Frivolous Waste of Time

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Archive for the tag “lego”

Lego Dimensions: The Lego Batman Movie Story Pack for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

The Lego Dimensions story pack for The Lego Batman Movie is the last currently announced and, fittingly, it’s easily the best. The Ghostbusters 2016 and Fantastic Beasts packs were good, but the transfer from their respective franchises into Lego, at times, felt a bit weird. Lego Batman is, well, already Lego, so the transfer of franchises is essentially seamless, presenting one of my favourite Lego Dimensions experiences yet, and definitely the strongest in Phase 2 since Adventure Time.

Unsurprisingly, this is a fairly straightforward adaption of the movie, which sees a lonely Batman find a family in adopted orphan Robin, Barbara Gordon and even, oddly enough, in his rivalry with The Joker. I liked the movie a lot and the game adapts it well, with a lot of the best gags landing jut as well here. There are a handful of changes to keep things moving at a better pace, but generally this is as faithful a game version of the movie you could ask for.

This is a Lego game, so you know what to expect. In the box you receive a cool Bat-computer template for portal, the Batwing and, pleasantly, two new characters unlike the one in the other packs. Robin is athletic and can squeeze through vents and Batgirl is essentially Batman, but she can use some special computers. Batman himself, using the model from the Starter Pack, can now activate certain detective skills to find clues. It never amounts to much from the usual hit shiny things, build thing, watch thing do its thing and progress, but, for whatever reason it’s something I don’t seem to stop finding fun.

The only Phase 2 Adventure World I’ve liked has been Adventure Time’s, with most simply being dull cities and Sonic the Hedgehogs making me, quite literally, feel physically sick. Gotham is another city, and whilst it has more personality than lots of the others, it still wound up being the least interesting part of the package.
Lego games don’t vary in quality much, but insomuch as this means anything, the Lego Batman Story Pack is one of the better ones.



Lego Dimensions: Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack for PS4, Ps3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

There aren’t many Lego games that you’d be able to call genuinely brilliant, but most operate comfortably at least around ‘good.’ Lego Dimensions has held on to that, with the entire experience operating at the boundary between good and great, which is fine, that’s where the series belongs. There hasn’t been much that I’ve actively disliked, until the Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack for Lego Dimensions which is a rather miserable experience.

There isn’t much story apart from Sonic and pals fight to take down Eggman who has nefarious plans. That’s ok though and the writing is decent in that snarky self-aware way that recent Sonic games have fallen into. I’d always choose genuinely good writing, but Sonic is such a poisoned brand at this point that self-mockery does feel like the only real option left. Inside the pack you get Sonic himself, a pointless Sonic car and Tails’ plane.

The core story Level is a decent length and takes in a series of classic Sonic locations from a range of games, from Green Hill Zone through to the first level of Sonic Adventure with the whale. I’m no massive Sonic fan; in fact, I picked this up to play with a Sonic obsessed friend of mine (poor bastard) through the local co-op. I’ve played the first one and dabbled with some of the 3D ones from the early 2000s like Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes, then more recently Sonic Generations, but it’s not a series I consider to be a real classic. A lot of the locations went over my head, but my depraved Sonic chum seemed to enjoy visiting a bunch of classic locations, so good for him I guess.

Somewhat appropriately, the Sonic Lego pack holds essentially the exact same issues as the main series; controlling a character like Sonic at high speed through a 3D environment in unbearable. Mario transitioned to 3D perfectly because it was a game about precision and tight control, but Sonic’s speed just doesn’t translate. This level pack has the same problem, with some fun moments of speed (never as fun as a proper Sonic game mind) hampered by the simple ‘puzzle solving’ that you have in the Lego games. I find these incredibly simple puzzles oddly satisfying normally, but they are an infuriating break of gameplay flow here. I was shocked by how well they were able to transfer over Portal to the Lego format, but they really didn’t manage to pull of Sonic the Hedgehog quite so well.

