Here we are again. Only a couple of weeks since LEGO Worlds graced our gaming screens, we have LEGO City Undercover. “How many LEGO games do we need?!” I hear you cry - don’t dismiss this due to the crammed spring release schedule, as in the absence of any licensed LEGO releases coming up, this could be the perfect plug to fill the brick-shaped hole in your life.
Series regulars will be familiar with the overall goal of collecting gold bricks, which serve as rewards for missions and challenges, and collecting studs by smashing everything in sight. Here though, there’s another type of pseudo-currency - blocks. These allow you to complete super-builds, which allow you to create huge, complex structures to help you complete missions or unlock new ones. In hindsight, ‘Master Builds’ may have been a more fitting title, thanks to the hugely successful LEGO Movie, but the remaster changes here appear to be purely cosmetic.
Technically the game handles itself well on Xbox One, though - in a phrase which I fear is destined to become overused around here - it will be interesting to see how it translates on the Nintendo Switch. Being an open-world game, there’s still the tendency to fall off things and end up in the middle of nowhere, or get stuck between rocks on a beach as Chase can’t find his footing.
The rest of the gameplay is largely familiar, though there is an emphasis on Free Running which is largely absent from other LEGO games, and is fun, albeit fiddly and frustrating at times. Progressing through story missions gives you access to specific disguises, each of which have abilities. Switching between these is a simple shoulder button press, though there are far more cosmetic disguises (read: characters) available, which are purely superficial - don’t go hunting around for Batman, this is an entirely LEGO affair.
crashing your vehicle will cause it to steadily fall to bits in stages, often exposing the inner workings of the engine beneath - all in accurate, one-for-one LEGO construction.
Driving around the city there’s a definite Grand Theft Auto vibe too, as pedestrians dive out of the way and crack out cheesy, often pun-tastic, one-liners. A particularly nice touch is that crashing your vehicle will cause it to steadily fall to bits in stages, often exposing the inner workings of the engine beneath - all in accurate, one-for-one LEGO construction.
Much of the game boils down to smashing things, building things and finding things, but by now, if you’ve played any of the previous titles you’ll be expecting that. The developers have got the balance just right here, giving you a rich open world which isn’t too vast or complex, to make it accessible and fun for big kids and youngsters alike.
While it may not truly break the mould, it’s a strong example of what a good LEGO game should be, and that’s something to be excited about.