ps4“A fun adventure if the optional elements are ignored…”
In an age of humanity dominated by digital media, you might be forgiven for thinking that the small, plastic brick-based toys known as Lego are a thing of the past. And yet, the brand has persisted, appearing now as strong as it ever has. This is, at least in part, because here the digital revolution has been embraced. The Lego video games are perhaps the most powerful evidence of this.
The Incredibles is another brand which has stayed strong now for over a decade. Who would have thought that a single Pixar movie would see such incredible support that so far down the line it could make an epic return. To coincide with the (mostly) global release of The Incredibles 2, TT Games have bestowed unto fans the latest in their impressive roster of titles; Lego The Incredibles.
Lego The Incredibles revisits both the first and second movies of the franchise in a fresh, comedic and blocky new way, as well as adding a fully interactive and thematic game world for players to explore. The game dives straight into the action, leading off the back of the first film and into the second, with a level packed to the brim with action and excitement. It is by far the most explosive entrance in a Lego game to date. This first level sets the scene, pace, and nature of play for the game ahead. Playing as Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash and, of course, Frozone, you must combine their respective superpowers to overcome now-classic Lego game puzzles. These have been updated for Lego The Incredibles, with a much clearer focus being placed on teamwork. You are often required to use more than one of the super-powered cast at your disposal in order to progress, making multiplayer perhaps the best way to play the latest of this franchise’s titles.
The opening gambit certainly sells the experience on offer with gusto and pizzazz, and the gameplay will feel graciously familiar to Lego game fans. New players, as ever, are very efficiently catered for though tutorial prompts and fine-tuned level design. Following on from the first mission, however, there is a brief lull in momentum as the game introduces its open world features. I found this to be perhaps the least compelling element, with short and largely meaningless side missions meriting the same rewards that were previously more easily accessible in Lego franchise titles. Where you could once simply save and spend your studs for known rewards, you must now purchase or acquire mini-figure packs (with in-game currency) instead. Furthermore, the vehicular elements of gameplay in open play are also questionable at best, with little effort appearing to have gone into a smooth experience in this area. One positive element that does quickly come to light, however, is the inclusion of additional Pixar characters in the game, on top of the title movie’s roster. Disney Pixar fans will no doubt be thrilled the first time they play as their favourite protagonists from across the hefty character line-up, and this fun feature adds some variety to the proceedings.
Thankfully, once the open world tutorial is concluded, players can return to the chapter-based mission which has seen the franchise’s model become successful over the years. Key scenes from The Incredibles movies are placed into the player’s hands, with twists and turns to keep the experience fresh. The gameplay offers everything you might expect from a Lego title; challenge, puzzles, a wide range of foes with varying strengths and abilities, and most of all a consistently replayable style. With elements of these levels only accessible to certain characters in free play, you are actively encouraged to keep on returning to find all of the game’s secrets. The only problem is the growing scale of this endeavour. When Lego Star Wars came out, the goals and collectibles were very clear and refined. As these games have gotten bigger, however, the effort the player must put in to achieve full completion has scaled up also, and Lego The Incredibles is no exception. It is hard to believe that any player will truly dedicate the time and effort to do this, especially within the age range of the target audience.
Without giving too much information about the story elements away, Lego The Incredibles nails the story beats, level design and player experience elements that fans will be hoping for. It has, however, become a little too big for its boots. With the young target audience in mind, some features of play and the sheer scale at which the game is played, the game tries too much in some areas and too little in others. Small gimmicks such as the introduction of wider Pixar characters are fun, but sadly not quite enough to bring the wider experience back on par. A fun adventure if the optional elements are ignored, Lego The Incredibles doesn’t fail as a game, but it doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot of its full potential either.