Lego Marvel's Avengers begins the same way Avengers: Age of Ultron does — with a big battle outside a snow-covered base. You play through the major moments of that opening scene, all Lego-ified in a way that's charming and often funny, but also surprisingly close to the source material. It helps that most of the dialogue in these scenes is ripped directly from the movie itself, making it feel like you're just watching Age of Ultron again ... re-made with Lego. At times it's practically a shot-by-shot recreation.

Then you get through that first level and are ready to keep the Ultron train rolling when the game decides it's time for a flashback. Suddenly you're much earlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline playing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (most notably Nick Fury, Maria Hill and Phil Coulson) at the start of the original Avengers movie -- the one that brought all these heroes together in the first place.

"Cool," you think. "This game covers the events of both Avengers movies." Then you finish that level and the game decides that it's time for a flashback within a flashback and you're whisked away to World War II, during some of the later events of Captain America: The First Avenger.

Overall you'll play through story beats from the two Avengers films, both already-released Captain America films (The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier), Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3.

But isn't that just the Lego video game formula at this point?

Yeah, to be fair, this is nothing new. Even the trick of taking audio from the movies isn't original. It's been done in Lego Jurassic Park, Lego Lord of the Rings and other games. It's a fun trick, don't get me wrong, but it's one we've seen before.

There's some degree to which if you've played one Lego game, you've played them all. In each one you run around environments (with a second player at your side, if you choose) smashing objects and enemies, occasionally solving light puzzles by using different characters' unique abilities.

This is not the Lego game that will change your perception of all Lego games going forward. It's ... another one of those. A really good one, certainly, but formulaic all the same.

The thing that will carry you through Lego Marvel's Avengers most will be, well, your love for Marvel characters.

But wait, wasn't there already a Lego Marvel game that came out just a few years ago?

Yes, Lego Marvel Super Heroes came out for just about every video game system under the sun in 2013. Where the two games differ most, though, is that Marvel Super Heroes was based much more on the Marvel comics, telling an original story that brought together heroes from tons of Marvel properties like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.

Marvel's Avengers, on the other hand, is focused primarily on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know, the live-action movies and TV shows currently taking theaters and TVs by storm. To the casual observer that difference may seem inconsequential. After all, Captain America is just Captain America, right? But the plot points established in the Cinematic Universe are very specific, so the distinction is important to people who might only be a fan of one set of stories over another.

So does that mean this game is limited to just characters that are in the blockbuster movies?

For the story missions, mostly. But once you dive deep into the Free Play mode, which is more of an "anything goes" environment, you'll find a ton of faces familiar to comic fans.

Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel

We're talking Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), Jewel (Jessica Jones), the Jane Foster Thor and even some more "out there" heroes like Squirrel Girl. And the references don't stop there. There's a version of The Hulk that is specifically the Lou Ferrigno take on the character.

It's a love letter to the source material, which is something we've come to expect from the Lego video games.

So how much do the Lego versions of characters look like their movie counterparts?

Quite a bit. See for yourself:

Lego Marvel's Avengers is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.

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