LEGO: The Incredibles is the latest in the long and illustrious line of licensed LEGO games. Originally catching fire with it’s Star Wars line of games, the LEGO series has slowly grown from a simple jaunt through film inspired levels, with hammy voiceless LEGO figures vaguely acting out scenes, to massively open worlds with extra missions littering the streets and voice acted scenes from the movies it’s promoting. What’s interesting is the fact that I haven’t played a LEGO game since LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, so I’ve yet to experience what it’s now become. Until now.
While I won’t go into story details too much, due to the fact they’re spoilers for The Incredibles 2 (which isn’t out in the UK yet, so thanks for that), I will give you the basic set up. The game begins where the first film left off, with the attack of the Underminers. Obviously, everything after this is massive spoilers for the new film, as the first part of the game takes place during all the events in the new film. Once you’ve completed this, you unlock the ability to play through events from the first film.
What probably comes as no shock if you’ve read my other reviews, is that this is the first point of annoyance for me. Why frontload LEGO: The Incredibles with spoilers for the new film? This seems like such a massive oversight, especially seeing as the content from the first film is infinitely more fun to play through than most of the stuff from the sequel. Events in the first film are changed in LEGO: The Incredibles (much like most LEGO games) as there always needs to be two characters at all times, so when Mr. Incredible goes to Nomanisan Island for the first time, rather than him being on his own, Frozone is written into the story to join you, which creates unique dialogue between the two that isn’t present in the film.
What’s most interesting about the narrative changes is the way LEGO: The Incredibles chops and changes what it wants, to make it more interesting from a video game story. Take the early “We’re going bowling” scene. Rather than cruising straight to the incident from the film, Mr. Incredible and Frozone travel to multiple in-progress crimes, even saving a cat from a tree, before actually stumbling upon the scene from the films. It’s these little variations that make LEGO: The Incredibles narrative interesting, even for fans of the film.
Gameplay wise, if you’ve played any of the previous licensed LEGO games, then LEGO: The Incredibles is going to be more of the same. It’s your standard fare of mashing the attack button to clear out the peons that are thrown at you. Once you’ve smashed enough LEGO men and women to death you gain the ability to do a super attack, which is basically used as a room clear. Obviously, when you don’t have lots of little LEGO men to kill, you’ve got LEGO shit to be building. Some things you’ll build is merely there to gain more bolts, whereas other stuff will be used to progress forward. What might be unique to LEGO: The Incredibles is the team LEGO building. When you need to build something to beat a boss, or basically to end a level, you and your partners all build together. This is essentially another mash section where you have to mash with every character to fill a bar. The issue comes from the bar constantly dropping for you’re not mashing on a character, meaning you have to micromanage each character in order to finish the build
In the open world sections, there’s a whole heap of random stuff for you to indulge in. Feel like ending a crime wave, then LEGO: The Incredibles has you covered. Much like the random strangers, you can save in Red Dead Redemption, LEGO: The Incredibles also has NPCs being mugged for you to assist. There’s a multitude of vehicles to knob about with, ranging from helicopters, fire engines, cars, and motorbikes, there’s a vehicle for all your needs. The issue here comes from the fact that they handle awfully. Driving feels like a massive oversight and feels almost unnecessary when you have characters that move so quickly they can literally run on water. I can understand the need for vehicles when you have characters without any superpowers, but when you have such a massive cast where the majority have interesting movement options, why even bother with vehicles?
As is the case with every LEGO game, there’s a metric fuck tonne of collectibles in LEGO: The Incredibles. From characters to play as in free play mode, to Red Bricks that add mutators to the game. If you’re one for a collectathon, then LEGO: The Incredibles will probably have you jumping for joy. For the casual player (or reviewer) you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the number of unlockables there is. Seeing as the last LEGO game I actually played was LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga where you amass most of the characters through playing the game, it was weird to have a pseudo loot box system for unlocking characters. Let me pay for the characters that I want (using bolts, not real money), rather than just opening a pack and praying that I get someone interesting.
Free-play mode is where most players will get the bulk of their enjoyment. Free-play in LEGO: The Incredibles is exactly the same as in every other LEGO game, where you get to play through the story missions, but with any combination of heroes you want. As there’s a huge amount of collectibles tied to having certain combinations of heroes with different powers, which means that on your initial playthrough you won’t be able to grab everything.
Multiplayer is also back in LEGO: The Incredibles. I only delved into this for a few hours while reviewing, mostly because for some reason it made me feel incredibly sick. You’re treated to the standard split-screen action. What’s interesting with this, is that whenever one of you completes an auxiliary objective, both sides of the screen get the pop-up. When you’re both smashing everything in sight, the screen real estate ends up being cluttered by the sheer magnitude of alerts informing you of what one of you has done. This obviously isn’t an issue in single player, as you have the whole screen to yourself and sort of feels like a slight oversight.
While it’s a minor point, I feel it needs mentioning. I was playing on a standard PlayStation 4 and the load times were horrendous when hoping between stages. Sometimes it’d load like a normal game, other times it was a longer wait than pre-patched Bloodborne. I can’t report on the load times on a Playstation 4 Pro, but I can only hope they’re quicker than this.
Overall LEGO: The Incredibles is a solid entry in the juggernaut that is the LEGO franchise. To me, everything seems a little more overcomplicated. From the open world to roam about in, to the full team builds, it all feels a little much and the massive load times only add to this. Not every game needs to feature random encounters or a plethora of hidden objectives. Most of my enjoyment from previous LEGO games came from the simplicity of it. I could play through them with a younger member of my family and there’d be no issue, but I feel the same couldn’t be said about LEGO: The Incredibles, and that’s a massive shame.