Take me down to the Lego City, where the Rex is free and the town is bricky...
Lego City Undercover had a big reputation following it even before it was launched. It had a lot of pressure to reignite the disappointing UK sales at least, with even Travellers Tales talking it up as a console seller, but is it actually any good?
Lego City Undercover puts you in the role of Chase McCain, an all-star police officer who is famous for putting away super villain Rex Fury in the prequel 3DS game, but Rex has escaped and you're summoned back to Lego City to track him down and put him back behind bars.
It's the first non-licensed game that's been released by Travellers Tales and it's certainly better for it. Whilst there may not be a list of well-known characters, Chase has over 250 disguises in his arsenal, with a core packet of them holding different abilities to use during the story.
The story is about as much as you'd expect for a LEGO game but it is still entertaining enough to hold your attention. Chase has to go undercover to earn various abilities and work his way up through the different gang groups that are present in Lego City to get information on Rex's whereabouts. Using all of his police abilities allows him to infiltrate the gangs and convince them to trust him. Most of the time this involves stealing a precious item, but it's okay because the city are covering the costs.
While Lego City is not licensed it still follows in a familiar format to the other Lego games that have been released but with a few notable differences. The main difference is definitely the huge city everything is based in. It has several different areas which are all based of off real life cities but honestly, the city is pretty daunting because it is absolutely huge.
I've got 100% on pretty much every single Lego game that's been released so far but this honestly is the biggest yet. If you played the open-world Lego Batman 2, you'll know that was pretty big but this game is probably at least twice the size of that game. It's pretty scary when you see quite how much there is to do, but for completionists it's ideal.
Some of the main other differences are the inclusion of free running, a kung Fu combat style and the Super Builds. Super Builds really are the coolest thing in this game. Not only are the animations super clean and aesthetically pleasing, it's just awesome to see what you can build. They vary from the basic call in points to this Super Satellite! There are 65 in the overworld in total and they are a blast to hunt down and find out what will be built!
Somehow I've got this far into the review without talking about the outstanding feature of this game the cutscenes. Honestly, this game is absolutely hilarious and maintains it throughout the entire game as opposed to just a couple of the cutscenes. The characters are full of charm and likability, and you they each have their own distinct personality.
Take Frank Honey for example, he's essentially your partner in preventing crime and is, well, less than smart. His character has some of the best moments in the game, from fanboying over Chase when he first meets him, to playing on the "compuper" and about how his horse doesn't like him because he tried to feed it an apple at the wrong end - say no more.
The lack of licence allows this game to be full of parodies and you're just waiting to see what they play on next. They range from Shawshank Redemption, an Arnold Schwarznegger clone who manages to fit his film titles into almost every sentence and in the police station you have highlights such as Shaky Harry, Sherlock homes and Dr Wotsit and of course, Studski and Clutch. While they may not play pretty much any role in the story, it is a nice touch, plus, they let you replay every cutscene in the briefing room of the station, which is awesome!
Lego City Undercover is exclusive to the Wii U, and it makes use of the Gamepad in a few interesting ways. It's primary use is housing a map of the entire city, which is extremely useful because I was pausing every few seconds in Lego Batman 2, and receiving video calls from your colleagues about mission updates and what you should do next.
It also has a scanner in the vein of ZombiU, which allows you to find vehicle robbers and stop troublemakers by listening into their conversations. By and large it doesn't require the gamepad to use these features, but it's nice to have them without interrupting gameplay. However, there is unfortunately not any off-tv play which is a shame.
It's not all good though as there are a couple of glaring problems. The one that's been talked about is the load times. Loading up the game initially and then entering missions or going into the police station are accompanied by loading times that can take longer than a minute. I agree it is irritating and probably not acceptable given the current hardware but, there are no load times in the open world which is the key point. I hate to keep comparing to Lego Batman 2 but there was load times in the overworld and even when you wanted to switch between characters. That was way more irritating than load times between levels.
Also the combat gets dry really quickly. Given that you work on the basis of defensive kung Fu, later on in the game you have to wait for an enemy to attack to counter them and you just end up standing around. It's a pretty gimmick once you first learn kung Fu but it wears off after a few levels and I just ended up avoiding combat if I could.
Overall, if you liked the Lego series before, this will undoubtedly increase your admiration for it as the game's content has been increased considerably and the humour the series is known for is alive and well and better than ever. The game may win over a couple of new fans too, but it never really strays far from the Lego formula, which may not necessarily a bad thing.
+ The game is hilarious
+ Around 50 hours content
+ A lot of fun for young and old.
+ Likeable Characters
- Load times
- No Co-operative play.