Peter's beat-'em-up portions are markedly worse. Though you can earn new combo moves for Peter over time, like head-butts and leg sweeps, there's just about no depth to the combat beyond the fact that some enemies are impervious to certain attacks for some odd reason. Soccer moms, for instance, are immune to kicks, whereas kids are immune to punches. Sure, why not? Periodically Peter can pick up objects in the environment to throw at enemies, but largely he's just running around, attacking wildly at periodically unmanageable numbers of enemies. For some reason, the game tosses enemies in bulk at you while keeping health power-ups relatively scarce. Though many of these enemies can be dispatched relatively quickly, some of them require combo moves that take a few button presses to pull off, and basically force you to get hit at least once or twice before you finally kill them. Between the button-mashy combat and weirdly off-kilter difficulty, these sections are not fun at all.
But they're not even the worst of it. That dubious honor goes to Brian's stealth missions. Imagine, if you will, the most base-level stealth scenarios imaginable. A few hiding spots, a few enemies wandering around in specific patterns that you have to avoid, periodic arbitrary objectives that require you to run to one spot or another before you can finally head for the exit, and a whole mess of trial and error. Brian is forced to sneak around a a number of places, but the functionality is always the same: Don't get spotted, or you start the section over again. And you will start it over again, many, many times. It's not that there's anything necessarily broken here, it's just that figuring out the patterns of enemy movement takes at least a few tries, and even after you figure it out, sometimes enemies that seem out of range will inexplicably see you. Other times you'll bump right up against an enemy for a second or two, and they won't spot you. Actually, maybe these missions are a bit broken.
You'd think these three gameplay types would be enough, but no, the developers threw in a fourth one: minigames. You know how on the TV show, the story will frequently cut away to a brief, only marginally related scene involving some bit of ludicrous dialogue? Well, High Voltage found a way to fit these into the gameplay. That's right, non sequiturs are now a gameplay mechanic. These little minigames work the same way. Someone will make some reference to something weird, and suddenly the game will cut away to a totally new screen. You'll be given a quick countdown timer and be forced to figure out on the fly what you're supposed to do. Of course, these actions are rarely very complex, usually just involving some timed button presses or quick target shooting, but a little more initial explanation of the game before you're launched into it might have been good.
Ever wanted to help Brian the dog get through some awful stealth missions? No, of course you haven't.
Beyond the excellent voice acting, the overall presentation of Family Guy is quite strong. The graphical look of the game is very much in tune with the show's animation styles. Characters are brightly drawn and cel-shaded, and though they don't animate as fluidly as they do on TV, the game itself looks just like a cartoon. Unfortunately, there are a few visual flaws. The camera has a bad habit of hiding enemies when playing the Peter and Stewie sections, a problem made worse when playing as Stewie as you try to use the target lock button, and find yourself aiming offscreen at no immediately discernable enemies. The frame rate also tends to chunk up a bit, especially on the PSP version of the game after a level has just finished loading up. It drops into single-digit territory there. However, beyond that issue, and that of some significantly lengthier loading times, the PSP version looks and plays just like the console versions.
By all accounts, a video game that wants to take a comedic slant should be fun to play first, and funny second. Family Guy gets that backwards and suffers because of it. Sure, there are comedic-minded games that have skated by with mediocre gameplay and a bevy of laughs, but those games have tended to be far more original and clever than what Family Guy offers up on the comedy front. And while Family Guy fans will certainly dig the story on some level, the gameplay is such a weird mish-mash of overly simplistic and rage-inducing frustration that the laughs are quickly forgotten.