Lego City Undercover is one fun game. The Lego games have always been fun, but I feel as if they played them safe. Each Lego game since Lego Star Wars has been based off of an existing franchise. These include: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Rock Band and Lord of the Rings. The thing that Traveller’s Tales did that was very risky was make a Lego game that isn’t based off a franchise.
This game is an original game made in a unique world. You play as Chase McCain, a cop who comes back after being away from Lego City for a while. He sets off to find Rex Fury, a criminal that he locked up who has escaped. This is the story at its simplest, but what Lego City Undercover does that is so great is that it’s such an engaging game. From start to finish, I had a smile on my face.
Grand Theft Auto: Lego City
While you’ve always been able to do some exploring in the later Lego games, you can venture ANYWHERE in Lego City. This is a true sandbox game. As Chase McCain, players can run through the city, steal cars, run up walls like in Prince of Persia, chase criminals in foot chases like in L.A. Noire and a whole lot more. While driving, I just kept thinking of Grand Theft Auto.
The only exception is that cops will not chase you down for the Lego carnage that you create. The only time you’re pursued is when the storyline calls for it, but other than that, no one will stop you. It’s hilarious to purposely drive on the side-walk just to see Lego citizens jump out-of-the-way from my car. Smashing into traffic lights, newsstands and other cars is amazing because bricks start flying left and right. It’s so funny!
The road to the next mission follows the same structure as Grand Theft Auto as well. You’ll find the mission start marker on the map and you can set a waypoint to it. If you don’t want to go straight to the mission, you can explore the gigantic Lego City. This is easily the biggest Lego game to date and it’s just so fun to cruise around the city. You can drive cars, fly planes, steer boats and ride animals.
If you’re on one side of the map and you don’t feel like driving around, then you can take the train to a station for fast travel. Lego City Undercover is a kids game and a pretty fun game at that. I’m glad that Traveller’s Tales made a game for kids that has all the elements of a mature game that they wouldn’t be able to get their hands on.
The Wii-U Experience
Lego City Undercover is an exclusive game for the Wii-U. In fact, this is the first Lego game to be published by Nintendo. This game takes advantage of the Wii-U Gamepad. By pressing the A button around specific areas, you can move the Gamepad around and look for conversations that are going on and eavesdrop. The Gamepad is also used as a data scanner where you can look for bricks that will be used for Super Builds.
You can take pictures with your Gamepad and save them. In addition to that, you can post your pictures to the Miiverse right after taking them which is a cool feature. By looking at the Gamepad, you can look at the game map and area objectives as well. When you get incoming calls from the police force or whoever you’re undercover for, they will pop up on your Gamepad so you can continue travelling while they talk to you. All in all, the game makes great use of the Gamepad’s features!
Lego City Undercover has a great cast. Enjoyable games have characters that are fun and engaging and because of this, Lego City Undercover really delivers. Lego City Undercover uses so many cliché characters that we’ve all seen before, but that doesn’t take away from its charm. Chase McCain almost feels like Jason Bourne and John McClane. Rex Fury, the villain that Chase is tracking down from the first mission is the typical dumb brute.
You have the dim-witted friend, the trusty co-worker at the station, the boss who can’t stand you, the shady businessmen and of course, the love interest that you’re always trying to save. While playing, all I could think to myself was that I’ve seen this done so many times before, but that didn’t bother me. The cast was funny and always great!
Pop Culture Filled Story For The WHOLE Family
One thing that Lego City Undercover does right comes in the form of the story. Sure, it’s not the greatest story, but there’s A LOT to love about it. Many children will be playing this game, but their families may be watching or taking turns playing with them as well. Lego City Undercover may include the most pop culture references that I’ve seen in a story in recent memory.
Starting off with references to movies like Titanic as well as paying homage to characters like Starsky, Hutch, Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Dirty Harry… Lego City continues with levels based off of The Shawshank Redemption and also levels with elements referencing Alien! What other game has a level with an Arnold Schwarzenegger type character just using his most famous quotes and movie titles as dialogue? This game had me dying of laughter all throughout.
Like I said earlier, this game has Chase McCain hunting down a recently escaped Rex Fury. They have a long history together and after an absence on the force, McCain is back to get Rex. It’s a cliché story with the typical “let me go undercover and infiltrate the enemy storyline”, but it works. It all comes back to the references and the comedy. I love how many of the pop culture references are for R rated movies.
Kids won’t know most of the movies that are being referenced, but they’re used in such a kid friendly way that they’ll love it as well as older gamers who know that source material. When the game isn’t using pop culture as a source of humor, Lego City Undercover uses funny one liners as well as some genuinely funny set pieces that I won’t ruin here. If you start playing the game, be prepared to laugh… A LOT!!!
Not So Perfect Gameplay
Lego City Undercover has great gameplay elements and some gameplay elements that frustrated me to no end. I’ll start off with the good. First off, the open world played like Grand Theft Auto. You hop into a car and drive around the city. You can tap the Gamepad and set waypoints or drive wherever you want. Each disguise that Chase can get enables him to do different things.
As Chase, you can use a grappling hook to pull yourself up and take items down from high places. As a robber, you can use crowbars to pry open doors and you can crack safes as well as use a color gun to open locked doors. As a miner, you can crush rocks and use dynamite to destroy silver/metallic items.
As an astronaut, you can teleport on specific platforms, you can play Simon with a machine that will transport items to you and you’ll use a jetpack. As a farmer, you can water plants to reach higher places as well as use a chicken to glide from mid-air. As a fireman, you’ll put out fires and use an axe to break down doors and finally as a construction worker, you’ll disable electrical panels and use the jack hammer to dig into the ground.
This is a cool feature because it brings diversity to the game. The mission structure feels like every other Lego game though. You go through the levels doing whatever the mission says. There are hidden characters and cars to unlock in every mission. There are hidden missions in each mission that will unlock part of a police shield that if you complete will unlock a gold brick. Most of the missions can’t even be fully completed on the first try. Once you beat a mission, free play will be unlocked and you should go back when you get more disguises. Then you can complete the mission 100%.
The downside to the gameplay is that some of the platforming is very annoying. There are some very easy jumps that the game sometime doesn’t make easy. My character at one time fell off of a platform that I was clearly on during open world play and I had to start all over from a few buildings down and it was a hassle. This happened on multiple occasions.
Other times, I was stuck in between a wall and I couldn’t move. I tried and tried again to get out with no success so I had to restart the mission. Sometimes during driving missions, my car flipped over after I bumped into a wall lightly and I failed the mission. It’s frustrating because there was no way that I should’ve flipped over. There aren’t that many negatives in terms of gameplay, but the things that are negative really take me away from the game.
A HUGE Game
Lego City Undercover is enormous. I travelled around Lego City a lot, but there were plenty of side missions that I didn’t complete due to the lack of disguises. I ended the game with about 64 Gold Bricks out of 450. Between that and the few characters, cars, red bricks, shields and Lego City Hero awards that I unlocked, I completed the game in 15 hours. These 15 hours only netted me about 20% completion. I finished the story, but the post game activities will be where most of the gameplay will take place.
Lego City is GIGANTIC and it’ll be a blast hunting down every side mission and earning the 100% complete rating. You can easily put in 35-40 hours trying to do this task. Each disguise has two side missions per area of Lego City. There are also hidden vehicles to race, free runs to perform and tons more. While the story is fun, the freedom to explore Lego City is the best feature of this game. There are a ton of vehicles and characters to unlock that can be purchased with studs at the police station. This will change your Lego City Undercover experience depending on the vehicle you use. Whether it be by land, air or sea, Lego City Undercover is a blast to explore.