There's no denying the success that the LEGO games have had over the years. Bearing in mind that the series started off way back in the Playstation 2 you begin to realise just how long it has been around. Travellers Tales have certainly made their cash out of it, covering nearly every major film franchise available from Batman to Harry Potter and Star Wars to Jurassic Park. Now we see the inevitable Avengers tie in and wonder to ourselves whether there is enough in this to keep the LEGO games going, or whether the bricks have finally ran their course.
It's all cool to start with, having the intro to Age of Ultron as the main starting point, which is perfect in allowing you to see what all the main characters can do on their own, alongside their abilities and the tag team combos that are doable at certain points in each level. The game covers the Avengers movies, as well as Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World and it does so in much the same way that the more recent LEGO games have done, by directly lifting the vocals from the movies. It sounds right in some places, most notably the cut scenes, but not quite so much in the actual game, where it can be a little muffled and feel like it doesn't belong.
The most fun element of the Avengers game is that there are open world areas to explore, allowing you to grab your newly unlocked characters, of which there are loads, and have whatever fun you want within that section. It's nice to have that sandbox element and it is the closest that any other consoles have come to the Wii U's overlooked LEGO Undercover game.
The only downside is that the main formula is starting to show it's age a little. You still need to grab the bricks and the hidden bonuses, as well as the Stan Lee cameo figures, you need to also reach the "true avenger" total by collecting all the said bricks, but it really does feel a little tired now, which is a real shame because the quality of what you're playing is there for all to see. It almost feels like it is a junior version of the "Call of Duty Syndrome" that plagues series' longevity when they have been on the go for a long while and need an injection of something new. It just feels like there isn't enough new things on the table to make this stand out any more.
Having said that, you cannot fault the game in terms of build quality and how it plays. Not to mention the fact that you are the Avengers, which is a big enough draw in itself. The chance to use Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and everyone else in the roster is great fun, but I also feel like they may have missed a trick by not holding on to include the upcoming Civil War movie as well, although that will no doubt mean yet another game, with even more cash changing hands.
You know, in a way I actually feel sorry for Travellers Tales. They are the perfect embodiment of a good gaming company who can make great product, but are tied up by the big company that signed them up to continue making the "safe" option. They almost look like they're not allowed to try something different because the cash cow grows fat on small bits of coloured plastic. I wish they could be allowed to show off their creative talents and let the LEGO series go down some different routes. I just fear that one day even the cut scene gags will grow old and be a case of been there, done that and even they won't raise a smile.
What you have is a solid, highly playable game with characters you love, all with their original voices and the ability to kick ass, but restricted to hitting things to mop up blocks and get points and nothing more. The open world is a nice, but is it too little too late? That remains to be seen. It isn't that the game is bad because it really isn't, but it is just treading the same old ground that we have seen since the mid 2000's.
It is the equivalent of driving on a country road in the pissing rain. You know there is something of beauty contained within what you are doing, but all you can see in front of you is that same dreary stuff you are trying to get away from. It's a decent game, but not even the Avengers can save this from the inevitable fate that is an average rating. It's such a shame.
Thanks to the Xbox Community for allowing us to review this game.