It’s hard to believe that it was around 4 years ago that Warner Bros and TT Games released LEGO City Undercover on the Wii U. At the time it was seen as a bit of a risk, a LEGO game not based on a famous franchise but, instead, using the LEGO City toy line and Chase McCain animated features as a background.
When it first launched on Wii U, LEGO City Undercover was a breath of fresh air and a surprisingly good LEGO game. At the time of release it was one of the Wii U’s best exclusives, too, and there were many who begged Warner Bros to release it on other consoles. The only thing it lacked was co-op, mainly because it relied on the Gamepad for maps and navigation.
But here we are in 2017, not 2013, and the game finally gets a release on other formats, including Wii U’s successor, the Nintendo Switch. Is it outdated or does it feel as fresh as it did back in the day? Well, it certainly hasn’t changed much, bar a bump up to the 1080p resolution it deserved. Oh, and that little point about co-op? Well now it’s included, too.
The game itself is still tremendous fun to play. There’s an ongoing storyline which requires Chase to don different disguises in his bid to infiltrate crime gangs and bring down his nemesis, Rex Fury, hence the ‘Undercover’ part of the title. It also means you get new tools and powers with each different uniform/disguise and, thankfully, you can wear them whenever you want. Despite not being based on a movie franchise, throughout the story there are plenty of references to films, games and media. Adults will recognise The Matrix, Shawshank Redemption and even an Arnie stand-in at various points. There are also plenty of other jokes to groan at, too.
Outside of the story, you’re free to play around in the sandbox world whenever you want. It’s a sort of LEGO take on GTA, with vehicles and objects exploding into small LEGO bricks when hit and loads of cars, coptors, bikes and other forms of transport to unlock or just pilfer. You can climb on top of buildings, into peoples’ back yards or just go around causing trouble if you want to, the world is your LEGO brick.
At any point in the game you can also collect studs and bricks which can be used to unlock even more content. It’s easy enough to do without even thinking about but also gives those looking for a longer game beyond the story something to do.
The only thing holding the whole package back is the loading times, something I also had an issue with on Wii U. Here they’ve been shortened, but some of the story missions still take ages to load, far longer than they should. This seems to be the case across both the Xbox One and Switch versions that I’ve played.
Despite the loading issue, LEGO City Undercover remains a solid and fun open world lego game with a great story and funny in-jokes that work for both older and younger gamers. It’s great to see it finally getting the distribution it deserves