The Adventure World looks pretty nice but made me feel physically sick. Like, actual motion sick. Now, this was admittedly because of the frame rate drop accompanying co-op play combined with the high speed and open world design but when I returned to the open world in solo play I didn’t like it that much either. The same issues that has always plagued Sonic open worlds are still present here; it’s just not fun or exciting to explore. These Adventure Worlds are rarely great, excepting the Adventure Time one, but this is easily my least favourite so far.

The overall look is good, with the Sonic characters translating over to the Lego form surprisingly well. The music not so much, with Sonic falling into the same problem of The Simpsons when it came to licencing music. You don’t get Green Hill Zone, you get something which sort of sounds like it but isn’t as good. This may sound like a minor thing, but when you’re releasing a product which is, let’s face it, primarily trying to capitalise nostalgia, these details matter.
I’m afraid that Sonic the Hedgehog is easily my least favourite of these so far. They made a good stab at converting Sonic into the Lego formula, but it’s hard to claim that they pulled it off. This one is only for the die-hard Sonic fans, although to be fair my die-hard Sonic fan mate thought even less of it than me, so make of that what you will.



Lego Dimensions: Adventure Time Level Pack for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

Year Two of Lego Dimensions is here and kicking off with one of my favourite franchises, Adventure Time. Adventure Time is a perfect fit for Lego and produces what is, of the three I’ve played (the other two being Doctor Who and Portal), my favourite level pack so far.

As with all of the other level packs, the Adventure Time pack gives you Lego figures of a character and two vehicles. In this case your character is Finn and your vehicles are Jake transformed into a car and the Psychic Tandem War Elephant. The latter is one of the coolest Lego figures I’ve built for this game yet. On the digital side of things you get one linear story level and then access to the open Adventure World. The level is a fairly straightforward retelling of the Enchiridion/Lich arc from the show and is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It’s a level in a Lego game, you know what’s going to be there. As always with this game the charm comes from seeing your favourite franchise transferred into Lego form and I was left wanting a full-fledged Lego Adventure Time.

The highlight for me was, surprisingly, the Adventure World. The open worlds in Lego Dimensions have never been my favourite part; I’ve found them generally janky and annoying but the Adventure Time one is wonderful. To be honest, it’s still pretty janky, but the attention to detail makes up for it. Lots of locations from the show are here, from the Candy Kingdom to the Badlands to the Ice Kingdom to Castle Lemongrab and they’re all represented beautifully. Alongside the usual fetch/escort quests available here, there are some lovely parts which directly reference the show, such as the crying mountain who will only be calmed down if everyone in the village below him stops fighting. A highlight for me was travelling through a recreation of the digital computer world from the episode ‘Guardians of Sunshine.’ Since I have the Doctor and the TARDIS, I was also able to travel back in time to the post-apocalyptic Earth that makes up Ooo’s pre-history and do a quest for a pre-insanity Simon Petrikov/Ice King. Sure, the actual gameplay is no better than ever, but these games don’t really need to be anything more than functional, with the mechanics essentially being a delivery method for humour and charm,

The presentation in the Adventure Time pack is wonderful, with the art style transferred pretty much flawlessly. This is possibly the prettiest level I’ve played so far. The music is wonderful too, particularly in the Adventure World which loops between versions of classic Adventure Time songs like Bacon Pancakes and Finn’s buff baby song. The voice actors all seem to be in place for the major characters and I was particularly happy to hear the dulcet tones of my absolute favourite character, Lemongrab. The attention to detail here really is what sets this game apart and makes the rather steep price tag feel justifiable. As a downside I experienced several very irritating glitches of the hard crash to dashboard variety. Traveller’s Tales need to get a patch out for this sharpish.

If you own Lego Dimensions and like Adventure Time this one is a no-brainer. I didn’t spend long with it, but the time I did spend was really really fun. Sure, I was being fan serviced, but who cares if I’m enjoying it?


Lego Dimensions: Portal 2 Level Pack for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

I don’t really understand why Traveller’s Tales put Portal inside Lego Dimensions. It doesn’t really gel with the target audience and there’s no history of connection between the franchises. Miraculously, it works incredibly well.

