Lego City Undercover Preview
Almost four years later to the date, Lego City Undercover is making its way to the Nintendo Switch. At the time of its original release on the Wii U, this was the only major game to come out in the middle of a post-launch gaming drought. Luckily it was a fantastic experience and easily my favorite Lego game ever created. If you can imagine Grand Theft Auto as a Lego game, you begin to understand what this open world game brings to the table. In many ways the city feels like a gigantic hub world that is completely packed with secrets to uncover and items to collect. The main storyline stages in the game play pretty much like any other Lego game, but if you only stick to those and make it to the end of the game, your completion rate will be something obscenely low like 15%. The real fun is taking the time to explore every single area for all the goodies.
One of the really cool things about Lego City Undercover is that you play as undercover detective. Because of that, the game gives you a bunch of different disguises, each with their own unique set of powers. As you gain access to these new suits, you’ll be able to reach new areas of the city that were previously unaccessible. I found it extremely entertaining to go back to areas I had visited earlier in the game with my new set of gear so I could properly tackle the challenges.
Because Lego City Undercover is not stuck to a single movie license, the humor in the game really shines. Some of it is fully original, but a lot of it is based off of movies and TV shows. You’ll hear plenty of jokes that range from Titanic to Dirty Harry, and some of the characters are genuinely funny throughout. There are plenty of gags that really land, as I remember laughing quite a bit through the original game. Of course, like anything comedy-related, it could be hit or miss depending on the person’s sense of humor.
The Nintendo Switch version of Lego City Undercover is getting some major enhancements. The first one is a major game changer: 2 player co-op! The original game was a solitary experience, which made sense given the storyline, but also didn’t make sense because the Lego games are well known for their co-op. That’s why it’s exciting to see the Switch version get this awesome upgrade. Now you can team up with a friend and take on the ugly underground criminal syndicate together (well as ugly as Lego can muster)!
In addition to enhanced visuals, one of the biggest improvements to the Switch version is the reduced loading times. The Wii U version had notoriously long load times whenever you exited from a mission and back out into the main city hub, or vice versa. We’re talking almost a minute long. We haven’t seen how much these load times have been reduced, but we’re hopeful the development team was able to keep them to a minimum. We’ll have the final answer in our review, after the game releases on April 4, 2017.
In LEGO® CITY Undercover, players become Chase McCain, a police officer who goes undercover to hunt down the notorious – and recently escaped – criminal, Rex Fury, to put an end to his city-wide crime wave. This open-world LEGO adventure allows fans and newcomers to explore the sprawling metropolis that is LEGO® CITY with more than 20 unique districts to investigate, filled with car thieves to bust, vehicles to navigate, mischievous aliens to capture, hilarious movie references to discover, lost pigs to rescue and of course, hundreds of collectibles. With 15 special assignments to conquer, LEGO CITY Undercover brings together witty, original storytelling with signature LEGO humor to create a fun-filled experience for players of all ages.
BECOME LEGO CITY’S FINEST – Assume the identity of undercover police officer, Chase McCain, and track down the fiendish Rex Fury to finally put an end to his city-wide crime wave.
EXPLORE THE CITY – With more than 20 distinct districts to investigate, LEGO CITY is a bustling metropolis that is ripe for exploration and filled to the brim with people on the streets to interact with, criminals to take down and hundreds of collectibles.
BE A MASTER OF DISGUISE – As a man of many talents, Chase McCain has eight disguises to choose from, each with unique skills and abilities to infiltrate every corner of the city, allowing him to access places a regular old officer can’t.
OVER 100 VEHICLES – In LEGO CITY, every vehicle on the street can be commandeered with more than 100 to choose from so players can get behind the wheel of sports cars, motorcycles, helicopters and more to chase down criminals or take a leisurely ride through the urban jungle to check out the sights.
FIGHT CRIME – Take down criminals with hand-to-hand combat or arrest bad guys using Chase’s handy grapple gun and standard issue police handcuffs.
THE CAST – Chase is joined by officer Frank Honey, Chief of Police Dunby and paramedic Natalia Kowalski, who are just a few of the more than 300 unlockable and playable characters that gamers will meet throughout the adventure.
HUMOR, HUMOR, HUMOR – Featuring an original storyline, LEGO CITY Undercover is chock-full of signature humor with hilarious movie and music references peppered throughout the open-world.
Secret Nintendo cameos!
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He’s currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.