February 16, 2016

Lego Marvel's Avengers Review for the PS Vita

TT Games brings you the latest in the Lego games series. Will it be worth your while? Assemble!

There are a number of licensed Lego games and the challenge TT Games has before it is to remain fresh for each new iteration it brings out. They don't want people to just say, "Oh it's another Lego game. I know exactly how this will play."

So did they do it? Did they make a game that screams, "Fresh?" 

Lego Marvel's Avengers for the Vita covers the main storylines of the two Avengers movies, A lot of time was spent to make the inter-game movie sequences of the game to be as high quality as possible. This has been something TT has always included in their games, but on the Vita version of this game it seems even more quality than games in the past. There is the signature goofiness that always accompanies the sequences, yet it doesn't seem tired yet. 

Gratuitous/obligatory Loki smashing scene
Here's how most Lego games run: Main hub, level select, 5 challenges including "Complete mission," "Get X Lego studs," "Find all collectibles," and two other level specific challenges. And yes, this game runs the same way. The extra challenges in each level offer a level of difficulty that is higher than most Lego games the reviewer has played. This is probably due to the huge number of characters and vehicle unlocks necessary to meet these challenges. So those of you hoping for a quick platinum, think again! (I'm used to a few play throughs on other Lego games for an easy plat!)

Each level has its own stat page. I'm only 54% done even though I've finished the main game. 
The main hubs are Manhattan and the Helicarrier, and there are multiple hub specific challenges to complete. These include time trials where you have to race through rings around the city either by car, fast running characters, or air vehicle or flying guy. Another type of challenge is to rack up a certain amount of damage around the city in a given amount of time. These aren't all so easy to do, and may take several times to do these perfectly. So although young kids can play these games, it will take a certain level of skill to 100% these. 

One of the many challenges covering the city map/hub
Put these together with trying to locate hidden Captain America trading cards, destroy Loki and Ultron statues, hit Hawkeye targets... you'll find there's a lot to do. 

It's the maneuvering through these tasks that might lead to some frustration. For example, some of the time trials are straight forward race through the streets moments, but other time trials have you jumping onto launch pads across rooftops or even changing altitude to hit rings above skyscrapers. The car levels are easy enough once you know how to boost, but sometimes when you try to change lanes you will find you can't jump a curb that is only inches tall. Instead you bash into it and lose your momentum. 

Finished the main game? Go back and find everything! It will take you a long time. 
Frustrations with the jump pad sessions come when you are sprinting along with Quicksilver and you try to time your jump right to land on the pad and there are some clunky pauses you have to deal with. And time after time when I tried to pilot the Vision through some aerial rings I totally lost my direction following the arrows pointing the way. Seems like it should be easier to control. 

The main thing you'll be doing, however, is trying to locate the ton of unlockable characters and vehicles buried in the game. I've been playing for several hours (in which I've completed the main story levels), and have yet to come close to finding all these things. At 6 hours in I"m 54% complete) The unique thing about these characters you find is they all have separate powers, including some unique ones. You'll find Ant Man and be able to shrink. You'll be able to find gargantuan characters like Fing Fang Foom. 

A new in game feature you'll learn to experiment with is the teamwork function. If you find two compatible characters you can hold the left trigger button to activate a cool move. The Hulk picks up Cap to chuck him at enemies or structures, Thor can charge up Iron Man to decimate foes or he can work with Cap to make a shield lightning attack. These attacks really mixes up the gameplay. 

One of many cut scenes to tell the tale
One thing TT Games has done with the last few Lego games (Jurassic World especially), was to use voice overs from the movie franchise. What this does is makes it so they have to strictly follow the storyline, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. However, in the Vita version the sound quality of the vocal lines seems really low. It becomes very jarring when it happens. The soundtrack and sound effects don't suffer from this problem, though, so if you have a set of good earbuds you'll enjoy that ride. 

Iron Man gets lots of suits for different occasions
So is this "Fresh?" I believe TT Games indeed has tried to mix up the successful recipe that comes from their licensed Lego games. Story levels require clever thinking to claim all the challenge trophies. Hubs have lots to do in them (I haven't played the PS4 version, so I can't compare the Vita version to it), requiring skill and not just grinding out the time trials. Fans will appreciate the movie scenes as well as having to track down TONS of characters and vehicles. 

Things to consider before buying this game: Are you a fan of the Avengers universe? This is a complete collection of all characters. Want to run around like the Hulk and Hyper Jump? You got it. Fly like Iron Man? Yep. The main story is short, but the challenges are plenty. You can spend lots of time on trials, smashes, or just finishing up levels to get every last thing. And it's perfect on the Vita for bite sized gaming sessions. 

What do you think? Are you an Avengers fan? Lego? Let us know in the comments!

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