The Portal level positions itself as a sort of sequel to Portal 2, with Chell returning to Aperture Science for another round against GLaDOS, with a very contrite Wheatley along for the ride. There’s really not much actual story, but the writing is just as good as in the main games. GLaDOS, Wheatley and Cave Johnson all get some great lines with the general tone of Portal converting surprisingly well over to Lego form. The voice acting and general design of the Portal 2 Level Pack are really what sets it apart.

In this pack you get a minifigure Chell, a Lego Companion Cube and a Turret. This pack plays quite differently to anything in the Starter Pack, being entirely puzzle based with no combat. Chell is armed with a Portal gun meaning that you are completing very simplified Portal puzzles, with the gels from Portal 2 thrown in for good measure. The Companion Cube isn’t very interesting, just being there for putting on switches and the turret works like a vehicle. Neither objects are used especially well, but the simple puzzling was enough. None of it was difficult, but it does require a level of thought that you never need in the main game.

When you complete the roughly hour long mission included you’re thrown into the open Adventure world. It’s more vertically oriented than those in the Starter pack, covering the old Aperture at the bottom working all the way up to the surface at the top. It is significantly more enjoyable to explore than the Adventure Worlds included in the Starter Pack and much more can be achieved just by Chell and her Portal gun. There are still things I couldn’t do without characters I don’t have, but I was able to do all the fun stuff.
I’m not convinced that the venn diagram convergence between Lego and Portal fans is particularly big, but if you are there this one is a no brainer. Hell, it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to a Portal 3!


Lego Dimensions for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

Enjoyment of the Lego games generally seems driven by how much you like the franchise in question. The actual mechanics are so simple that it’s the trapping of the series which provides the real entertainment value and so in that regard Lego Dimensions is possibly the most entertaining Lego game ever. It’s also the most expensive. During the story of Lego Dimensions you’ll encounter the worlds and characters of DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie, The Simpsons, The Wizard of Oz, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Doctor Who and, strangest of all, Portal.

Lego Dimensions is a mash up of over a dozen different franchises in a simplistic but enjoyable storyline. The evil Gary Oldman voiced Lord Vortech seeks to combine all dimensions into one under his control and part of his plan sees the kidnapping of Robin, Frodo Baggins and Metalbeard from their respective DC, Lord of the Rings and Lego Movie dimensions. Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle leap into action to rescue their friends and protect the multiverse from Vortech’s machinations.

It’s kind of impossible to work out whether the writing for Lego Dimensions is actually good or if the fan service-y crossover stuff is making me so gloriously happy that I’ve lost my critical faculties. At the beginning each level is fairly self contained; for example, the first level is set in Oz and is played relatively straight, although with the obvious twist that the Wicked Witch of the West is encountering Batman. As the game goes on things begin to cross over and merge to a greater extent with a glorious sense of unpredictability. Lego Dimensions makes brilliant use of most of its properties, particularly DC, Doctor Who and Portal which come out best of all. There are dozens of gloriously funny and charming moments, but I won’t mention any of them because they’re frankly the main thing that makes this game worth playing.

The first thing you’re asked to do when you boot up Lego Dimensions is to build the ‘portal’ out of real life Lego. The toys-to-life experience is fundamentally an illusion; you’re buying physical DLC which unlocks things on disk. Lego Dimensions does a pretty fantastic job of masking this, making the actual construction of the component parts immerse you into the experience and boost the illusion of the toys coming to life inside your TV. The Dimensional Portal and Lego builds look amazing, with the portal itself being a wonder. It’s split into three parts and can hold up to seven different builds, with the three parts being able to light up independently. This functionality is actually integral to the gameplay, which I’ll come to later.

