The chase begins with McCain and he’s a chip off the old block.
Traveller’s Tales prequel to the successful Wii U version of LEGO City Undercover pins high hopes on protagonist Chase McCain as he begins life as a rookie cop, but unfortunately the game just doesn’t make the cut into the big leagues.
LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins starts out with the tell-tale humour that Lego games are most famous for, a great introductory cut scene featuring your boss – who typically hates you – and a no-nonsense, strong female officer who helps you out on occasion. And your first task? What every rookie cop dreams of – bringing in the doughnuts. Designed as a fun, if stereotypical, way of getting you into the game’s tutorial, it gives you the sense of how the game will eventually pan out.
From the get-go, the action adventure game presents you with a free-roaming LEGO world where you can explore to your heart’s content while smashing up the city’s letterboxes, or you can dive straight into the deep end with your first episodic mission. Starting out with the menial tasks, you work your way up the career ladder as Chase, bringing in the bad guys with a classic beat-em-up style. As the game progresses, you begin to unlock disguises which help you on your main quest, while snapping up those all-important collectables – after all, it is a LEGO game.
The 3DS game shrinks down the Wii U world and, at times, the episodic missions can feel monotonous and repetitive. But while the combat system is exciting at first, its lack of specificity allows it to suffer from the same fate as the missions, often resigning the player to button bashing in order to trigger the special actions.
While the game has its limitations and sneaks a few glitches in here and there, TT Games also pertains to the details. Each character, while having its own specific action, also has its own specific walk – Chase has a swagger, the farmer a humble gait, the burglar a slinking run. As always, the humour is top-notch and is certainly the game’s most appealing point – where else am I going to find a chicken that fires an egg from its rear end?
LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins sets itself up as a great prequel, but its downfall is, simply put, the lack of variety. Chase McCain is a big fish in a small pond and, sadly, he doesn’t quite reach the 3DS ocean.