LEGO City Undercover – Review
Follow Genre: 3D open world adventure
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, Nintendo (Wii U)
Platform: Wii U, Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4 Pro

LEGO City Undercover – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: large open world, strong cast of characters, lighthearted tone, co-op gameplay
Bad: loading times still quite sluggish, iconic gameplay still feels great but could use an upgrade
User Score
9.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Who can still remember those days when you were a kid and had a carefree life? Where you could play with your collection of LEGO bricks all day long and just create things spawning from your bottomless imagination? Where you were the architect of your own fantastic adventures and could decide the outcome of every battle between good and evil?  Believe me, those were the days… Traveller’s Tales is one of those gamestudios who’ve taken up the responsibility to bring back those memorable days, proving that you’re never too old to enjoy LEGO. They’ve brought lots of franchises to the LEGO universe and from time to time bring out an original game like LEGO City Undercover. LEGO City Undercover has been created from scratch without pulling in well-known franchises and was one of those rare topgames in the limited line-up from Nintendo WiiU. A few years later, Traveller’s Tales decided it could receive some polishing and allowed Playstation, Xbox and PC owners to enjoy this incredible adventure in LEGO City.

Lego City Undercover 1

Story

You’re Chase McCain, a cop who returns to LEGO City after being sent away for two years due to a gaffe and being summoned by mayor Gleeson. She desperately needs your help in apprehending the escaped convict named Rex Fury. You have been responsible for putting Fury behind bars before and are deemed the only one fit for capturing Fury again. Unfortunately not everyone is thrilled with your return, as your former lover Natalia had to go into witness protection because of an error you made and Dunby, the newly appointed Police Chief, sees you as a major pain in the ass.

The wonderful story of LEGO City remains unscathed in this polished version of the WiiU and delivers a genuine and great experience. The story is an incredibly strong and entertaining rollercoaster ride that is truly a hommage to all sorts of iconic action movies and  television shows accompanied by a very strong cast of characters who stand out each in their own unique way. Especially the latter is impressive, knowing that they didn’t import characters from well-known franchises. The plot builds up progressively in a convincing way and is filled with lots of humor. Because it’s LEGO, Traveller’s Tales tries to keep it lighthearted with tongue-in-the-cheek humor.

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Graphics

LEGO City Undercover succeeds in bringing a large, colorful and vivid world built entirely out of LEGO bricks. The game world looks incredibly cool and alive as it is filled with unique characters. It’s hard finding two characters that look exactly alike, except for the fact that they’re all LEGO characters. The game picked a lot of visual ideas from real life locations. A lot of landmarks such as Alcatraz Prison, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Capitol, San Francisco Bay and many other iconic locations get a revamp in LEGO form. This really makes the world of LEGO City stand out and unique. One small point of criticism is that some cut scenes, especially the opening scene, haven’t been decently polished and look a tad outdated.

Sound

The soundtrack of LEGO City Undercover is pretty impressive as it brings a diverse and large sound that mixes multiple music genres and influences that perfectly fit the theme of the game. It even utilizes existing music to improve the already impressive soundtrack. For example, the opening of the game is musically accompanied by “Walking on Sunshine” by Kristina & the Waves. As for the voice acting, it’s equally impressive as every character has its own voice. The voice work really brings the LEGO characters to life as the main protagonist Chase McCain sounds like a mix between Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible) and Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop) while the main villain Rex Fury sounds like a convincing overly aggressive, muscular bad guy that is as dumb as the villains in most action movies.Lego City Undercover 3

Gameplay

LEGO City Undercover is a 3D open world action-adventure and can be best described as Grand Theft Auto, yet completely built with LEGO bricks and without all the blood, violence and other 16+ content which makes it ideal for kids and adults alike. If you’ve ever played any LEGO games before, you’ll immediately recognize the iconic gameplay, which might be this game’s strongest asset and a sort of curse at the same time, mostly because you’ve seen it all before. The incredible open world serves as a large map filled with over a dozen of individual story missions that take place in separate, well-built levels or enclosed areas. In these levels, your main goals are quite simple. You complete them by breaking objects, building structures or contraptions at highlighted spots, navigating environments and solving puzzles while you’re in pursuit of a particular person or object.

Just like in the other LEGO games, Undercover offers lots of secrets and areas that are only accessible by certain characters and their unique abilities, which encourages players to return later on in the game as they unlock new characters or abilities, even though in this game you won’t be able to collect characters, at least not in the way you would expect. Chase McCain is a talented cop specialized in disguises and by collecting a wide range of these disguises, you’ll gain a wide selection of abilities that are needed to complete missions and unlock secrets in game. Unfortunately apart from which disguise or role you play, you’re basically doing the same exact thing with the action button. On the other hand, the basic combat of Chase’s character looks incredibly cool and feels smoother than that of the other LEGO games. Not all of the story missions are locked inside enclosed levels or areas but are inherited in the open world sequence as you can chase after bank robbers and perform car chases while exploring the world map.Lego City Undercover 4

The items you can collect are the same as in the other titles in the franchise like the gold bricks (obtained through completing certain objectives and which unlock certain locations or gameplay elements), red bricks (obtained through certain mission requirements and which enable the player to use harmless cheats) and the studs, the in game currency that come in a variety of colors. The studs can be used to buy all sorts of stuff such as vehicles, certain structures and disguises. One collectible which is different from the other games are the multicolored bricks. These bricks are a separate kind of currency and are needed for constructing/unlocking certain buildings or scripted story elements in the game. You can collect them by destroying objects in your environments or finding them as different sized bricks, hidden all over LEGO City.

LEGO City has a rich and well written story campaign but also offers a lot of reasons to return after the ending credits roll down the screen. As you complete the levels, you probably won’t have completed all the objectives in your first try as some secrets and areas are only accessible under certain conditions. This invites players to replay. Aside from the levels, the open world map also offers a wide selection of locations that hide different secrets, unlockables and collectibles. The main story campaign takes you between 8-10 hours to complete and if you’re a completionist, than LEGO City Undercover offers around +/- 20 hours of total game time. If there is one downside about this game, than it might be the fact that it takes a lot of time before the game loads. The Wii U version was already bothered by this annoying element but the next generation version doesn’t show any real improvements on this problem.

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The PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions have some slight differences with the older WiiU version. The newest addition aside from the WiiU version, is that you can now play the game together with a friend in local coop. Alas, you’ll only play a double of Chase McCain with another color scheme with no significant role to play in the story. Another aspect is the fact that the WiiU Gamepad was utilized as a sort of tool, for example when scanning the environment for clues, accessing your map or getting a call from certain characters. In the other versions of the game, these gameplay elements are perfectly integrated in the main screen and HUD.

Conclusion

LEGO City Undercover is one of the finest LEGO games out there and offers a great and fun story campaign that doesn’t offer any deep and challenging gameplay but is perfectly accessible for kids and adults alike. It perfectly combines impressive open world mechanics with the well-known iconic LEGO gameplay. If you’ve never tried LEGO City or any LEGO in general, than we can definitely recommend to try this one out. As for those players who’ve already played the Wii U version, it doesn’t offer any new reasons to play this one again.

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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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LEGO City Undercover - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
JasuSakura
JasuSakura


Being over 30 years old, I've been playing videogames since I've exchanged my pacifier for a game controller. I've only recently started reviewing games and it's incredibly fun to do and educational as I get to know a lot of new stuff about videogames and the industry. My favourite game genres are RPG's(strategy RPG, J-RPG,...), adventure, platforming, simulation and retro.

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