Developer(s) – TT Fusion, Nintendo SPD & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Designer – Lee Barber
Producer – Loz Doyle
PEGI – 7
Having wanted to develop a video game based on the Lego City toy line for quite some time, Traveller’s Tales agreed to work with Nintendo to bring Lego City Undercover exclusively to Wii U. Combining the familiar formula of most other Lego-themed video games with elements of the Grand Theft Auto series, it was met with positive reviews from critics, and it presented players with a moderately new twist on what they had been very much accustomed to form Lego games at that time.
Graphics – 8/10
To me, this game is a great example of how Lego, in general, can capture the imaginations of the people who either play with Lego (as I did when I was a kid), as opposed to many of the other Lego games, which were based largely on pre-existing intellectual properties, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. With Undercover, there are quite a few sly cultural references, and even some references to certain Nintendo games, but for the most part, the player can get a sense that very little can be off-limits in terms of conceptual design.
Gameplay – 9/10
Aside from the game looking great, it plays out great too. Outside the main story, there exist a multitude of different side quests to complete throughout a massive open-world environment unparalleled with any of the more linear worlds found in most other Lego games. The amount of customization and variety on offer is also extremely impressive since a wide range of abilities is needed to complete everything that can be completed. In lieu of Lego game tradition, replay value is also on offer, since players will also have to back to story missions with newly gained abilities to collect things they will have inevitably missed the first time around.
Controls – 10/10
Like in every other Lego game, the control scheme is also extremely simplistic, and easy to get to grips with. The use of the Wii U GamePad also offers a fairly unique twist on how open-world games are normally played. For example, there exist side missions, whereby the player must use the GamePad to scan the TV in order to find criminal suspects before making an arrest. It is also used as a glorified Head-Up Display, containing a map and icons indicating where side quests are located.
Lifespan – 10/10
Since there is a ton of things to do in this game, it can easily be made to last up to 100 hours, which certainly makes it the longest Lego game ever developed. There’s a lot of open-world space in the game and a lot of great use of it. The story mode will take the better part of 10 hours alone, but after that, the game will have only just begun.
Storyline – 6/10
The biggest drawback to this game is that the story isn’t particularly engaging in my opinion. It involves a police detective called Chase McCain, who is on a mission to capture a notorious criminal called Rex Fury. Other than the basic premise, there’s not that much present in terms of story. The only thing that saves it from being irredeemable is that there is a fairly strong comedic element, with cultural references all over the place, and a few clever little in-jokes to accompany them.
Originality – 6/10
Though it is possible to differentiate this game from every other Lego game, since there were a few new features introduced, it doesn’t stand out against many other video games out there to a certain extent. The Grand Theft Auto element of it makes this even more obvious. I would describe it best as being evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary since it made innovation, but only in its own circle, and brought little new to the industry overall.
In Summation, despite Lego City Undercover playing out very familiarly compared to many other games, it is a very enjoyable experience, and worth every hour of playing. It’s another game that, to me, gives testament to how the Wii U is a better console than commercial figures show.
8/10 (Very Good)