The core mechanics of Lego Dimensions are pretty much the same as they were back in the original Lego Star Wars. If that’s a deal breaker you may as well stop right here and I wouldn’t necessarily blame you. They’re solid, but unspectacular with simple puzzles. That said, I do find a certain satisfaction in putting all the pieces into place and watching things unfold. I would compare the feeling of playing these games to following Lego kit instructions. Sure, using the blocks to create something unique is more pure, but there is an undeniable satisfaction in following the instructions and watching things come together. In some ways Lego Dimensions is more limited than the regular games as there are only three characters in the starter pack, with all other characters only available by purchasing the minifigures. This means that the variety of a game like Lego Marvel Super Heroes is missing as we only ever get to use Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle’s abilities. The biggest flaw lies in the vehicle controls; the starter pack comes with the Batmobile and it plays horribly, meaning that I only used it when the game demanded it of me.

The most interesting new mechanic lies in the nifty use of the portal itself. Throughout the game you gain five different portal abilities and the interplay between them can get quite complicated, at least by Lego game standards. The first sees a series of blue, yellow and pink coloured wormholes open up on the screen. On the physical portal in front of you, the three sections light up in those colours and you teleport the characters around the screen by physically moving their minifigure onto the necessary colour. There are loads of other nifty applications which I won’t get into so you can discover them yourself. Once again, your enjoyment of this comes from your ability to suspend your disbelief and immerse yourself in the illusion. The fun you’re experiencing is literally just moving a Lego minifigure from one space to another, which doesn’t sound fun. In practice though, it really is and I massively appreciate that Lego didn’t go the lazy route and mindlessly imitate Skylanders or Disney Infinity.

The main story of Lego Dimensions is actually pretty lengthy by the standards of the series, with the franchise hopping creating a natural sense of variety as you go through. A lot of the value comes from the ‘adventure worlds’ which are accessed separately from the main campaign. These are small open worlds set within each franchise, where you can gather collectibles, rebuild the world using studs and complete missions. You access these by placing a character from that franchise on the Dimensional Portal, so with the Starter Pack you have access to the DC, Lord of the Rings and Lego Movie worlds. These are simple but fun little additions, although exploring them is a bit frustrating as over half of each world’s puzzles require characters I don’t own and never intend to own. It would have been nice if each adventure world was self contained for powers from the characters from that franchise as ultimately I was only able to scratch the surface. Although I’ll review it separately, at time I writing I have played the Portal Expansion and found this to be less of a problem here, so maybe this is primarily an issue with the Starter Pack.

I don’t really know how Lego were able to acquire all of these rights, with voice actors and music intact, but they did. The fact that it’s actually Peter Capaldi playing the Doctor, or Christopher Lloyd as Emmet Brown or Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle really helps to build the epic crossover feel that this game is going for. For me though, the Portal cast steal the show, with Ellen McClain and Stephen Merchant back on fine form as GLaDOS and Wheatley. I forgot how much I love these characters and Lego Dimensions captures them perfectly. The use of franchise music is good too, from the lovely Lord of the Rings Shire tune to Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters to the iconic Back to the Future theme when the DeLorean shows up. It’s all capped of with a new Jonathan Coulton GLaDOS song. The only franchise that really let me down was The Simpsons, which had no new voice recordings or even the rights to the theme music. I love The Simpsons and this was pretty disappointing; there’s pretty much zero chance I’ll ever buy any of The Simpson’s expansions now.

The question of Lego Dimensions is one of value. Can I confidently claim that there is £70 worth of game here? I’m not so sure; I got this game as a very generous Christmas present so I’m not sure how I’d feel if I’d plonked down that much money myself for this experience. All I can say is that I had a lovely time with it. At present, I only plan on playing the Portal and Doctor Who expansions, although I may go for Ghostbusters too if reviews are good.


Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for Wii U, Wii, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PC and OS X

Oh God these games are such a guilty pleasure for me. I just can’t stop playing them; something about them just appeals to me so much. Lego have developed a really successful monopoly on all things superhero haven’t they, with the fact they also hold the rights to Marvel Lego games. Lego Batman 2 isn’t quite as good as the later Marvel game, but, as all these games are, it’s a lot of fun.

