Lego Marvel's Avengers sticks closely to the winning formula of other Lego action-adventure games, for better or for worse.
It combines puzzle-solving, simple combat and wisecracking humour into an accessible, family-friendly format that can be tackled either alone or in co-op mode.
But while developer TT Games has made a valiant effort to beef up the content in this title, the Lego action-adventure series is starting to stagnate.
Lego Marvel's Avengers is a spin-off of the 2013 game Lego Marvel Super Heroes and follows other Lego comic book titles such as the Batman series.
This time round, TT Games has included 200 playable Marvel characters as well as hundreds of new combo moves that can be pulled off by pairs of characters.
There is a ton of new terrain and spectacular set pieces to explore. Although the main story takes place in New York, players can also wander though iconic Marvel locations like Stark Tower and Asgard.
It is undeniably satisfying to pummel objects and enemies and turn them into tiny pieces of Lego. And it is always fun to see what sort of wacky gadgets come out of throwing Lego bricks together.
But as Lego Marvel's Avengers trots out a steady parade of characters and locations - with dialogue lifted directly from the movies - it also feels like a bit of a rehash.
The game also suffers from the same problems as its predecessors, with frustrating puzzles and clunky controls.
A lot of the time, the game was not very good at directing me or letting me know what it wanted me to do.
Many of the puzzles were simple - for example, using Iron Man's beams to trace out parts on a control panel. But because there were no instructions or a hint in that direction, I ended up being baffled. I found myself getting stuck so often that I turned to written walk-throughs on third-party websites for help. And even then, the flashes of clarity I got were not "aha" moments but rather, "How was I supposed to have known that?"
The tutorial is minimal, and players are thrown straight into combat without learning how to properly utilise helpful tools like Black Widow's scanner or Hawkeye's grappling arrow.
The controls are not the most flexible - I found myself getting stuck in corners behind debris and had to restart the scene in order to free myself.
While fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy Lego Marvel's Avengers, it feels like an uninspired effort at tapping on the franchise.
PRICE: $79.90 (PlayStation 4, version tested; and Xbox One), $42.90 (PC)
This article was first published on March 16, 2016.
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