I’m starting to understand Lego games now. I don’t mean understanding how they work, but they can be tricky beats to review on the grounds that they all follow the same kind of premise. Break stuff up, complete levels, do some open world stuff in between, then later on when you’ve got more characters go back and play them again to pick up the collectables. They’re all the same. Except they’re not, and The Incredibles is a perfect example of why some are better than others, and what makes one game stand out over another.
In my eyes now, it mostly comes down to how much care and attention has gone into the storyline of the game. In early Lego games the characters didn’t speak, so it was all about visual humour, and while that is still evident in modern titles it’s been part-lost thanks to the voice acting that graces most of the Lego titles now. As such the quality of the story is paramount to the quality of the game, and it’s in this area that The Incredibles doesn’t feel as great as it might have done. That’s no huge shock after reading the concerns that some folks at Pixar had about rushing the film out to hit a deadline, but considering this game was meant to tie in both the first and second film it does it in such a way that things never really take off.
Part of the reason for this is how the game starts with the 2nd film, then moves onto the 1st. Yeah, I know. Two problems with that: firstly, if you’re not familiar with the first film you won’t have much idea who these characters are. But the main one is the potential spoilers from seeing how the 2nd film pans out before you’ve had a chance to watch it. That’s never ideal. It’s not quite “let’s not bother putting the final part of the Hobbit story in” in terms of annoyance, but it’s still a messy way round to do things. But it’s also not been done amazingly well; it jumps around a bit to give you a chance to use all of the characters, and feels a bit disjointed at times.
Another problem I found was that everything seems quite zoomed in – characters felt big on the screen much of the time, and having played the likes of the Marvel games and the aforementioned and unfinished Hobbit game it took quite a bit of getting used to not having much room on screen. It shows the nice level of detail and accuracy in terms of matching the film’s visual style, and isn’t such a problem all of the time, but it can be quite awkward to get used to.
Beyond these issues though lies the heart of a decent Lego game with the usual Lego mechanics pumping through it. There are loads of things to find, missions to complete and characters to unlock, and you’ll even find various other Pixar characters waiting for you around the town too. There’s Sully from Monsters Inc, Spot from The Good Dinosaur and, much to the delight of my son, Lightning McQueen from Cars. They’re a nice touch which works well to eliminate the issue of a light character count in the films, letting anyone who enjoyed Pixar films to find someone they want to use when nipping around town and freeplaying levels.
Essentially, if you’re a family with someone who loves The Incredibles, then none of the issues will be a problem to you. This is still a huge, fun Lego game that will keep you occupied for an insane number of hours while you run around as some of your favourite Disney characters and act out scenes from the Incredibles films. It might not have the production values of other titles, and might not have the storyline that it might’ve had on a better day, but for fans of either the Lego games or the Incredibles, this should be snapped up.
Reviewed on PS4