Super Heroes are my thing. And Marvel Super Heroes always held my attention the longest with their adult themes, mature handling of death, incredible imagination, and purely amazing narrative.
It is without a doubt that when Traveler's Tales started to make Lego games, that I was thrilled. Their first iteration: Lego Star Wars was masterful in its scope, humor, and playability. The sequal Lego Star Wars II: the Original Trilogy was the epitome of great story telling with wonderfully funny takes on the world's most famous space opera. The later games, though not as grand, were fun, but lacked the polish and wonder of the Star Wars Games.
They were fun, no doubt, but each new iteration felt as if something was lacking. Each iteration felt as if it was a rehash and there was not as much thought into writing the story. Some ideas were added that didn't really enhance the experience (like the create a level).
Now, behold, true believers, Traveler's Tales is back with one rollicking adventure of heroic proportions. The old humor is back. I found myself delighting in the little details, like how the denizens of New York respond to different Marvel heroes. The animations and story are excellent and expand upon the Marvel Universe in a fun way.
There is nothing as rewarding as unlocking new heroes and villains for use in Free Play, but the reasoning to go back and replay levels with other characters actually feels worthwhile. Sometimes, in the past, Traveler's Tales would lose sight of why it was fun to replay levels.
The levels are tighter so the split screen (when playing coop) doesn't feel burdensome. The option to lock the split screen is nice as well, but when playing coop I loved to leave the more organic split screen because at times the scene would merge and feel more epic.
The character animations are all amazing. Great detail has been used to not only animate the characters, but in animating their attacks. This leads to another detail that makes this game great: each character's super powers feel unique to that character. Sure, Hulk and Thing both like to smash, but their animations differ enough, and their powers differ enough that they feel like separate characters. This is a feat in and of itself considering the game has over 130 characters. For instance, Storm actually has two of all her attacks: wind and lightning. Thor is also lightning but he can fly higher. Spidey and Venom aren't just black and red versions of each other.
Each level can be completed many ways, which makes it feel as though the characters that are used are worthwhile. It also introduces players to the vast roster of Marvel characters. Levels always have an end goal with a boss, but the levels themselves are a treasure trove of hidden things to find.
The final battle is every bit as epic as I would expect it to be. And, of course, watching the credits through the end is worth it, just like at the theater. So, the question becomes, what is it good for after I complete the game? The gold bricks found along the way open mini missions found in New York City. I was amazed that I could do a mission in the Marvel Headquarters. Exploring NYC is fun as well. Interactions with the local populace are rewarding and don't feel tacked on at all.
Gameplay is smooth as silk. With the game running on PS4, I experienced no framerate issues, no screen tearing, or graphical hiccups. Only once in Free Play did my character gets stuck. I dropped out of the coop and my character was free. The graphics are great and the rewards for doing extra missions are worth picking up the controller for another go.