E3 2015: It’s All About Teamwork in Lego Marvel’s Avengers
Since launching in 2005, the Lego [Insert Video Game License Here] series has stayed true to its roots, while offering incremental improvements with every iteration. The earliest games relied heavily on sight gags, while later additions were able to incorporate full voice over tracks to great effect. While we've seen Lego Marvel Super Heroes in action before, Lego Marvel's Avengers is the first superhero license to be based on a film. We've gotten a handful of Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings games, as well as other comic-based titles, but even the previous Marvel Lego game was an original tale.
With this retelling of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Lego will let us relive the movies as they happened, including voice tracks taken straight from the cinematic cuts of the two blockbusters. That means, yes, Scarlett Johansson will voice Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson will be Nick Fury, but you shouldn't count on hearing them say anything you haven't already heard from the dozens of times you've watched the films themselves. That doesn't mean there won't be some new tricks up TT Games' sleeve. In fact, in our short time with the demo, there were some nice new touches already in place.
Our demo took place smack dab in the battle of New York City. The Chitauri had already laid siege to the Big Apple, and now Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow had to rescue some ordinary citizens from captivity. Individually, all the characters have the abilities you'd think they would. Cap can throw his shield, or bash Chitauri in the face with it. Black Widow has some excellent hand-to-hand moves, and can whip out her pistol if need be. Hawkeye shoots arrows. It's all very familiar, particularly if you've played Lego Marvel Super Heroes before. However, the Avengers aren't just individuals; they're a team. As such, TT Games has added in new teamwork maneuvers for both level traversal and combat that add some much needed variety to the formula.
The combat combos aren't difficult to execute on your own, though it might be a tad easier to pull off any number of these abilities with an actual person playing co-op with you. Having the equivalent of three melee fighters on the demo team didn't really showcase a whole lot of these combinations, but it's easy to imagine getting Iron Man and Thor into the mix will lead to some sweet aerial and projectile attacks. Cap can also help characters reach otherwise inaccessible areas with a boost from his shield. Hawkeye can also shot arrows into certain holds to create bars others can use to swing around, not unlike Robin's abilities in Lego Batman. With over 150 characters on the roster (not including costume variants), the number of combo possibilities is enticing.
In addition to these teamwork abilities, characters may have new powers and characteristics based on the different films as well. For example, in the original Avengers, Black Widow primarily relied on her melee and firearms to get things done. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, she had a new electrified suit, which will give her shocking abilities when playing through the sequel, or using that version of the character in the open world sections. Likewise, the different Iron Man armors will each bring a little variation to the table. More importantly, it'll be easier to swap in and out of those suits. Rather than going into a hall of armor or different menu, when playing as Iron Man, you can switch suits right from Tony's HUD.
TT Games didn't share much else, as Lego Marvel's Avengers is quite a few months away from release, and wanted to keep some secrets to spill throughout the rest of the year. Like the previous Marvel Super Heroes game, there will be an open world hub, with side missions to enjoy, and most characters will get new stand-by animations (Cap's happened to be whipping out his compass to stare at a picture of Peggy). While the basic premise of smash, build, fight, repeat is still in play, the formula continues to be enjoyable. With the addition of these new combat elements, and the largest Lego game roster yet, there's little doubt Lego Marvel's Avengers will continue TT Games' success with the franchise.
Lego Marvel's Avengers will be available this winter on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo platforms.