LEGO City Undercover Xbox One Review
Welcome back to LEGO City, Chase! You arrived just in the nick of time, Rex Fury has escaped and crime is at an all time high. Think you can help us?
A few years have passed since you put the notorious crime Mastermind Rex Fury behind bars and left LEGO City, only to return and find out that a city-wide crime wave is underway and Rex Fury has mysteriously escaped Albatross Island. It is up to you to find out how he escaped (or who helped him escape) and get him back behind bars before it is too late. Originally released by TT Fusion in 2013 for the Wii U Console, this 2017 rendition of the Open World (Sandbox) LEGO City Undercover is a remaster that has hit most current day entertainment systems, making it more accessible to the masses of LEGO Fans who missed out on the game due to not owning a Wii U Gaming System.
Wait! Where are my Wheels?
The game starts off with you playing as the main protagonist, the legendary Chase McCain sailing back to LEGO City after receiving a call from the very distressed Mayor Gleeson, needing your help. Upon arrival, you learn that the bad guy you put away, Rex Fury, has escaped from prison and these events have put crime at an all time high. This becomes very apparent when not even the Mayor is untouched, as you see her car and driver get stripped of everything while her back is turned. You get re-activated as an agent at the LEGO City Police Department, which is now run by your previous partner (who took all the credit for the first arrest of Rex), Chief Dunby. When you arrive, you meet Frank Honey, a young police “errand boy” who shows you around and introduces you to Ellie Phillips, who heads up the Tech section and oversees the evidence locker at the police station.
Your quest for truth starts off with a few missions where you start to catch some criminals and learn the basics of the game controls and mechanics, which sets you on the right path to picking up the Rex Fury trail. It is not long before you go undercover, run into Rex Fury and get beaten up, forcing you to learn Kung Fu, just in-case your paths cross again during another mission. This is when the story pace picks up a notch, as you learn about a crime ring leader, Chan Chuang who runs a chop-shop in LEGO City and you see this as the perfect opportunity to get in on the action and find out more about Rex’s escape.
The interactivity and puzzles are really epic, ranging from riding a mechanical bull, to getting a party started as DJ Chase McCain to create a diversion allowing you to steal an Exotic Sports Car for Mr Chan. Your undercover criminal antics don’t just end there, because you decide to “jump ship” from being in Mr Chan’s employment to work for a bigger crime boss, Vinnie Pappalardo, who asks you to steal a massive Emerald for him from the Downtown LEGO Bank. Momentum builds even more as you make an attempt to fix things with your ex-girlfriend, Natalia Kowalski, who was forced into the Witness Protection Program after testifying against Rex in his first trial. You learn that her father has been kidnapped and is being held by the crime boss **** (you did not think I was going to spoil the plot even more did you?), and this fuels your determination to make right by the law and by Natalia even more.
Transportation and Location
True to every LEGO Game, the humor is on point for both children and adults, and native to this title, the external references to Movies and TV Shows is very well placed but easy to miss if you do not pay attention. As you progress through the game, Ellie unlocks features on your police communicator, giving you access to more sections of the game, and also encourage you to revisit already completed content to finally be able to reach previously unreachable areas for rewards. Each step of the way, you also unlock different disguises, which all have their unique abilities, like breaking into locked rooms (Chase McCain Robber), blowing up silver bricks (Chase McCain Miner) or even teleportation (Chase McCain Astronaut). These disguises are very important as they are required to progress in the story, and also get upgraded as you complete the game, as an example, when you finish the game, your Chase McCain Astronaut will have the Jetpack Ability, allowing you to use short Jetpack Jumps/Boosts to travel higher and farther than normal jumps would. There are a total of 305 different disguises to discover and unlock in the game.
Another very clever mechanic in the game is the Super-Build feature, which is also very game progression dependent, because you not only collect LEGO Studs as in-game currency, but also LEGO Bricks to build mission items or post game items like Cable Cars (Bluebell Mine), Vehicle Call in Points or Merry-Go-Rounds (Apollo Island) respectively. There are 120 different vehicles for you to drive and pilot in the game, starting off slowly in the game with Motorcycles, Trucks and Cars, you shift over to Boats, Helicopters, Planes and even a Space Shuttle!
The first play-through of the story chapters should take the average gamer around 10 hours to complete at a rush, but this is a LEGO game, who wants to rush it? The massive open world has roughly 20 areas for you to explore and revisit to unlock a Golden Brick, of which there are 450, again showing you the longevity of this game, with countless hours of post game content to keep you entertained, puzzles to keep you thinking and collectibles (like disguises and vehicles) to keep you discovering.
There is a Local Multiplayer option available allowing two players to walk the mean streets of LEGO City and take down crime, but rather than letting you play as a different character like Frank, you play as a skinned version of Chase McCain, being able to don any of the unlocked disguises and use the available abilities and tools, like your Grapple Gun to get to the higher areas. The graphics are smooth, as smooth as a studded Lego Brick can be, and the frame rate is also higher than the original version of the game, however something that did not get a lot of attention, is the loading times, which are quite long, especially when launching the game. The sound and music is very catchy, dropping you right in the middle of a 70’s crime show with the familiar “waka-wa waka-wa” themed tunes.
LEGO City Undercover has kept me very busy, and I have had so much fun playing and developing the story. I even had Lego themed dreams for two nights while doing this review until I passed the controllers over to my two sons. My eldest, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and if you are unsure of what that means, then just think about Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, so he pretty much requires very constant focused stimulation, and he has always enjoyed building Lego or playing Lego games. With LEGO City Undercover, he found a new challenge that kept him both entertained and fixated at the same time, not to mention that he wants to be a policeman when he grows up, making this game very appealing to young and older gamers, promising hours of laughter, entertainment and puzzles.
LEGO City Undercover was released on 7 April 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and the Nintendo Switch. BT Games sells LEGO City Undercover at R645.00 for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Consoles, making it quite affordable when comparing it with the majority of current game releases. I would strongly recommend getting it if you are a current collector and fan of LEGO video games and even more so if you have never played a LEGO themed game before. In a nutshell, the game content, the humor, the graphics and puzzles are brilliant and the diversity of the collectibles will have you coming back for more, as often as you can. This remaster, was executed in style and deserves your time and money.