If you’ve ever played a proper blockbuster videogame, you’ve probably heard of the Grand Theft Auto series. They’re an open world series of games, where you can roam around a whole city, interacting with other characters, stealing cars and stuff.
|It’s about to go in…|
LEGO City Undercover is a sort of kid friendly LEGO version of Grand Theft Auto and it’s completely ace. It’s an open world adventure, with main mission stories and many many side missions and distractions to boot. You can actually hijack other cars (in your official role as a maverick cop of course) and in an example of the sort of comic genius that riddles the game, we hijacked a tram and failed to get where we wanted to go because the tracks went the other way! Even when you hijack a normal car, you can knock it about until bits of LEGO fall off. You can even see the engine pistons working when the bonnet gets knocked off.
|Focused on the hilarious cut scenes|
LEGO City Undercover is a Wii U exclusive. If you’ve not come across the Nintendo Wii U, it’s a bit of a revelation. It’s not enormously bigger than the Wii but it is a lot more powerful, it can easily match the Xbox 360 and PS3 in terms of graphics and comes with a very innovative controller (well Nintendo are the masters of innovative new controllers after all), that has a full sized interactive touchscreen built in. It’s use varies from game to game but in Lego City Undercover, it works as a map when you’re outside (and inside) as well as allowing you to do all sorts of other neat tricks. It has some other fab features built in, like a TV remote control and something called “remote play”, whereby you can take your game with you from the telly on to the controller- ideal of some parent centric television show is on but the kids still want to play (and consoles shouldn’t be relegated to the bedroom because you need to monitor what kids are up to).
The story follows Chase McCain, a MAVERICK cop who’s called back to LEGO City to track down his nemesis, Rex Fury, who’s escaped from prison and gone on a crime spree. The main thrust of the story is tracking down Rex and his cronies but there is so so much to do besides this. Collecting Super Bricks, for example, allows you to build stuff like helicopter landing pads or funfair rides, which become integral (believe it or not!) to the main story.
|The Boy quickly got an audience|
The game, unlike a lot of the other LEGO franchise games, is single player only, mainly because of the heavily integrated use of the gamepad. The Wii U can only have one gamepad per console, so it stands to reason if the controller is so integrated into the experience, that the game is going to be single player only.
There are so many things to love about LEGO City Undercover. From the constant chitter chatter from non player characters, which is often hilarious (how many more arrests does the cop by the station need to make to win waffle iron?), to the neat touches with the destructible cars and buildings, all these little things add to what is already a pretty fun game. It’s easy enough for the boy to pick up and play (and since there are no guns involved in the game, we’re happy to to let him play it) but has the depth for grown ups to enjoy. There are so many film references to pick up on, you’ll soon lose track- I spotted Goodfella’s, Die Hard and The Matrix for starters. There is plenty to keep your interest for a long time and you will end up playing it for a long time without really noticing how long you’ve spent playing it, which is always the marker of a good game.
There are loads of big games in the pipeline and quite a few good titles out already but LEGO City Undercover is a Wii U exclusive, as I’ve mentioned and shows of the console to it’s best. If you’ve ever played any of the other LEGO games- Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or the many excellent Star Wars games, you’ll know the graphical style already but what LEGO City Undercover adds is the open world element that lets you do missions and explore an interactive world that wasn’t part of the remit of the earlier games. If you have a Wii U, this is the MUST HAVE game on the system.
Game and console were provided by Nintendo for review purposes. Hours and hours of time were provided by me and the boy.