Fourteen years ago Pixar released perhaps the best superhero movie known to man; ending with a cliffhanger a generation has waited with baited breath to find out how the story concludes. More than a decade later Pixar delivers and the Incredibles 2 gets the LEGO treatment. But how does it stack up? Let’s find out.
LEGO The Incredibles picks up where the first film left off; at the beginning of the second motion picture. Unlike previous LEGO titles I’ve played, LEGO The Incredibles doesn’t give you the choice of which movie to start with but puts you right in the middle of the action. The opening scene plays out more of a tutorial and loosely follows the Underminer’s rampage through the centre of town.
The Underminer is causing carnage and it’s up to the Parr family to use their unique gifts to stop him. The game follows the storylines of both films but for some reason or another TT Games has decided to begin with the second entry in the series. Needless to say, playing the game will be spoiler heavy. If you’re invested in the series I would highly recommend watching The Incredibles 2 before picking up the LEGO rendition.
While in the movie Elastigirl dealt with most of the disasters alone, TT Games has altered the narrative slightly to allow players to take control of a secondary character; like all LEGO games, The Incredibles also employs a drop-in and drop-out local co-op. During the course of the game, there is always another character present so it makes sense that not every aspect could be replicated perfectly. Most of the scenes mirror the film fairly well but you’ll see a lot of creative license has been taken to make the addition of two characters fit in.
In true LEGO fashion, there are over 100 characters to unlock and collect, 113 to be exact. During game missions, you’ll need to take control of the characters the game dictates but in free mode, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. It’s here that shows exactly how small the cast of The Incredibles is as the team at TT Games has bolstered the unlockables with other Pixar movie stars: Dory, Flick, Sully and Lightning McQueen to name a few. Each has their own ability or power as well as a super move that can be used to take down a number of goons in one go.
My particular favourite was Violet. Using her force field power, she adopts a pose not unlike that of Jean Grey’s Dark Phoenix; hovering in a slight curled up the ball before letting her power rip through the enemies. It’s impressive and pretty powerful. In addition to this Mr Incredible unleashes a devastating ground pound, while Elastigirl uses her flexible limbs to knock out her enemies. Dash, being a speedster, uses his speed to take down surrounding foes much like Quicksilver or The Flash.
Gameplay wise not too much has changed. The LEGO series has a tried and tested formula that it tends not to stray too far from. Platforming, puzzle solving and melee combat are all present as well as the unavoidable need to collect every LEGO stud you come across. But despite this LEGO The Incredibles still manages to remain fun and engaging. Personally, I owe this to the free play moments. Easily accessible and playable in-between core story missions players are able to solve crimes, explore and discover to their heart’s content. Hidden away in both the main levels and open world portions of the game are a number of secrets to be discovered.
I’ve always found the scenery in LEGO games to be a bit hit and miss. While a majority of the world is made up of LEGO items and blocks, some things such as the dirt are rendered in realistic textures. The two tend to clash and it’s here that I always feel a little letdown. While I’m not a fan of the full LEGO treatment, like in LEGO Worlds, I would like to see a more cartoony approach to the game’s backdrops.
One of the core gameplay mechanics of any LEGO game is destroying and building. While previous entries improved on this by introducing the multibuilding idea allowing players to build a structure dependent on the mission, LEGO The Incredibles adds the Family Build mechanic. By collecting enough of the special blocks located around a level or an area the Parr family can team up on special building platforms emblazoned with the Incredibles icon to build bigger and more complex structures. This is done by continually tapping X on each member of the family until the build meter is full, keeping an eye on the others to ensure theirs do not begin to empty. It’s a pretty fun addition and has been used well throughout the game. Not only has TT Games incorporated this new mechanic into the core missions but it can also be used in free play to unlock new areas and characters.
Regrettably, however, one of my major gripes with LEGO The Incredibles is the control scheme. For a modern-day title, the on-foot missions are too unresponsive making it tricky to control the characters in any precise way whilst vehicles have the opposite issue. I’ve lost count of the number of times I tried to get Elastigirl through a doorway only to have her walk unceremoniously into a wall over and over again. This issue seems to crop up again and again in mainstream LEGO titles and I’ve lost any hope of it being resolved.
Another issue I’ve always found to plague the LEGO franchise is the inconsistency in the audio. During some of the louder segments, it’s hard to make out what the characters are saying while during other moments the sound cuts out completely. It’s worth noting as well that while with a few characters the original voice has been used (Huck Milner as Dash for example) it’s clear that a number of stand-ins have been employed to bring a fair few members of the cast alive in LEGO form.
But despite its failures LEGO The Incredibles can be and is a fun game. And really that’s all that matters. With drop-in co-op and the free play modes, it offers enough to keep you entertained. During the main quests, I found my self-collecting every stud while during free play I found myself hunting down criminals and completing side missions just to unlock more and more characters. Audio issues aside, you get to play as The Incredibles; even if it is in LEGO format. Surely that’s worth the fourteen-year wait?