LEGO City Undercover is the game GTA and LEGO fans have been dreaming of for years. An open world adventure through the mean streets of LEGO City, bringing to life all your favorite childhood sets, while still retaining that sense of fun and adventure that the LEGO games have grown famous for. This could possibly be the greatest game in the series yet and that's saying something.
Given that the team at Travellers Tales didn't have a licensed story to follow this time around, an original plot had to be created. In this respect we are introduced to the main protagonist, Chase McCain, the cop that everyone else in the force wants to be. Chase had been absent from LEGO City for quite a while, however when his long time arch nemesis Rex Fury escapes from prison, the mayor calls on Chase to save the day in a way that only he knows how.
As you'd expect with any LEGO game, there is a sense of humour running throughout the story straight from the off, with each cutscene providing plenty of slapstick jokes and a whole load of parodies. It's great to see Traveller's Tales really let loose with the story and given that these are all new characters it really works well and helps you build a bond with them as you progress through the adventure.
Even though the game is open world, allowing you to explore any area that you wish, the missions within the game are placed in a more contained area. Generally you'll be asked to fight, pursue and arrest criminals, which can result in rooftop chases, large scale brawls or even the classic car chase along city streets. It's not all about apprehending thugs though as you'll also find plenty of puzzles to solve, many of which require you to smash up the surrounding environments in order to find missing parts and build blocks. It's very similar to previous games in this respect, but to be honest I wouldn't have it any other way.
As with previous games you'll still be able to take control of different characters in order to reach different areas, except here these characters actually come in the form of disguises for Chase. This means that if you want to break into a house you'll need to change into a thief, while the miner will be needed if you want to break through some stubborn coal. There are plenty of other costumes too, such as a farmer and even a firefighter, all of which bring their own unique abilities to the game.
There are so many collectables to find in most LEGO games, however LEGO City steps this up a notch further thanks to its large open world. This means you'll still be able to collect red and gold bricks, however there is one large difference which is a first for the game, SuperBuilds. In order to create a Superbuild Chase will need to find the special bricks which are hidden throughout the city, once he does this he is then able to find the Superbuild point, which is essentially an empty brick. From here Chase can build what is required. A lot of the time this consists of a call point in order to gain access to cars (which you can colour customise), however at other times these Superbuilds will be essential to the mission, seeing you building a bridge or even a dragon.
One of the most fun parts of LEGO City is exploring the city. It's huge and you'll certainly need to make use of the ample transport to get around it all. Most of your traveling will be done via car and there are plenty of choices. As you make your way around the city you'll see all manner of police cars, sports cars, petrol trucks and motorbikes, each of which you can obtain easily in the name of the law. You'll have great fun exploring LEGO City, just remember to do the missions now and again.
Given that LEGO City Undercover is a Wii U exclusive then you'd expect plenty of Gamepad exclusive features and in fact you'd be right. Traveller's Tales has really hit the nail on the head as far as Gamepad features go, more so than any other developer so far, including Nintendo. Using the Gamepad you are able to track your way to the next mission via the on-screen map, while you can also take phonecalls from the other characters within the game. Perhaps even more impressive is the ability to hold the Gamepad up to the screen and scan for both criminals and superbricks. I love the features of the Gamepad in LEGO City Undercover, they really make the game a much more immersive experience in my opinion.
As far as problems with the game go, I have to admit that I do have a few issues. The first of these is the loading times. In between missions these can be quite excessive. It's not a huge deal, however the game would be a lot better without them. The biggest flaw though, and by far the most criminal, is the lack of co-op. My kids love the LEGO games, however playing through LEGO City has seen one of them relegated to the sidelines, which is a great shame considering that these games are generally aimed at children. I'm not sure how co-op could have been incorporated into LEGO City, however I'm sure Traveller's Tales could have found a way, even if it was through splitscreen play.
LEGO City is a wonderful game, of that there is no doubt. It does have some nagging issues as I have mentioned above, however if you take the game for what it is then you'll have hours upon hours of fun. This is the greatest LEGO set you'll ever have played with, no matter what ages you are.
(Version Tested: Wii U)
- Plenty of humour
- Lots to explore
- Fantastic Gamepad features
- Long load times