I’ve played a few great games this year. From Dishonored to Far Cry 3 to Tomb Raider to GTA V, this has been a great year to be a gamer. But none of those games stacks up to my most recent purchase: Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
I’m not sure how, as I certainly didn’t encourage it, but my son has recently caught the Lego bug. I’ll write a separate post on that at some point, but let’s just say, the boy LOVES Legos. There’s roughly nine million Lego pieces littering our floor at any moment.
Warning: wear shoes if you come to our house.
A couple of years ago, I bought the Indiana Jones Lego game for Sean’s son on a deep discount. Sean told me that his son already had the game, so rather than return it (as my son wasn’t old enough for video games yet), I held onto it.
Recently, I decided to crack the game open and show it to my Lego-obsessed six year old.
And he LOVED IT!
The Indiana Jones games (the first and its sequel) are very well written (with some of the funniest lines I’ve seen in a kid’s game), and the animation is cute, so I enjoyed them … at first.
But there’s also a lot wrong with the games. And I do mean a lot.
The AI is among the worst I’ve ever seen in a game. I could write another whole post on that! The levels can also be very difficult for a child, meaning I had to help a lot. And … though I hate to admit this publicly … I had to actually turn to Youtube walkthrough videos more than once to figure out WHAT THE HELL TO DO on some of the levels!
Thankfully, my son hasn’t (yet) realized how shameful it is that Dad can’t figure out a Lego game.
We finished the first Indiana game in a matter of a week or so, and then went onto the second. And then I saw that there was a new Lego game with a ton of characters from the Marvel comics universe, Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
The reviews were positive, aside from some gripes about the stupid AI and some of the more complex puzzles or level design. But, on the whole, it seemed infinitely more fun than Indiana Freakin’ Jones! (Confession: I never got the whole Indiana Jones thing. The movies were good and all, but I was never a big fan. Certainly not enough to want to play games as him.)
But Marvel comics? Now we’re in my wheelhouse!
I lived on a diet of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Uncanny X-Men, The New Mutants, The Avengers, The Defenders, and a whole mess of other titles from the time I turned 7 through my teens.
I would’ve kept reading them if they hadn’t gotten so damned expensive, and had I not been banned from comics by my parents due to failing subjects at school. While I haven’t read Marvel comics in years, they’re very much a part of my DNA and I have many fond memories of the comics, and even pretending my Star Wars figures were actually super heroes (as there weren’t many cool super hero action figures when I was a kid).
Until now, my son’s only exposure to Marvel comics (or any super heroes, really) has been the occasional toy someone would give him as a gift. But he’s not old enough to be reading the adult versions of the comics which I so enjoyed as a child/teen. Nor do I want him watching the older kid cartoons yet.
So, I’ve been patiently waiting for the appropriate time to introduce him to these characters I loved so much. Or, in this case, child-friendly versions of those characters.
And he LOVES the game. More than I thought he would, actually. I was afraid he’d want to go back and finish Indiana Jones 2. But since starting the Marvel game this week, we haven’t looked back.
There’s something special about sharing something I loved so much with my son.
Not only is he getting a kick out of these outrageous and funny, awesome characters, but I love Lego’s take on familiar traits. Whether it’s Spider-Man being all angst-ridden, or Wolverine being, well, Wolverine, it’s awesome to see a game created with such affection for the source material.
There’s a TON of Marvel heroes and villains in the game, and there’s a LOT to do in the game. It’s not some cheap five hour game. This looks like it might go on for at least 20 hours or more.
One of the coolest things, though, is how each time a new hero or villain is introduced, my son is impressed when he sees me recognizing these characters.
“You know him, Daddy? Really?”
And as I tell him about the character, he looks at me like I’m the smartest guy he’s ever met! He’s probably the first person to be impressed by my knowledge of the Marvel Universe (as limited as it is since the 90s).
Even though the game is marred by crappy AI (heroes that just stand there when you’re not controlling them, or worse, walking into dangerous fire), it’s still a blast to play!
And it’s the first game I’ve truly played with my son.
While there’s been technically better games this year (like those mentioned above), Lego Marvel Super Heroes has given me something none of those other games could — a bonding experience with my son over something we both love.
So that’s why Lego Marvel Super Heroes gets my nod as the best game this year.
And if you thought video games were expensive, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!