Before we go any further in this LEGO City Undercover review, let’s get The elephant in the room out of the way first. Please take a moment to sit quietly and listen to the following audio excerpt. It is important that you listen right until the end. RIGHT UNTIL THE END CHEEKY CHOPS.[audio:http://maninhispyjamas.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/lego-1.mp3]
Now I have not read any reviews for this game (or any other game for that matter) however I just know that people will get their wireless consoles in a tangle because they have to wait the 1 minute and 13 seconds or so that you have just waited for their game to load. I KNOW it.
Let’s just check our reality for a second there brothers and sisters. It is 1 minute and 13 seconds for heavens sake. Is that long in the scheme of things? I don’t think it is. Who is old enough to remember the time frames involved when fooling around with a ZX Spectrum? I am. I’m still waiting for a game of Manic Miner to LOAD”” from 1983. 1 minute and 13 seconds is the technological equivalent of the Lord Almighty himself wirelessly interfacing with my Wii U yo. Chill.
The sound track is pleasing enough. Funky monkey meets Shaft. Why not do something productive and engaging to pass the time? Why not meditate, or text someone? Why not put the kettle on, or touch yourself? Even better, get someone to touch you. It really doesn’t matter, it’s only for 1 minute and 13 seconds. COME ON. It is a very short period of time (ask my wife).
Here is how I pass the loading time. RIGHT TO THE END[audio:http://maninhispyjamas.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/lego-2.mp3]
(I must apologise for the sound quality I was using two polystyrene cups, 75 cm of string, an old TV antennae and wine).
And yes I know one or two of you may argue that as the size of my saved game increases, so will the time to load it, but hey, whatever Trevor. If it gets up to a decent amount of time, I may learn a second language while I am waiting, or try and remember where I left the children.
Rex Fury has escaped from Albatross Prison and a crime wave has hit LEGO City. Chase Mccain returns to ensure the safety of Natalia (love interest) who is now on the Witness Protection Program, due to Chase’s blunder live on National TV.
Chase McCain is the hero of our story. We are Chase Mccain. Literally. With his chiselled LEGO head and short, squat, squarish body, he cuts a fine undercover figure bounding about LEGO City, swinging from this and jumping from that. He changes disguises in the blink of an eye, and with a swagger and steely gaze into camera, he is the very epitome of 70’s TV cop. Now I come to think about it, he bears a striking resemblance to two CHIPS.
Co-inky-dink? I think not.
On a behind the scenes note, whoever the actor is that voices Chase ( I expect I could find out if I tried, but I can’t be bothered) he is very good. He has excellent comic timing and intonation, and delivers the genuinely funny lines with aplomb. Frank Honey is a funny dimwit. Listen out for him.
In fact a big shout out to all of the actors/voice over artistes and writers. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny at times and is a hugely entertaining part of the game. So much so, my wife is quite content to sit on the sofa of an evening, drinking wine and watching me play LEGO City Undercover.
(Cheese and crackers – just read that back – I have a great wife. Must remember to talk to her more).
LEGO City is a vast Metropolis unapologetically stuck in the 70’s. This pleases me. With the musical accompaniment of the Starsky and Hutch-esque theme tune, one can explore the City following the story. Or not. That is the bit that melts my brain…. I can explore at my leisure. I can go ANYWHERE I choose and EVERYTHING is there waiting for me. Like a real place….that is always there?
Question – If a tree falls in a LEGO City and no-one is there to hear it, does it make a Dolby Pro-Logic II Sound?
Just think about it for a second. WHEREVER I go and WHENEVER I go there, everything is there. EVEN IF, I choose NOT to go where I am expected to go to by the game. Huh? Huh? Maybe I Should get out more?
Sure there are locked doors and parts of the narrative that I can’t access until I have earned the privilege by completing tasks and fulfilling objectives, but in terms of the Cityscape it’s free access. Suddenly 1 minute and 13 seconds seems even less of an issue when you contemplate the enormity of the program that it must be loading……
I think I may have expected LEGO City to work on the same principle as The Trueman Show? However I have retraced my steps, unexpectedly jumped over hedges and quickly run behind buildings, but to date, have found nothing untoward. I have not found little LEGO actors sitting in make-up, drinking coffee and eating bagels, nor have I stumbled upon any overweight LEGO stage-hands wearing black and shifting scenery. Very clever Nintendo. Very clever.