Lego Batman 2 opens at the Gotham Man of the Year awards, where Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are up against each other. The proceedings are interrupted by an attack by the Joker, which promptly sees him captured by Batman and Robin then thrown into Arkham. Luthor breaks Joker free to help him win the imminent Presidential election, and find a stash of Kryptonite to protect his ambitions from Superman.

This was the first Lego game with voice acting, and the brilliant humour present in Lego City Undercover and Lego Marvel Superheroes hasn’t quite been perfected yet. Still, there are plenty of laughs, with most to be found in the comedy duo of the sunny Boy Scout optimism of Superman and the permanently dour attitude of Batman. The actual plot is pretty weak, lacking even the simple plot twists and fun found in other Lego games. Still, it’s worth the odd chuckle.

Lego Batman 2 plays like every other Lego game, and bears most in common with Lego Marvel Superheroes unsurprisingly. Certain abilities and characters are basically the same between games; Superman and Iron Man are basically the same, both being armed with flight, strength and the ability to melt gold stuff with laser eyes/cannon. You’ll still be smashing and building your way through a series of levels, with sections broken up by the open world, in this case Gotham City. The open worlds in these games very much peaked with Lego City Undercover, and there isn’t really much fun to be had in the open world, unless you’re an avid collector. The biggest difference is to be found in the range of costumes Batman and Robin can come across, which give them different abilities. Still, with a Lego game you know what you’re getting, and I got what I expected, which is no bad thing.

One disappointment is that, despite the subtitle of ‘DC Superheroes’ and with the exception of Superman, the other members of the Justice League play quite a minor role, only showing up at the very end. They seem like they’d be fun to play too; the Flash’s speed seemed really enjoyable for the very brief time I got to play as him, and the Green Lantern got to use his ring for a light twist on the typical building mechanics in the series. I guess I don’t really want any more Lego Batman, I want Lego Justice League, more in keeping with the epic scale of Lego Marvel Superheroes.

It looks as charming as these games always do, with the voice acting being as top notch as ever. The music has some nice little touches too, with the highlight being John William’s Superman Theme kicking in every time you lift off as Superman in Gotham. There’s a lot of polish in these games, and Traveller’s Tales really commit to whatever series they’re adapting with such gusto.

This is a Lego game, and you know what you’re going to get? Like DC heroes and like the Lego games; you’ll probably like it! Apathetic towards DC heroes and the Lego games; there’s nothing here for you.Legobatman2

Lego Marvel Super Heroes for Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC

Ah, I do like me these Lego games! They’ve become comfortingly familiar; nothing new or innovative from a gameplay perspective, but consistently fun, charming and well made. If you like the licence, there’s a safe bet you’ll enjoy the Lego game. I like Marvel. I like the Lego games.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes opens with Doctor Doom coming into the possession of a mythic artefact known as the ‘Cosmic Brick’, which he plans to use to control the world. He brings with him a team of villains, including Magneto, Green Goblin and Loki. Under the overall command of Nick Fury, the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spiderman ally to take down Dr. Doom and the other villains. Oh, and they’re all made of Lego. So…yeah!

Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a fun romp through many of the main features of the Marvel Universe, with the main reference point being the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which contains films such as Iron Man and The Avengers. The thrill of seeing the Avengers team up with the X-Men isn’t really lessened by the fact that they’re Lego, and the game comes to a genuinely really cool conclusion. Sadly, Lego Marvel Super Heroes isn’t quite as funny as it should be. Lego City Undercover was genuinely hilarious, but this iteration doesn’t really raise more than a chuckle. Those chuckles will come pretty regularly though.

There’s not much new on the gameplay front in Lego Marvel Super Heroes. There are 15 missions, punctuated by free roaming sections, in this case New York City. The missions generally revolve around simply combat, basic puzzles and smashing and building. You know how these games work, and TT have this format down to a…er, T at this point. The superpowers are fun, with a few stock archetypes which play certain ways. There are the flying, shooty characters, such as Iron Man and The Human Torch, big smash-y characters like Hulk and The Thing and characters who can reach distant objects, like Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic. Still, these characters generally feel different to play, and it’s a lot of fun switching between the characters and experimenting with their powers. The flying controls are a bit of a nightmare to get used to, but once you do soaring around the levels as Iron Man or Thor is a lot of fun. The co-op is back after its absence from Lego City Undercover, and is predictably a lot of fun. The Wii U version has the unique advantage of allowing each player a separate screen, although this does come with some frame-rate issues. It’s worth it though.

