Following on from getting the platinum trophy in LEGO Ninjago The Movie The Game, I decided it only makes sense to follow that with the other LEGO game that was […]
Following on from getting the platinum trophy in LEGO Ninjago The Movie The Game, I decided it only makes sense to follow that with the other LEGO game that was leaving PS Now in June – LEGO City Undercover. I went into it thinking that it would be a better game but a longer platinum. After 41 hours of LEGO man running around being undercover and stuff, I can confirm – it’s a better game but a LOOONGER platinum.
It’s weird to feel weird about writing about a game where you play as a LEGO cop and yet still feel super…uncomfortable. At the time of writing we’re still in the middle of the protests against police brutality against the black community and even though this game obviously is aimed at kids and is never going to tackle real issues I think I’d feel better if I addressed something before I continue on. Black Lives Matter and they matter too much to be ended early by police brutality and it’s about time real change is made. These are my thoughts and will always be my thoughts until the day is can safely be said that this issue is solved. I’m not the best at articulating my thoughts on these things but there can be no mistake – Black Lives Matter. Let’s keep working towards a positive change.
Anyway, LEGO police game…
LEGO City Undercover takes the regular LEGO formula and makes it OPEN WORLD. While other LEGO games had hub areas, Undercover extends the hub area to be a whole open world – complete with a crazy amount of collectibles and repetitive tasks to do in order to reach 100%.
The story focuses on Chase McCain, an officer who arrested the big villain Rex Fury yet his police chief took credit for the score and sent McCain away. However, Rex Fury has escaped prison and LEGO City’s Mayor wants Chase to bring Rex to justice once again. Through working undercover in a couple of gangs, balancing his cop life and his undercover life while occasionally rescuing the girl of his dreams – albeit a girl who wants nothing to do with Chase. It’s like a kid friendly version of Sleeping Dogs except Sleeping Dogs is a tremendous game. This…is fine.
The main game is split into 15 missions within around 15 chapters of Chase’s journey that has him starting off arresting clowns on the streets all the way to delivering justice in the one place that has not been corrupted by capitalism…SPAAACE! Along the way he’ll make friends, enemies and accrue a number of disguises which will help him with certain tasks. For example, he can disguise himself as a Robber which will help Chase break into buildings, locked cabinets and safes. A fireman disguise lets him put out fires and rescue cats. Eventually, Chase will be suited and booted for any situation that the game can throw at him.
This leads to a common thing with LEGO games – levels having secrets and optional tasks that you cannot complete until you unlock a certain character. In this case, some things are locked out until you unlock a certain disguise. It’s supposed to add some replayability, but I’ll likely complain about it when talking about getting the platinum.
In addition to the 15 story missions, there are hundreds of tasks to do around the map with more unlocking every time Chase dons a new disguise. This includes finding lost pigs and watering plants for the Farmer disguise. These are little diversions that become a big time sink once you start focussing on the platinum trophy. Luckily, Red Bricks return offering little cheats in exchange of finding them – they can range from useful ones like 10x stud multiplier, invincibility and faster animations to silly ones like making every NPC wear a silly costume and changing your ringtone into a pig oinking.
The story is silly and it’s full of movie references, some are charming and some are a little too strong. I get the feeling a lot of them were put in for the adults – like the cutscene where you see Vinnie’s ice cream parlour for the first time and it riffs a scene from Goodfellas which I appreciated. Vinnie himself might as well just be Joe Pesci considering he’s first introduced to you by his cousin as “my cousin, Vinnie” and the first time you see him he’s doing the “You think I’m funny? Funny how? Like a clown? Do I amuse you?” bit from Goodfellas but the joke is that he is dressed up as a clown. It’s heavy handed but I appreciated it. The guy who sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger and makes strained references to his films – it just doesn’t land right but I still appreciate the effort.
