The long-awaited sequel to the highly popular Lego Marvel Super Heroes is finally here and this time we venture far deeper into the world of Marvel than with its predecessor. TT Games has created an expansive game that draws from over 70 years of comics and movies. Rather than attempting to follow the stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as in previous Marvel games, a new story incorporating some of the best known (and some lesser known) characters from the huge catalogue of comics has been created.
Although Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 isn't a direct sequel story-wise, a clever use of time travel and interdimensional travel has given TT Games free reign story-wise, allowing them to craft a new story without having to stick closely to canon.
The story begins with time travelling super villain Kang the Conqueror, who has managed to rip some the best places from the multiple universes and timelines of Marvel and assemble them in his new world located outside of time and space, known as Chronopolis. The Guardians of the Galaxy, with the help of the Avengers, Inhumans and a whole host of lesser known characters, attempt to thwart the plans of Kang and return the multiverse back to normal.
Chronopolis is an impressive open world made up of 18 areas. Each has been taken from a different series such as the familiar Manhattan from the Avengers, Thor's Asgard, and Zandar from Guardians of the Galaxy. Even Wakanda from the upcoming Black Panther movie is represented, as well as more obscure alternate timelines of a Hydra controlled New York and the 1940s Manhattan Noir. These are dotted among others like Medieval England, The Old West, and Egypt and each one is represented by the corresponding Marvel heroes and villains throughout the story.
The staple formula for the Lego series so far has been to destroy everything, build items, and complete puzzles, and while it is a tried and tested system that works and there is the new addition of moving time forward and backward for a few puzzles, there is, unfortunately, no groundbreaking changes within the gameplay itself. They could have added in the new combat mechanics we saw in Lego Ninjago The Movie Video Game, a game which we really enjoyed, but we don't believe shoehorning this in would have made it possible to showcase the huge variety of special moves that each character has, which is a shame as it almost feels like a step backwards in terms of combat.
Many characters have very unique abilities and it seems that extra care has been taken to do them in a way that should please fans. Doctor Strange, for example, can conjure his fiery magic spells to unlock portal gateways, complete rune puzzles, and even draw his whip while in combat, all of which look amazing as sparks of orange and gold shoot across the screen. Ms. Marvel also has some fantastic elastic abilities such as stretchy arms and legs, massive fists, and ground pounds that make combat hilariously bizarre.
With over 200 Minifigures to unlock it would be difficult to remember everyone's abilities, but thankfully on the pause screen is a character card depicting not only their core attributes but also a brief character profile detailing their history (including their first comic appearance which we found to not only be useful but also quite informative). Each character is also given its own little personality; in his downtime, Spider-Man will play with his web slingers or a camera, Doctor Strange will pull out the book of Ashanti, and Rocket Racoon will mess around with some electronics. The voices though are a little under par but this may be down to the fact we are so used to Hollywood actors portraying them on screen, and so hearing another voice sounds wrong. The script, on the other hand, is excellent, with pop culture references to Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and even poking fun at itself. J.Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle's editor and Peter Parker's boss, acts as a narrator and gives a story update between each level to help keep players clued into any parts of the plot they may have missed.