The sole reason that I wanted a Wii U was to get Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins but I still haven't gotten one. When I found out that a version was going to be released for the 3DS, I knew what my next game was going to be.
I suppose this review will be read mostly by parents so I'll try tackling what parents look for in games but I also realize that many adults, like myself, grew up on some Lego video games and had Legos ourselves (I still play with mine from time to time) so I'll cover issues that we'd be concerned with too.
I grew up playing the Star Wars Lego games more than any of the others. I had Lord of the Rings for my 3DS as a demo but it didn't excite me. For anyone who has played these games, LCU: TCB is very much like these previous games; however, it does have some significant differences.
Remember that unless I specify otherwise, I am only partly through the game. I have not beaten the story yet.
For parents, I must tell you what my first impression was as I began playing the game. I was quite surprised by how adult it seemed to be. Not that there was nudity or a tremendous amount of violence, but it just has this feel like children wouldn't get a lot of the humor. For parents that are overly against violence, I would highly suggest not buying for your children. Of course the game has violence as it is about a crime fighter cop, but I understand some parents don't want their children entertained with any violence. There is no blood, just Lego pieces fly when other Lego people are hit. The game does not allow the player to attack anyone and everyone except only the bad guys. The game does allow the player to destroy lots of pieces of the city which seems odd that a game about a crime fighting cop would allow players to cause such unnecessary mayhem. The game actually takes it one bit farther in encouraging players to do so. The game has at least one "identity" the player must take on to be a burglar and break into things. The game has an E10+ rating from the ESRB, which means that it's borderline T for Teen and E for Everyone.
To compare this game, it would be most appropriate to compare it with Crackdown, True Crime, and Grand Theft Auto. The only differences between the games are the obvious rating M for Mature for all of these titles, Legos instead, and no blood in LCU.
The game shares the same characteristics as the other mentioned games in that it allows for the player to commandeer vehicles, fight with gangs, and an open world gameplay. For those of us who grew up on Lego Island, this game shares more of the characteristics than other recent Lego games with regard to layout and 3D gameplay. The game uses a 3D camera most of the time with the player being allowed to move it in a 360 degree rotation. The main character has the option to move about the city in any way he/she sees fit. However, the game is not first person as the first Lego Island was.
The game takes advantage of the touch screen in a way of just having additional controls. There's nothing that is really exciting, perhaps breaking into some safes, but I have yet to see any other uses for it that make me really impressed. The game does take advantage of the 3DS' internal compass causing players to rotate in 360 degrees in person.
The game itself is fun and challenging. I can imagine myself being a little younger and really enjoying the game and being thoroughly challenged. As an adult, some of the stuff can get tricky but the game gets redundant once you've mastered the first few battles. What I wanted to see more of was like is in the more adult games about cops. I love that the game is open world and there are secrets to discover, but I was hoping to get called on the random to respond to an emergency or to help citizens that are randomly being harassed. While there are some of these spread throughout the map, these are treated more like secrets and do not seem to reappear later in the game.
I'm still playing through the game right now, but this is my impression so far. At this point, I imagine that the game will not be open ended meaning that once I'm done, the only other option is to restart and play again. I'll update this post when I'm finished.
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