Sunday, October 11, 2015

REVIEW - LEGO® City Undercover (Wii U)

After years, I've finally managed to enter the new generation of video game consoles, more appropriately referred to as "the old generation". So what did I go with, the Playstation 4 or the Xbox One?


Wait, you're thinking to yourself, what is that thing? And other than your lack of logo reading abilities, I can't really fault you for that. It's none other than Nintendo's wildly unpopular Wii U. And really, this system's been unfairly ignored. Sure, like most Nintendo consoles, the best games are Nintendo games. But there are some third party games worth playing here as well. And this game is maybe one of them. Read on to find out!

LEGO® City Undercover (forthwith referred to as LEGO City Undercover, for brevity's sake) is a Lego game from Traveller's Tales. 


Where are you going?

Please, stay! There is plenty new in this entry of TT's weekly and reliably pretty fun series of Lego games. First of all, there's no co-op.


Get back here, damn you! Listen. There's no co-op, but in its place is a big open world full of missions to complete and thousands of doodads and whatsits to collect. More recent Lego games have toyed with open worlds, but they have largely been little more than a big hub in between levels. And while that's partially the case here, the world definitely feels more alive and in the vein of something like Grand Theft Auto. 

Astronauts riding dinosaur skeletons. You know, GTA stuff.

The game places you in the role of Chase McCain (an excellent cop name, by the way), an exiled officer called back to Lego City (a likewise excellent name for a city inhabited by and built with Lego) to catch the escaped fugitive Rex Fury and solve the city's pesky little crime wave problem. To accomplish this, Chase will have to go Undercover®. It's always a fun twist to play these kind of crime simulator games as a member of the law. In practice it makes little difference, as you're still maniacally destroying the city and running down innocent civilians either way, but it's nice to have the flimsy reasoning that it's all in pursuit of justice. Throughout the game's storyline, which will at times require you to go undercover as a a criminal or a farmer or a firefighter and others, Chase meets a wide array of cartoonishly silly characters. It's the characters and writing that are the real highlight of the game. The dialogue is sharp and at times genuinely funny, and the game is filled with tons of pop culture parodies.

A police duo named Studsky and Clutch. Tell me that's not genius.

My favorite character is Frank Honey, a rookie cop and Chase McCain's #1 fan. He's...a bit of an idiot. But, like, in an endearing way. It's how we get dialogue like this:

The main missions of the game are largely similar to other Lego games You'll fight enemies, build things. jump, etc. And like the other games, death is largely a non-issue. You have to use your many disguises to find all of the collectibles in a level, and you get them slowly over the course of a game so replaying them is necessary.

Outside of the main missions the city is filled with pigs to shoot out of cannons, roller coasters to build, statues to paint, coffee to drink, and many other absurd and wonderful busywork. Seriously, the gameworld is just filled with things to find and do. Like, to a fault, if seeking out 1000/1000 of anything is not your cup of tea.

Aiding you in your quest to find literally all of the things is your handy gamepad. Being a Wii U game, it naturally had to incorporate the tablet controller in some way. In LEGO® City Undercover, it acts mostly as your map. And that's cool. Never having to press a button to open a separate map. In games like this that's helpful. It also acts as a scanner to find items in a first person perspective, and a communicator wherein NPCs will call you on the controller. Some screens will come up on the gamepad that seem a little unnecessary, like when switching characters it will say "yo dawg, look down" and sometimes I just want to not, but overall it's no big thing.

The real annoyance of the game is the load times. Like holy shit man. Sometimes you'll see a review of a game and it will say "the load times are like 5 minutes long" and you'll be like haha, what a silly exaggeration. But for real, the load times in this game are longer than most games. When you first boot the game it loads for what seems like many seasons, and that just gets you to the main menu. From there you load your save and prepare your body for cryo sleep. In the distant future, after our sapient octopi overlords unfreeze your dormant body, only then can you load a mission and wait for the universe to collapse into a singularity and burst forth again so you can punch some enemies and build a coffee table out of Lego bricks.

Learn to love this screen. Cherish it. Write it some poems and sing songs to it at bedtime. Surprise it with flowers even when it's not your anniversary. Accept that you're the one who messes up and freezes sometimes. Tell it that it looks pretty once in awhile. Make this screen feel like the only screen in the world. Because this screen is your life now.

It's a pretty fun game though, so I'll let it slide.


  1. The load times sucked when you wanted to purchase disguises or red bricks, going IN to the Police Station and then going OUT of the Police Station. I ended up being like "I have about 50 things to buy but I'm going to wait".

    Also it was weird that there was Rex Fury- Shirtless. I'm like, who does he think he is? George Costanza? CAN'T STAND YA

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