. Developer Traveller’s Tales has made a bulk of them, with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 being the latest in a very long line of block-based action-adventure games.
There has been little variation in the LEGO game formula since its inception – co-op play, LEGO-ized versions of popular characters, and (a more recent addition) open-world sections. The LEGO games strive to be kid-friendly, so they’re the perfect game to play with children or for older kids to play with their younger siblings. Adult gamers can find plenty of enjoyment with these LEGO interpretations of beloved franchises, and there is even adult humor wrapped in a kid-friendly guise that pops up every so often. If you’re familiar with the LEGO game format, you’re familiar with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a direct sequel to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and is actually the third in the LEGO Marvel series including LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. There is an initial focus on characters with more recent movies, like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange, but the game features so many Marvel heroes your favorites are bound to be in there. Each character has unique attacks, animations and abilities based on their comic/move counterparts and are often faithful interpretations. Spider-Man can climb walls and web sling, and Captain Marvel can fly and shoot lasers – just as you would expect. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 even manages to trot out some obscure characters and feature them for an audience who would probably otherwise never see them.
The story is surprisingly solid with previous LEGO Marvel antagonist Kang the Conqueror returning to wreak havoc. Kang, using time manipulation, has gathered together different Marvel locations across time and space and stitched them all together in a city called Chronopolis. Various Marvel locales are featured, such as Iron Fists’ K’un-L’un, Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda, a city that’s part of the Hydra Empire, noir Manhattan, a futuristic New York City and others. These locations are all smashed together and serve as an open-world that is available after a few hours of playing linear missions. This open-world contains side quests, collectibles, various side activities, and serves as a way to access story missions. These story missions act like the majority of LEGO franchise gameplay – action mixed with puzzle sections.
Anyone who has played a LEGO game before should feel familiar with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. You usually fight LEGO enemies that playfully explode when defeated and solve (mostly) simple puzzles. Puzzle solving usually consists of breaking LEGO objects until you can build another object to help you pass an obstacle, or using a specific characters’ ability to bypass an obstacle. When missions are complete you are encouraged to re-explore the mission areas with new characters to unlock collectibles you might not have been able to access before. The combat is extremely easy, and any player death is meaningless as you just respawn immediately and continue whatever you were doing. This is great for younger gamers.
Multiplayer co-op or arena battles are done locally – there is no online multiplayer. That means co-op is done via split screen, even on PC. This can be frustrating to some as the split screen seriously limits your view. It’s playable and fun with a friend, but the screen real-estate taken up by another player makes exploration and sometimes puzzle-solving difficult. There is a four player arena mode that boasts two gameplay types – “Capture the Infinity Stones” that has up to four players duke it out while collecting stones for points, and “Color Clash” that has up to four players duking it out while trying to out paint the others. These arena modes are surprisingly fun party games that are meant as a distraction from the main event, but actually are pretty fun on their own.
With so many small parts coming together in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 it’s unsurprising to find a few bugs. Unfortunately, though, the bugs that I’ve encountered on the PC version have been pretty damning. Often I would find myself stuck in a boss fight when the boss would no longer attack or take damage, or cut scenes would just lock-up and refuse to continue despite the game itself not crashing. These glitches are extra horrible when checkpoints are spread far apart. After losing a few 20 minute gameplay sessions due to bugs, I almost gave up it entirely. If you’re expecting a carefree LEGO Marvel experience, you may want to wait for a few patches.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 doesn’t innovate much, but it’s a fun addition to the LEGO Marvel franchise. It’s perfect for younger audiences and fun in local co-op despite the split screen frustrations. If it weren’t for the bugs I would whole-heartedly recommend this for any LEGO game fan. Despite the lack of innovation, LEGO games continue to be a wholesome romp. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows.