As a Wii U exclusive, Lego City Undercover was the very reason I purchased Nintendo’s under-supported console when it was first released. A questionable choice granted, but my Lego obsession knows very few bounds and beyond this, the console was left untouched. It’s quite funny then, that in its re-released form, I find myself playing Undercover once more on a Nintendo console; the Switch. Thankfully, given the Switch’s improvement in power over the Wii U, the Switch does Lego City justice and it’s a real treat to play as Chase McCain once more.
Those who played the game first time around will see that improvements have been made to Lego City, first and foremost with the resolution and frame rate. The game now runs at 1080p on the Switch (when docked) and the frame rate is much smoother than it was before (again, when docked). For the first ten hours or so of playtime, I ran Lego City undocked in order to see how it performed in both modes and to see how smoothly it ran. There were a few instances where the frame rate dropped slightly, and the resolution drop was noticeable at times, but there was nothing there to seriously dampen the experience.
Content wise, you’re getting exactly the same package that was released on the Wii U only this time there is a local co-op mode included. Much like the other Lego titles this means that another player can drop it any time and join in the brick-smashing fun. Sadly there are no missions or puzzles specifically designed for co-operative play, resulting in the second player acting as a second Chase as opposed to a partner of his. Given the size of the city though, there will be no shortage of things to see if you do decide to take on the game as a pair as opposed to solo.
All of the segments that were handled by the Wii U’s second screen are all now dealt with on-screen, which is at no detriment to the game whatsoever. Phone calls now pop up in the bottom corner of your screen and the environmental scanner is now controlled by the two thumbsticks rather than holding your controller up and moving it around manually. The former is much more convenient as you don’t have to divert your attention away from the screen to watch the conversation unfold.
You certainly don’t want to miss any of the story or script as it is probably the wittiest title that Traveller’s Tales (TT) have written to date. There are countless references to popular TV shows and movies which are superbly written and integrated throughout both subtly and as part of the main story. The reference to Morgan Freeman and The Shawshank Redemption is a noteworthy example of this.
If there’s one thing that lets Undercover down it’s the poor optimisation in the load times which plagued the Wii U outing, and sadly do the same here. It would have been nice to see TT give this area some attention to address the problem but this does not appear to be the case, with some load screens being evident for over a minute in some instances. Much like the frame rate drops, this isn’t something that will spoil the experience but it is noticeable nonetheless when you’re left waiting for the next section or chapter to load.
The main string of story missions will probably take the average gamer around ten hours to complete, but the sheer volume of extras on the side mean Lego City has a near endless play time which only adds to its appeal. It’s not perfect, that’s a given, but it’s the best Lego title there has been to date and should be played by newcomers and returners alike.
Free from the constraints of a movie license, the creativity of the team shines through and the banter between the cast creates some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. If you can prise yourself away from Zelda or Mario Kart, you will not regret visiting Lego City.