LEGO City Undercover, understandably, was considered a big deal by Nintendo when it came to the Wii U exclusively back in early 2013. While it was a welcome arrival, it struggled like various other titles, and though Nintendo published the title it was evidently not locked down permanently.
One of the few non-licensed LEGO game projects has now arrived on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, with a slightly new look but with much of the same content.
LEGO City Undercover is the best iteration of a very familiar experience, which is as reassuring or problematic as that might seem. The overall size of the over world is very impressive, as is the way Traveller’s Tales layered in its wide range of collectible goodies, which ensures hours upon hours of activity after the campaign ends, which should take the average person approx 10 to 12 hours, with time for hunting down some of those collectibles.
Undercover’s story is an incredibly entertaining homage to countless movies and television shows, and manages to feature a very strong cast of characters.
Of course, rampant loading times, no co-op and a variety of other problems (loading times, routine game play) hold Undercover back from truly taking the next step for the larger LEGO franchise.
That is still for the most point where we stand on it today, with the main difference being the inclusion of local two-player co-operative play for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC versions of the game. This brings the updated release of LEGO City Undercover more in line with the vast majority of LEGO titles as a second player can now drop in and drop out at any point.
The co-op support in LEGO City Undercover is pretty bare bones. Rather than introduce a second character into the game’s story, player two is just a palette swapped version of main hero Chase McCain. Was hoping for something new and more exciting in this title, but sadly not in this case!
Also there are no specific missions, puzzles, or activities designed to cater to the co-operative play, it is the exact same content as the Wii U version only now it can be played with two of you working your way to completion instead of just only one player.
This is still a fun sandbox game to mess around in with a second player particularly given the 100 different vehicles to play with, and certainly the addition of co-op helps to make this re-release of LEGO City Undercover superior to the original to some small degree.
The only other major difference is now the migration of the Wii U’s second screen features onto a single screen. LEGO City Undercover hardly made the most of the Wii U Game pad anyway, so these tweaks have a fairly minor impact on the experience overall.
It is certainly more convenient to have video communications windowed in the corner of the main screen rather than having to keep looking down in your lap while you are driving somewhere, and although controlling the environment scanner with thumb sticks is not as fun as physically holding up the Game pad was, it is no less functional.
Each version of the re-released LEGO City Undercover runs at 1080p (including the Switch version, when docked) and at a more stable frame rate compared to the original (with the exception of the un-docked Switch version, which features a slightly worse frame rate than of the Wii U original).
The visuals are otherwise unchanged, but I was not exactly expecting the addition of high resolution textures or anything since well, almost everything in the game is made out of smooth surfaced LEGO bricks through out the game.
One thing I did hope for was much better load times, but unfortunately this does not appear to be an area that the developer had given much thought or love to. While it varies a little between the platforms, LEGO City Undercover still features rather slow load times still.
Even the Switch version, which I downloaded digitally and have running off a high speed Micro SD card, can still take anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute when transitioning from an interior to the open world, which is a lengthy period of time to regularly stare at a static screen.