Now watch it another 20-30 times, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what I've been doing for the past week. Jumping, flying, diving, running — romping might be a good term. I've been on a romp through LEGO New York City, playing side missions, unlocking new playable characters, and scouring the entire town for secrets.

Advertisement

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is, above all else, a toy box filled with almost every Marvel action figure that matters, and several that don't.

Advertisement

I'm still not sure where Howard the Duck falls in that spectrum...

Advertisement

...but it's nice to have the option to roam the streets as Marvel's anthropomorphic waterfowl. Because that's where the fun of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes lies. Exploring the strange and wonderful history of Marvel Comics through this unique playground. It's the ideal setting for parents to introduce children to the heroes and villains that decorated their younger days. It's something to share.

That's not saying the story isn't excellent. It's got some great dialogue.

And we get to visit iconic Marvel universe locations, from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, which serves as our base of operations, to the halls of Asgard to Tony Stark's tricked-out tower. Players are guided from place to place, chasing down the powerful Cosmic Bricks that hold the key to defeating the ginormous villain we all saw coming.

Each is magnificently rendered in brick form, filled with moving parts and clever little Easter Eggs for fans of the comics.

Advertisement

Ultimate, however, the story is a series of colorful corridors keeping me from the real meat of the game. Oh I'll play the missions over and over again until I've unlocked every character, vehicle and secret the game has to offer, but I'd much rather be at the X-Mansion taking down a Sentinel, or jacking cars and going on joy rides, Grand Theft Auto-style.

Advertisement

That's really what I wanted all along. The freedom of a Grand Theft Auto with the characters of Marvel Comics. That's what LEGO Marvel Super Heroes delivers. It's about damn time.