There’s plenty of stuff to do if you’re so inclined. I’m normally a sucker for a good open world, but something about this game’s New York just felt…off. I’m not sure. I just didn’t have a huge amount of fun with side stuff and found exploration a chore. I liked the open world in Lego City Undercover, and I feel more genuine effort was made there than it was here. This being a Lego game, there’s an insane amount of collectibles and replay value, so if those are the sort of things you value in a game, Lego Marvel Super Heroes will keep you very happy.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a surprisingly lovely looking game. It’s become an odd trademark of the series to contain genuinely epic moments which are oddly not-undermined by the fact that everything is made of Lego. The ending of Lego City Undercover in particular is a stunning set piece moment. This game is filled with those, and there’s a wonderful attention to detail in everything from the surroundings to the actual minifigures themselves. The voice acting is cheesy but in a good way, with the star being the appearance of Clark Gregg as The Avengers’ and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Agent Coulson acting as an overseer of sorts. The music is actually pretty epic, as it was in Lego City Undercover before it.

The Lego games have built up a reputation for solid quality, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes certainly doesn’t break that record. It’s an immensely fun, light game, perfect for chilling out with a friend. If you like Marvel and Lego, you’ll like this. download (7)

Lego City Undercover for Wii U

Some games surprise you, providing you with something utterly different to what you expected, and some games are exactly what you expected. This is the latter. This game is regularly, somewhat dismissively, referred to as ‘Lego GTA’ which is…er, exactly what it is. What is surprising is just how fun and charming the end result is, with Lego City Undercover standing as one of the most out and out enjoyable gaming experiences which I’ve had in a while, and probably the best exclusive yet for the Wii U.

Lego City Undercover opens with the return of supercop Chase McCain to Lego City following the escape of master criminal Rex Fury from jail, who Chase had originally put behind bars a few years previously. Chase goes undercover in the Lego City criminal underworld to find where Rex is hiding and put an end to the crime wave that he has orchestrated.

Lego City is in places a somewhat generic setting, but there are certain interesting, and surprisingly beautiful areas. First of all, Lego City is suitably huge, providing a massive environment filled with things to do. Open world games can sometimes feel somewhat empty, as the developers fail to find enough stuff to fill the huge world they created, but this isn’t the case with Lego City Undercover. You’re never far from a side challenge to complete, a ‘Super Brick’ to build new structures in the city, a new vehicle or new Lego minifigure to play as. Lego City feels packed with content and things to do, although it’s all somewhat skin deep. To criticise a game like Lego City Undercover for not being immersive seems a bit silly, but this is a key aspect of open world games, that element which made Skyrim, Fallout 3 and GTA 4 so brilliant. Some environments really stand out though, such as the gorgeous national park and the glitzy Time Square parody, and exploration of Lego City never gets dull.

I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but the plot of Lego City Undercover is highly entertaining. If loving the humour of games like this makes me childish then I guess I’m childish, because this game regularly had me in stitches. Chase is an endearing protagonist, part Zapp Brannigan-esque swagger and part genuine badass, I enjoyed following his story and the amusing characters which he encounters. As with many elements of this game, there’s more effort put into it than it necessarily really needs, but it’s these funny moments which will stick in my mind more than the gameplay.

