Thursday, March 28, 2013

LEGO City: Undercover (Impressions)

We have a Wii U, but there hasn't really been a good reason to have one. Until now.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.

"This game should be called 'LOADING CITY: Undercover'," Eli 11.7 said. He's right. The loading screens are excruciatingly long.

Cars handle like pigs, just like in Grand Theft Auto.

Everything else. Seriously.

This is one of the most coherent open worlds I've seen, far more coherent than any of the Grand Theft Auto games. It's also jam-packed with interesting locations and events, which clearly indicates a meticulous, careful design.

Without a doubt, this is also one of the funniest games I've ever played. The writing is absolutely stellar, and so is the soundtrack. Hell, everything is stellar here. It's a whimsical and exuberant world, and everything is lighthearted, as you'd expect from a LEGO game.

It's also a huge game. We're at 5% completion after about 4 hours, and I'm almost sure that the 100% only represents completing story mode, not sandbox mode, where you can roam anywhere and do anything, once it's unlocked via the story.

In just a few hours, we've jumped off waterfalls, soared over a canyon in a motorcycle, done more brilliant car jumps than I can even remember, and absolutely had a full-on blast.

I've played previous LEGO games, and always had issues with the linear nature of the gameplay. They were always interesting, but after a while, it all seemed so repetitive. In this game, though, the missions are more varied and interesting, and when we're in sandbox mode, there are no missions at all. Playing as an undercover policeman instead of a criminal also turns out to be all kinds of fun--far more fun than being the bad guy all the time (as in GTA).

If the Wii U had launched with LEGO City: Undercover as the pack-in game, with its 50+ hours of gameplay, I think the reception for the system would have been entirely different. It's that good--a silly joy to play or even watch.

This game isn't getting nearly the attention it deserves, but Traveller's Tales has made a brilliant open-world experience.

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