Chase McCain has already hit the big time in LEGO City, which was highlighted by his adventures on the Wii U, however, wouldn't it be nice to take a step back to a time where he wasn't so well known, a time when his main task was ensuring the precinct was stocked up with doughnuts? Well, say hello to LEGO City: The Chase Begins, a smaller scale 3DS title with big ambitions.
The Chase Begins is exactly what it says, an introduction to the hero of LEGO City; the tale of how Chase saves the City and shows Rex Fury why he's a cop who is not to be messed with. All of that is in the distant future though, for there are smaller, more mundane tasks for Chase to carry out before he gets his teeth into fighting against the big boys. As a rookie you have to prove yourself and the gentle introduction to the main story has you do exactly that.
One of the first tasks Chase carries out is to find a missing doughnut truck and help its driver, who just so happens to have got himself stuck in a bin. Having saved the day and the cops favorite sugary snack, it's then time to scour the rest of this area, solving petty crimes and getting used to the various ways to play the game. At first it feels like you are confined to a pretty small area of LEGO city, especially when you are involved in a car chase and it feels like you are driving around in circles rather than seeing all there is to see, however as you progress further into the game, the map opens up, giving you access to all areas of LEGO City. The only drawback versus the Wii U version in this respect, is that there are load times between each area, therefore you won't find yourself involved in large scale cars chases from one area into the next.
Many of the features which appeared in the Wii U version are present in LEGO City: The Chase Begins, for instance you'll still be able to create Super Builds by collecting smashed pieces of LEGO. This allows you to build areas crucial to the story - such as helipads, but also allows you to create other useful things, such as vehicle pick-up points. Another crucial element is the fact that as you progress you'll gain access to different costumes. Many of these were also seen on the Wii U, such as the burglars outfit, which allows you to essentially 'break in' to different areas. There are also other uniforms, such as an undercover outfit, builder and fireman's outfit and even a farmer's outfit, the latter of which allows you to chicken glide (hold onto a chicken in mid-air while steering in the direction you want to go using the gyroscope).
As you would expect, there is plenty of combat involved, although generally this sees you pressing the same few buttons until the enemy is felled before you slap the cuffs on them. On the odd occasion things are mixed up as you come up against a boss character, at which point you'll have to solve a simple puzzle in order to bring them down to your level so that you can make an arrest.
It has to be said that the missions themselves are quite varied. The game does have its fair share of collect quests, however you'll also find yourself involves in car chases and rescue missions which are fun enough to keep you playing. All of this is accompanied by a huge amount of classic LEGO features such as finding hidden bricks, collecting LEGO pieces and lots of hidden costumes. There are even little cameras hidden around, allowing you to collect postcards which you can then view back at the police station.
So far so good, however LEGO City: The Chase Begins does have it's problems, with NPC's disappearing in front of your eyes, an inconsistent frame rate and poor quality cutscenes. But none of this is anywhere near as disappointing as the lack of atmosphere and the criminal exclusion of any form of humor. There is just something missing about LEGO City: The Chase Begins when stood up against its Wii U counterpart. Driving through the streets feels lacking without the music or character interaction accompanying you. Also, when you are speaking to witnesses and other key characters in order to further the plot, there is a lack of voice overs, instead you are met with subtitles and although these try to be funny, without the accompanying voice overs the humor just falls flat. It's such a shame because with these parts included The Chase Begins could have been fantastic, however it seems the 3DS maybe just doesn't have the grunt behind it to handle these crucial features.
There is so much to like about The Chase Begins, it offers a huge area to explore, allows you to travel in many different ways due to the sheer amount of vehicles on offer and it also packs in plenty of variety in its missions. It's just disappointing that all of these great features are accompanied by such a large, gaping hole that is the missing atmosphere, otherwise the 3DS may have had yet another classic title to add to its already impressive collection.
(Version Tested: 3DS)
- A huge area to explore
- Varied missions
- Lots of collectables
- Frame rate issues and graphical glitches
- Lacks atmosphere and humour