Is Lego City: Undercover just a Lego GTA clone or something much more?
by Andy W.
What actually is Lego City: Undercover
Lego City: Undercover was originally announced at E3 2011 by Satoru Iwata as a partnership between Nintendo, Warner Bros and TT Games. It’s a sandbox-style action game for the Wii U, with a prequel sister-title called Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins heading to the 3DS. Unlike recent popular Lego video games, this is not based on some big-budget Hollywood blockbuster but instead of Lego’s own extensively and hugely-popular Lego City series. The city itself is basically an amalgamation of famous US cities including New York and San Francisco, with as many famous landmarks they could squeeze in! This means the city is huge and can take up to an hour to travel around the perimeter alone! Luckily there is a fast-travel system using the city’s subways!
Intr0ducing Chase McCain
The star of the game is Lego City police officer Chase McCain who unsurprisingly goes undercover to apprehend the games various criminals. The game may be based on their own license, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t chock full of parodies, giving Chase many different move sets and special abilities – The game even features a Matrix-esque bullet-time feature to make the most of the on-screen action. He can also get his freestyle-on as he closes in on thief’s trying to escape down alleyways, up drainpipes and over rooftops!
It also features the fantastic humour and set-pieces as feature through all Lego video games over the last few years. In the trailer’s released there’s scenes of coffee-withdrawal, Chase being kicked in the nuts and the opera scene from Shawkshank Redemption, but with inmates dancing together!
To Catch a thief
Now let’s get onto the ‘Undercover’ nature of the game, as progress is made through the game you unlock new disguises such as a bank robber which gives you the ability to pick locks, a miner who can break up rocks or a builder who can use a pneumatic drill! Chase can also make use of the vehicles you see throughout the city, such as cars, boats, helicopters and of course ice cream trucks! As chase is exploring the city, you need to keep your eyes peeling for blue and white bricks which highlight an interactive element, such as a scalable wall or a grappling hook, which could lead you to a new clue! You also need to collect super bricks which contribute to building things such a a helicopter pad to summon an helicopter.
Being a Nintendo-published title, it will come as no surprise that the game makes fantastic use of the unique features of the Wii U. The GamePad acts as a radio, map and scanner. Chase receives video calls from dispatch to give him his missions, and once your off can use the touch screen to set beacons and way-points. What happens if your in a crowd and can’t identify your suspect? Simply activate the scanner feature and the suspect matching the description will be highlighted in red. So the game may appear as a Grand Theft Auto clone, but with the roles reversed adding new game play scenarios to make it feel like it’s own game!
At E3 2012 Nintendo showed a trailer which featured a segment where the player built a green warp pipe, as seen in the Mario series, which Chase was able to enter and disappear to some unknown location. It’s unclear if this feature will remain in the game as well as any other possible Nintendo cameos, but it wouldn’t be a surprise – it’s why we love them so!
Interactive Lego set
When you pre-order the game you will receive a limited edition Chase McCain Lego Mini Figure, which has been confirmed for both North America and Europe. However, on a recent Nintendo Direct it was announced that they are going one further and actually releasing a new Lego set in the Spring/Summer 2013 range refresh. Alongside the re-released Fire Station and several new city vehicles is the “High Speed Chase” playset, which features Chase McCain, a police 4×4, a police motorbike and a robber in a red sports car. The set also comes packed with a limited edition code which unlocks extra missions in the game!
The mysterious 3DS iteration
Announced alongside the Wii U game at E3 2011, but developed by TT Fusion. Not much is yet known about this project except that its a prequel to the Wii U game and it follows Chase McCain as a rookie cop. Expect to see the game fully revealed during an upcoming 3DS Nintendo Direct.
When can you get your hands on them?
Lego City: Undercover (Wii U) - North America – March 18th
Lego City: Undercover (Wii U) – Europe – March 28th
Lego City: Undercover – The Chase Begins (3DS) – North America – April 21st
Lego City: Underover – The Chase Begins (3DS) – Europe -Q2 2013
Lego City – 60007 High Speed Chase – North America – Out Now!
Lego City – 60007 High Speed Chase – Europe – Out Now!