A funny and enjoyable, if simplistic game open to all. Not a classic but a fine addition to the Wii U's library.

User Rating: 8 | LEGO City Undercover WIIU
Lego City Undercover marks the first entirely original game in Travellers Tales series of Lego games that began with Lego Star Wars back in 2005 and for the most part its better for this. Much of the charm of the Lego games is the way they poke fun at characters you know but free of the constraints of a familiar franchise the developers have kept the series' trademark humour intact with their own cast of likeable and funny characters. The story goes that as legendary cop Chase McCain you have returned to Lego City after two years away to help return the notorious criminal Rex Fury to prison. Undercover is still heavily indebted to films though with countless nods to and parodies of classic movies throughout. One of the best is a construction worker who is clearly a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The game is light-hearted in tone as you expect from a Lego game and genuinely amusing throughout with full voice acting for all the major characters. Said characters are for the most part well characterised but sadly Rex Fury is criminally underused with little explanation of his motives. All in all it is very much what you expect from a Lego game on the exterior but delve deeper and there is some noticeable tinkering and additions.

Lego City is fully open world and you can make your way throughout the entire city with no loading screens. This sense of exploration fits well with Lego and is improved further by the ability to take control of any of the over 100 types of vehicles dotted throughout the city. Impressively each vehicle has its own unique handling, which is an extra level of sheen than you would expect. The 15-20 hour story involves both exploration and completing goals in the city and 15 special assignments set in self contained levels. This works well and introduces variety to proceedings. The chief gameplay mechanic is the ability for Chase to switch between a number of disguises ranging from burglar to fireman. Each disguise once unlocked provides its own unique abilities for solving different puzzles. This is a good way of keeping the Lego games character swapping intact whilst casting you as a single character. One free play mode is unlocked you can use any of the games 290 disguises that there are to collect. These disguises include all of the games major and minor characters and beyond and fit into categories based on the disguises Chase can use in the story. Gameplay involves a mix of fighting, platforming and puzzle solving and whilst for the most part these are all simplistic they are nevertheless fun. In terms of gameplay there is little change from what you expect from the tried and tested Lego formula. The game is rarely challenging, but that has never been the point with the Lego games, instead it offers relatively easy childlike enjoyment.

Graphically the game is not groundbreaking but holds up well with minor blemishes only noticeable when the camera moves in close. The voice work for the game is well recorded and the sound work in general is good. The music whilst decent quickly becomes irritating though as the game only has a few tracks that constantly repeat. One area where the game falls down is in technical details. The loading times when starting or finishing levels, and entering the police station are horribly long and clock in at a minimum 40 seconds each. This can be in part understood by the huge open world nature of the city but nevertheless it is an irritating waste of times. More worryingly the game at times suffers from freezing and other minor technical problems but these are rare. Lack of multiplayer in such a family orientated game is another drawback. The gamepad is well implemented if hardly original, with it serving as a communicator, scanner and map.

Undercover is a fun, if hardly exceptional game that offers plenty of hours of enjoyment. The story can be finished in 15-20 hours but with loads to collect and unlock beyond that and a huge city to explore there is plenty of value to be had. It is one of the best games in the Lego series that benefits from being unchained by the absence of a license and whilst it may not be a classic, it is a welcome addition to the Wii U's library.

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