Lego City Undercover was originally released as a Nintendo Wii U exclusive in 2013. It was essentially a Grand Theft Auto inspired Lego game that carried many reference to live action Police movies and TV shows. The game was lauded at its launch thanks to its humorous cast of characters, role-based gameplay mechanics and the integration of co-op that easily made it one of the best Lego games.
The recent release of Lego City Undercover for the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch is essentially a simple port with some visual enhancements to take advantage of the improved hardware power. It is not exactly a full-blown remake but more of a port to the current generation consoles, but it still offers some enhancements including improved load times, better frame rate and a higher native rendering resolution.
Right from the intro, it is clear that the game parodies Grand Theft Auto. Our main character, Chase McCain, arrives in the Lego City after a recent surge of crimes that are linked to the notorious criminal, Rex Fury. The game opens up with introduction to Rex Fury and then it is a non-stop action filled ride till the end. I don’t usually laugh at Lego humor but what I found in Lego City Undercover made me genuinely laugh at some of the jokes. There are a lot of characters in Lego City Undercover that add to its humor including the Police Chief himself.
Lego City Undercover is a great co-op game since it offers full support for offline co-op with the possibility of free roam. The game is designed in such a way that co-op simply enhances the experience, which is one of the reason I decided to play through it in co-op. I have played many Lego games in co-op and I do enjoy my time with them, however in my opinion, the co-op in Lego City Undercover surpasses its predecessors in many ways. It is thanks to its cast of characters and a well designed mission structure that the co-op works so well. The missions can be done as a team even though they can be played solo, but as a police officer, the team based element makes it a memorable co-op experience.
The basic gameplay in Lego City Undercover revolves around driving in the city going from one mission to the next. It plays a lot like Grand Theft Auto in that sense, however some of the missions are further segmented in a different area complete with their own set of secrets to discover, like power bricks and Lego currency. These are all fun to explore and discover on our own and seem to be cleverly hidden around the world map. Lego City Undercover also utilizes a mechanic that locks away some of the key areas and secrets behind a role. For example, you will need to be a mechanic or thief in order to operate certain doors. These roles are unlocked as we progress through the game while some are hidden behind the collectibles.
If you have played Lego City Undercover on the Nintendo Wii U, then it is hard to recommend the game since you have already played it. There aren’t any major improvements for this re-release on the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch, aside from the portable aspects for Nintendo Switch. Considering the fact that the original Lego City already utilized the extra potential of the Wii U hardware with the integration of the tablet in the game, it arguably remains the best way to experience Lego City Undercover. This doesn’t mean the PS4, Xbox One and PC version are not good, since they still retain the charm and fun of the game, although it is clear some of the mechanics were designed for the Wii U.
The story in the game works well in presenting a scenario where the writers have the choice to inject humor or references to some of the classic movies and TV shows. This is something that I often enjoyed in the past Lego games although I think its integration in Lego City Undercover is done better than the recently released Lego Jurassic World. Overall, I had a great time in completing the story in co-op mode. As for the replay value, once you are done with the main game, you can free roam around the world map to discover new secrets or find all collectibles. There are also new characters, vehicles and roles to unlock if you choose to complete the game 100%.
Lego City Undercover Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Taking place in the vast Lego City, players control an undercover cop named Chase McCain. Chase goes on the hunt for criminals, with various moves at his disposal, such as swinging across poles and performing wall jumps; he can also gain disguises that give him additional abilities, such as a robber disguise that lets him break locks.
Lego City Undercover is one of the best Lego games released on the current generation consoles. It is full of humor and offers a memorable local co-op experience that shouldn't be missed if you are a fan of Lego games.