The actual gameplay of Lego City Undercover will be very familiar to anyone who’s played a Lego game before. There are lots of simple puzzles, basic combat, collecting and building, with the twist lying in the open world. The puzzles are built around Chase’s eight disguises, each equipped with different abilities, and can be swapped around in an instant. It’s always obvious where to go next to solve a puzzle, but it’s oddly compelling, if fairly mindless, stuff. This being a GTA style game, there’s lots of driving involved, and most vehicles actually handle fairly well. The exception lies in motorbikes and quadbikes, which are cursed by floaty and lacklustre handling, but by and large driving is fun. The biggest flaw in the central mechanics lies in the highly dull combat; combat has never been a strong point in the Lego games, but wailing on enemies with a Lego Lightsaber or  zapping foes with a Lego wand was much more fun than this. The combat is based upon grappling and throwing enemies, with a simple countering system thrown in as well. It’s just so simple and dull that I wonder why it was included at all, the game doesn’t need it and it actually would have been rather bold to create a game like this with no combat, rather than tacking some on where it’s not needed. Still, Lego City Undercover is mostly a lot of fun to play, and Traveller’s Tales clearly have the mechanics of these games down to an art now. If there’s one element which holds this game back it’s the absolutely insane loading times. I’ve honestly never played anything else quite like it. I kept a book next to me so managed to avoid boredom during these, but the particularly impatient will hate this.

There’s a vast amount of content in Lego City Undercover, and a surprising amount of it is well designed and fun. Alongside missions taking place in the main Lego City sandbox, there are 15 ‘Special Assignments’ which follow a more tradition Lego game structure, basically big levels filled with puzzles and things to do. These are a lot of fun, and often involve some surprisingly epic set piece moments. In games packed with collectibles, as Lego City Undercover is, it’s important that these collectibles are hidden cleverly enough to be fun to find, and Lego City does this well. I don’t have nearly enough time to get even close to 100%, after completing the story and harvesting a decent amount of the collectibles I only reached 26%, but I suspect that doing so would be quite a fun and satisfying experience, and perfect for kids. This is the kind of game that I would have gone insane for as a kid (although I still have a huge amount of fun as an adult). There are plenty of side activities too, from the predictable such as bonus arrests to time trials and police chases to the amusingly bizarre such as finding pigs to launch from cannons and aliens to capture. Seriously, this is a game simply packed with content, even by the standards of a genre which doesn’t usually lack for stuff to do.

One of the most pleasant surprises of Lego City Undercover is the voice acting, which is charming and funny throughout. Fun turns from the likes of Peter Serafinowitz and Adam Buxton add to the proceedings, with the absolute star having to be the infectious energy of the bumbling cop Frank Honey. I’ll confess to being an absolute sucker for good naturedly stupid characters, and Frank had me chuckling at his adorable dumbness throughout. This being a Lego game there’s only so much you can do with character animations, but they manage to be surprisingly expressive. Super stylised games like this are often actually the best for conveying expressions; remember Wind Waker? Ok, this game isn’t visually amazing or anything, but it certainly looks nice, and certain set pieces are as stunning as any in major ‘adult’ gaming. Seriously, the final five minutes of Lego City Undercover is one of the most epic moments which I’ve ever seen in a game, all the more amazing for being so unexpected. Another wonderful surprise is the fantastic soundtrack; the licensed music, such as Katrina and the Wave’s Walking on Sunshine, is nice, but it’s the original score which truly stands out. There’s some truly epic orchestral stuff, as well as some cool 70s police show style funk. One tune in particular was one of the most uplifting and joyful pieces of game music which I’ve ever heard, instilling the kind of feeling in me which the Gusty Garden Galaxy theme is Super Mario Galaxy, the Great Sea theme in Wind Waker and Hyrule Field theme in Ocarina of Time gave me. This music played whenever you rode around on a pig, with the juxtaposition of the uplifting and the ridiculous encapsulating the charm of this game in a way which nothing else can. It feels bizarre writing this, but Lego City Undercover has my favourite video game soundtrack since Skyrim.

Lego City Undercover isn’t going to convert people who are already resistant to the Lego formula, but for those who are highly susceptible for charm and humour, Lego City Undercover will be an absolute treat. This is a game packed with content and effort, and is probably the best game released so far for the Wii U. lego-city-undercover-walkthrough

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