LEGO City has fun with it’s plot, it’s characters and the setting. Having an original story allowed them to go wild with everything without adhering to a certain franchise and following its story. Some missions have ridiculous set pieces as a result – there’s literally one mission where you are trying to steal a giant robot T-Rex. The fun comes across to the player and honestly, if the team was able to make a game that wasn’t restricted to the LEGO formula I wonder how they would have taken advantage of that extra freedom.
The game is fine, it’s a LEGO game but it was an interesting experiment – will the LEGO formula work on a game not based on an existing franchise. By this point we had a few LEGO Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and a few others. While I do think the game is good, I do feel like the games started to lose charm the minute they added voice acting to them – whether it be from the movies or original dialogue here. I think it works here because it’s an all new story and so they can dial in on their own humour but I also think that there’s a reason this game never resonated with a lot of people – part of the appeal is to play well known movies/with well known characters in a funny, reference packed adventure.
There are issues with sometimes the camera will go on a wild chase, sometimes it’s hard to tell if a jump is going to land where you want it to land and sometimes the game is just too restrictive. Whether it is trying to jump over a fence or swimming to get a token only to be eaten by a shark – I feel like if any game should encourage young people to do things with a little unintentional freedom it should be LEGO games.
Still, there are better LEGO games out there but there are worse LEGO games – I reviewed one last time. This is a middle of the road LEGO game – if it’s cheap and again, you’ve got a young one you wanna co-op play with this could be a good choice. As a 28-year old man who wishes he had better things to do with his time right now, I feel like I could have been satisfied with the main game and then swiftly moved on. The main game probably takes less than ten hours. Overall, it took 41 hours of gameplay to get the Platinum, which we’ll get to after I throw a score down below.
FINAL SCORE –
Okay, so let me get straight to the point here. This is a frustrating platinum to get. Replaying every level again is one thing but the game uses a fairly unconventional way of letting players know where a lot of the collectables are on the map meaning it can get confusing trying to figure out where certain tokens are. You have to use a in-game scanner to look around your location and you’ll see location for tokens. However it turns everything blue and it’s hard to tell where certain ones are in the actual map.
For example, if you have to build four gumball machines – it’ll still show you the locations for ones you’ve already built until you’ve built them all. If you’re as scatterbrained as I am, it can get quite confusing when you go back after thirty hours and you’re just faced with a mess of tokens. Another example is that it will show you exactly where a token is but there’s no information to tell you that you need to find a teleporter on the other side of the district to reach it. Luckily I’ve got the internet to tell me these things, but I reckon some people will just run in circles not quite sure how to get there.
There’s also WAY too many collectibles. There are 450 gold bricks – an average LEGO game usually has around 150. There’s around 350 outfits to collect, well over 100 vehicles and all this sounds great but to unlock all of these requires doing a lot of repetitive tasks, some of which are pretty fun and some are kinda pointless. Every disguise has their own challenge, for the fireman it’ll be to rescue every cat on the map. This would be fine if there’s five to get, but usually there’s at least 20. Now factor in there’s multiple disguises and most of their tasks is “go to this location, wear the right clothes and then press O” and that is the crux of the collectibles. It wore on me after a while.
Let me just say – if you’re looking for a quick platinum, this ain’t it. While there is a decent amount to do, a lot of it is samey and by the last ten hours it becomes a chore. Luckily I could just stream the last ten hours of getting a platinum and a couple of people even watched me, the mad lads that they are (I appreciate each and every one of you). That made life easier but for a solid five days my life revolved around LEGO City: Undercover which is not a good thing. By the time I got the platinum I had to make a vow to myself – no LEGO games for at least a year.
Overall, it’s an easy platinum to obtain just a time consuming one. If you like LEGO games – I feel like every other LEGO game’s platinum is easier and shorter so maybe stick with them. Play this game if you want, just spread the trophy hunting a little longer to make it a lot less stressful than what I did. Otherwise, I do not recommend this game as a quick and easy platinum.