I think the technical term for me being able to go anywhere in the City is ‘Open world’. Although I prefer the term ‘Voodoo’ and shall be sacrificing a goat this very evening to protect my family. I suggest you throw salt over your shoulder and hit yourself in the goolies after reading this review. Just to be safe.
Everything in the city, is made of LEGO (well duh) and thus most things can be smashed into tiny little LEGO pieces to earn valuable resources. Some of the tiny little pieces can then be rebuilt into new and useful things to help you along your way. There’s different colours and shapes and sizes, all with their own stories. Look out for blue and white LEGO pieces, they allow you engage on a whole new level (wink).
I like driving in my LEGO Car
The vehicles are fun, all different clunky shapes and sizes and all of them handle slightly differently. This is an utter irrelevance to me however as I am SO appallingly bad at driving, that the nuances of ‘handling’ to me, are similar to those of a nurse with the hiccups trying to insert a catheter.
Regardless, driving around LEGO City is GREAT. With screeching tyres, wailing sirens, traffic to avoid (or intercept) and bits of LEGO flying off your vehicle every time you have a collision, it’s a BLAST. Careful though, too many fender benders and your transport will collapse into tiny pieces and you’ll be forced to commandeer an alternative with your Policeman’s whistle and commanding presence. Trust me on this. Don’t make me show you my badge people!
LEGO City and the Wii U
The Wii U GamePad integrates very nicely with the game. Early on in proceedings, Chase is issued with a very modern (?) police communicator so that he can be contacted by Ellie Philips a foxy honey bunch, with a case of the blatant hots for our guy. Up she pops on the GamePad screen to alert Chase to crimes taking place or to give him key information to help him/you through the game. She has a twinkle in her eye, watch out for her. She’s a bit too square and sharp edgy for my tastes, but in LEGO terms ‘How you doing?’
Through his communicator (the GamePad) Chase can follow invisible footprints, locate hidden treasures, track criminals and navigate around the city. By holding it up to the TV and activating the scanner, you can overlay what is on the TV with a blue print map on the Gamepad. On this scanner, criminals and hidden objects can be seen, much like a heat seeking device image. Once you find what you are looking for, you lock on to the target, which places them on your map. Then turn of the scanner back onto map mode and track them/it down officer.
It was my intention to explain to you how the Wii U GamePad integrates with the game, in technological terms. However, after 3 hours of bashing it with a hammer and two nights of throwing stones at the moon, I am still non the wiser. Something to do with the sensor on top of the TV, WiFi and the devil. I refer you to Nintendo’s website, Spencer Kelly or my best friend Brian who knows about these things – aka witches.
LEGO City Undercover, Wii U and me.
In conclusion I LOVE it. I love the game and I love the console and GamePad. Incidentally the latter has now modernised my TV – I am now on-line with the fantastic web browser, have all sorts of new and exciting things to do via my flat screen and I have a very fancy remote control, which now controls everything. BOOMTOWN baby.
My kids are a little bit too young at the moment. I did try my 3 year old and he did enjoy using the GamePad and running Chase around in circles, whilst he laughed hysterically (my son not Chase). Wifey and I decided The Boy was not ready though ultimately for Computer games after the MOTHER of all tantrums because he couldn’t drive the cars more than 1 centimetre without crashing. Serves him right for having the fine motor coordination of a three-year-old. Don’t know where he gets that from…..?
My wife has started playing the game, which speaks volumes, as she has very little interest in that kind of thing. But that’s the draw of LEGO City – bright, colourful, funny and instantly accessible. Which incidentally, is how I would review my wife.
That’s your review baby – do with it what you will.
Oh and watch out for the shark – he is brutal and makes me jump every time.
FYI – I was provided with a copy of LEGO City Undercover and a Console for the purposes of this review, but the thoughts, opinions and falsetto are mine. And for that I do not apologise.
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