Around my house, a couple times a year, a special event takes place, Traveller’s Tales releases a new Lego game. My daughter and I have been playing these games together religiously for quite some time, everything shuts down in our house for a weekend, the boys are in charge of cooking, and Madison and I session on the Xbox. We always have a great time trying to figure everything out before all the guides and walkthroughs come out, and sometimes we have a less than great time trying to do the same thing. Either way, by the time we complete the Lego game, we feel as though we’ve accomplished something great, together as a team.
When it was announced that there would be a new Lego game exclusive to the Wii U, I was resigned in the fact that we would be adding a new console to our household. As all the information slowly trickled out, I was surprised, and somewhat concerned, that the game would not be a licensed product, with no movie tie-in. I was concerned because Traveller’s Tales would not be able to rely on a movie plot to tell a tale, and this could prove to be troubling. Then, days before release, problems with the release schedule became apparent, pre-orders from GameStop would not be able to be fufilled as promised, but a couple of days later, while Nintendo’s E-Store allowed for the regular Tuesday purchase and download. With this inauspicious beginning, I received my copy on Friday, and I excitedly started the game.
Undercover stars Chase McCain, a police officer, as he returns to Lego City, summoned by the mayor to help recapture the infamous Rex Fury, whom McCain caught before, although he never received official credit. After Fury’s arrest, McCain allegedly released the identity of the state’s star witness and left the city in shame. Through the investigation, McCain unlocks different persona’s, which have a variety of abilities. In typical Lego games, as you progress throughout the story, different characters join your team that help you in different ways, but the persona’s overrides the necessity of this feature in LCU. Eventually, you are forced into going Undercover with a few of the Organized Crime gangs in Lego City.
Lego City Undercover, for the most part, is typical Lego gameplay, with the ability to change your persona on the fly, easy and fun vehicles to drive, and cartooney combat, but instead of beating your opponent into a pile of Lego bricks, you arrest him after you incapactate him. Some new moves are added as well, like counter moves, and new attack animation. Also, in keeping with recent titles, such as Batman 2, and Lego Lord of The Rings, there is a open world to discover into, although Lego City Undercover, without a doubt, features the larges world to date. Also, in this open arena, there are seemingly endless side mission, gold brick opportunities, and areas to explore. Many people have made reference to Grand Theft Auto, but I assure you, LCU is actually fun.
One area that the game fell short with me, is the voice acting and character development. I do understand that LCU is a kids game, and kids have a terrible sense of humor, but McCain’s sidekick Frank Honey is one of the most annoying characters I’ve encountered. He’s most likely mildly retarded, and has the vocabulary to prove it. Upon meeting him, you are forced to rebuild a computer Honey destroyed, while he is constantly referring it as a “compupter”. Ok, one time is ok, but five or six times chaps my ass. Not only is it annoying, but it is delivered in a way that only a slow four year old would find humorous. Beyond him, though, it is apparent with each character, who the target demographic is, but for the most part, aside from Honey, it is paletable.
Normally, in my reviews, the functionality of the controller isn’t something that I worry about, but with Lego City Undercover, being as how it is a Wii U title, I have to. As you progress early in the story, your GamePad becomes an interactive map, with areas, such as trail stations, objectives, and collectibles added as you play. You can select destinations on the fly, and also manipulate the field of vision without pausing as well. Eventually you use the GamePad as a camera, then an audio amplifier. These additions, to me, did not function comfortably, I often felt lost and out of control over what I was doing. Beyond these growing pains, the GamePad was cool, and added new ways I interacted with the game.
Overall, Lego City Undercover is a game I had a load of fun playing. I am normally not a demosterative game player, but I often found myself actually LoL’ing, I did, however, abstain from Rofling during my gameplay. The platforming sections were fun, and the launchpads were a riot. and were my most anticipated sections of gameplay. I would easily give Lego City Undercover a 92/100, with that Rat Bastard Frank Honey being my only demerit. I would, and will, absolutely pay full retail price for LCU, with a long and rewarding story mode, and the large open world promising hours upon hours of fun.