7th April 2017

SUMMARY
When notorious criminal Rex Fury breaks out of prison all hell breaks loose in LEGO City. It’s up to disgraced cop Chase McCain to return from his exile and stop the wave of crime sweeping the city – even if that means he has to commit a few crimes himself. He’s not alone as he is joined by the photosynthetic rookie cop Frank Honey, tech-monkey Ellie Phillips. Can he save the city from the evil Fury? And more importantly, will he finally get the girl of his dreams, Natalia Kowalski?

“Really? You can fly a helicopter?”
“Let’s find out!”

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Initially released in 2013 on the Wii U, LEGO City Undercover is a sprawling, open world adventure in a new and unique environment. Despite being designed with the Wii U controller in mind, LCU utilises the PS4’s controller well, allowing the player to bring up the map using the touch pad and flashing the in-built light red and blue when the player uses the siren in emergency vehicles. You play as Chase McCain, a former LEGO City detective who was exiled for reasons unknown, but which will be made clear as you progress through the story. He has been tasked to help the LEGO City Police Department recover escaped convict Rex Fury by any means necessary. This means teaming up with both LCPD’s ‘best and brightest’ (or, more specifically, their most inept detective), and LEGO City’s biggest and baddest in order to hunt down Fury and bring him back to justice.

While stealing anything that isn’t nailed down and charging it all back to the LCPD, the player utilises an array of skills to help them do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. LEGO City Undercover lets you listen in on conversations from the banal to the criminal, take photos of dodgy deals as they go down, hunt for clues and secrets, and locate escaped wall-climbing swine all in one handy tablet in Chase’s pocket.

LEGO City Undercover uses the same basic concepts as most LEGO games, but unlike others where you are constantly switching characters to take advantage of their different skill sets, in LCU you simply switch the disguise Chase is wearing to perform different tasks. This massively reduces the amount of accidental switching-to-the-wrong-character that occurs, and makes it even easier to work as a team when playing co-op with a friend.

There is a vast selection of vehicles to use to get around the city, whether summoned from a call-in point or commandeered from civilians on the street Grand Theft Auto-style, you never have to look far for transport. Unfortunately, the AI driving is a hot mess, with vehicles switching lanes or stopping unexpectedly and for no discernible reason. This is especially frustrating in chase or timed missions, and is made worse by the fact that some of the vehicles can be hard to control. It is definitely fun trying to make everyone else on the road drive convertibles by smashing into them until their roof flies off though!

With literally hundreds of collectables to find throughout the game, LEGO City Undercover is not for the faint-hearted ‘completion-ist’. Over 300 disguises can be unlocked, which can be changed into using Disguise Booths that are also scattered around the city, and in addition to the story mode the player is treated to a sizeable open world environment full of side quests to keep you playing long after completion. There are 450 gold bricks to collect, as well as the LEGO staple red bricks, which grant extras such as bonus multipliers for your bits to help you along the way.

It’s not all fun and games, unfortunately while the dodgy AI and frustrating camera angles are forgivable the multiplayer simply is not. For a franchise that has been an excellent example of multiplayer mechanics in the past, LEGO City Undercover is a big let down for the LEGO team in that department. Gameplay is virtually impossible in two-player mode, with numerous unnecessary ‘cut-scene’ effects interrupting one player when the other uses an item or function. This coupled with a camera that snaps to fit one player on both screens when doing certain tasks means that if both players want to do anything but wander around smashing things they have to take turns in their quests or risk their friendship by constantly interrupting high speed chases with functions designed with only single players in mind.

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VERDICT
Overall, LEGO City Undercover is a fantastic single-player adventure with tons of pop culture references and constant, witty humour that will have you laughing out loud. It is highly recommended for single players, but is a big miss in the multiplayer department, losing it the full marks. If you’re a fan of LEGO games you will absolutely love LCU!

RATING: 9 of 10

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