LEGO City Undercover is now available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and the brand new Nintendo Switch. We played it on Xbox in order to find out what we missed out on the first time around.
When you ask gamers about exclusives for Nintendo consoles, you can expect their answers to include Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Yoshi, Starfox, Donkey Kong or even Metroid. LEGO City Undercover was never going to be a likely answer there, yet for the past four years it was exclusively available on the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS. Based on the Wii U version, we now get to play this oft-forgotten LEGO title on a brand new generation of consoles.
Another remarkable thing about LEGO City Undercover is that it’s not a tie-in to a major non-LEGO franchise. No Batman, no Star Wars – but instead an extremely family-friendly take on the GTA concept that is a solid yet a little unremarkable title four years after its original release. Its central premise is still very strong though – as kids will enjoy playing with hero Chase McCain while older players will certainly enjoy the many subtle and not-so-subtle references to TV and movie classics in the cop/action genre.
The biggest improvement in this new version is the option to play alongside a second player. The game wasn’t redesigned to accommodate this – so don’t expect the kinds of two-player puzzles and challenges you might remember from other LEGO titles. In fact, the second player will ALSO play as Chase McCain – albeit rocking a different outfit. It’s a very bare bones kind of implementation of multiplayer, but it’s fun due to the more open-ended nature of the gameplay in LEGO City Undercover when compared to the more scripted LEGO titles.
Despite being a little different from other LEGO titles in terms of a tie-in and a more open structure, familiar elements also return. You can play the game by sticking to the story, but you can also go about hunting for collectibles and achievements – always guaranteed to double your playing time with any LEGO title if you choose to go for it. Visually, the game is also reminiscent of other LEGO games, and the boost to higher resolution visuals doesn’t disguise that this is an older title than LEGO The Force Awakens.
The transfer from the Wii U was done well with regards to the lack of a Wii U Gamepad (with its second screen) and a boost to the game’s frame rates – which are now far smoother than they were on the Wii U. Load times are longer than you’d expect, but I suspect this is due to the nature of the game – having to load more of the game world into memory when compared to LEGO titles where levels take place in more confined spaces. It’s easy to forgive, as you’re getting a different and fun experience in return.
LEGO City Undercover is a really good LEGO experience for those who never got to play it on a Wii U. It’s got a lot of elements that people love about LEGO games, yet managed to incorporate an open world dynamic and an original story that is fun to both older and younger gamers. However, it’s probably not worth the AAA price tag that’s currently attached to it, as you’re paying for a four year old game with better options available for half the budget. Wait for a sale though, and you won’t be disappointed.