Following the heroes of Marvel's expansive comic book universe can be a difficult thing, but there are always familiar faces to look to in the publishing giant's enormous catalogue. "Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2" takes a veritable menagerie of characters and sprinkles them throughout a kid and family-friendly adventure that puts even the smaller names in comic book history to good use.
The first "Lego Marvel Super Heroes" was a smashing success, so it was no surprise we'd be seeing another game following in its footsteps. Packing a ridiculous amount of characters (over 200, to be exact) into its core game, it offers several chances to play with heroes from your favorite series and find some new faces you absolutely adore as well. If you enjoyed the first game, you'll find plenty to love here as well.
Getting by with a little help from your friends
"Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2" takes place four years after the first game, and Kang the Conqueror is now in Chronopolis doing his best to take over every world he comes into contact with. The Avengers are working to stop him, but Kang has found a way to thwart the team, creating several different portals between dimensions to invite all manner of enemies and other creatures into the world for the Avengers and friends to take on.
You can take up the mantle of several familiar Marvel heroes to push back Kang's allies the best you can, such as Captain America, Gamer, Star-Lord, Doctor Strange, Spider-Gwen, and so many more. The diverse roster is unlike anything you've seen before in the Lego games, and if you have a favorite character, chances are they're in this game. If you enjoyed the cinematic take on "Guardians of the Galaxy," you'll be pleased to know the gang's all here, as are Black Panther, Ant-Man, Thor, and more. That's no doubt the game's immediate appeal, and you'll thrill to see everyone in action, even if there are some characters you need to Google to get the backstory of. The game does a good job of filling in some of the missing details for you, though.
Building blocks to success
The meat of the game is much like the previous Lego titles, with players starting at a hub to make their way to the next mission and completing side quests on the way there. The game opens up to allow players to explore Chronopolis further in true sandbox style, which offers plenty of content to wade through as you unlock additional characters with new abilities to continue progressing. You'll need to swap out between heroes to solve different puzzles as you make your way through each mission, in true Lego game style, so not much has changed on that front.
What has changed is the option to create your own custom hero from scratch. Instead of playing as one of the preset heroes, you can make one with the abilities, appearance, and other aspects of your choosing. The customization options are based on what you've unlocked already throughout the game, but you don't have to make an entirely new hero. Alternatively, you could make a hero that's already in the game and give them powers you wish they'd always had in the first place. If you think Spidey would be better suited with some kind of ice powers, then it's your prerogative to make that character, as cool as that is.
Speaking of cool, there are tons of collectibles to pick up on your way through each mission as well, so if you tire of busting through missions, you can pick up the astounding amount of collectibles nestled around the world as you move forward. That's another mainstay from the last game and the Lego titles in general, so even if the game is a bit simple for more seasoned players, finding collectibles isn't always a cakewalk.
Brick by brick
The world of "Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2" is great-looking, even if not everything is created out of Legos. All the characters are, of course, but the tradeoff is that you get more realistic environments to explore, which was a great decision on the game's part. It adds to the level of polish that the excellent voice acting builds on. You'll even hear Stan Lee's iconic voice throughout the game in some areas, as he's a "collectible" as well.
The only concern here is, like other Lego games and the previous Marvel title as well, the game can be quite simplistic and repetitive. You'll be completing essentially the same objectives over and over in different forms, but luckily there's excellent writing and the trademark Marvel humor you've come to love and expect. That ends up elevating it above other licensed titles, as well as the fact that it's a great game to kick back with and spend a weekend running through, especially if there are younger ones in your life who want to get in on gaming time with you.
If you enjoyed the first "Lego Marvel Super Heroes," there's no doubt you'll love this one too. If you're looking for a sandbox where you can play with just about any of your favorite Marvel characters you'd like, this is your stop. If you're looking for a challenge, look elsewhere.
This review is based on the PS4 release. The game key was provided by the publisher. "Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2" is available for purchase now for $39.99 on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. For the latest information about videogames, visit http://www.shacknews.com.
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