legocityundercoverI’ll point out right now that the LEGO video game franchise is something I’ve never played. So when I got the chance to play and review LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins for Nintendo 3DS I thought I’d give it a go and I immediately loved it. It’s times like this when I play a game I wouldn’t have necessarily looked at before hand I wonder why I began a website which focuses around gaming.. Anwyay lets begin with the review.

LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins (or The Chase Begins for short)is essentially a prequel to it’s bigger Wii U counterpart (LEGO City Undercover) and is based on the LEGO City brand of LEGO models. The game itself revolves around Chase McCain the rookie cop, and his/your attempts to put Rex Fury in jail. This is the first time we meet Chase and immediately you’re put to the test.

legocityThe game begins with Rex being tasked with the mission to fetch some more donuts from the shop across the road. It’s not as simple as it sounds as the donut delivery van has broken down so you then take it upon yourself to be a good Samaritan and help fix the donut truck. The first few missions in the game are essentially tutorial missions showing you the controls, what different icons mean, and how to navigate, fight, and use other features in the game. Tutorials are pretty boring at the best of times but in The Chase Begins you don’t feel like you’re learning how to play the game, you’re just playing. TT Fusion have done an incredible job of merging tutorials amongst the gameplay at an easy to grasp rate without overloading you with unnecessary features and abilities.

Because the game takes on the LEGO City Undercover name you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t just a port of the Wii U title dumbed down for the Nintendo 3DS. The Chase Begins is an entirely new free roaming title which has a very similar feel to Grand Theft Auto 3 but with LEGO. Though you’re tasked with various missions you can also just grab a vehicle and explore the City. At first you’re just limited to a short radius around the police headquarters but the further you progress the rest of the huge city is at your disposal. Along with expanding the city as you progress, Chase McCain also collects a series of disguises each with it’s own unique ability which once activated helps McCain progress through each mission.

The story itself unravels through the various smaller missions that you begin taking on. You save the donuts, rescue a dog, and intercept a robbery at a car showroom. From here you learn that the criminal gang of punks are just the puppets in a much bigger scheme with their strings being pulled by – you guessed it, Rex Fury. The way this all unravels is done quite cleverly as if it was a real police investigation complete with little clues that are given away by listening in to the gang members using a listening device which you whack onto a door, or when you finally arrest the guy you believed to be behind it all spilling the beans.

I’m not too familiar with previous LEGO titles (though that’s about to change now I’ve purchased LEGO Batman 2, and plan on getting LEGO Marvel Superheroes) The Chase Begins gives the player the ability to build certain landmarks using LEGO bricks that you can collect by destroying practically everything in sight. Smaller structures such as Helipads require around 300 bricks whereas larger landmarks like Lighthouses require close to 2000+ blocks. These landmarks play more of a role than just looking pretty however. Throughout the game you’re given various opportunities to take photographs of the scenery to add to your collection and it’s features such as this which make The Chase Begins more than just a linear mission completing game.

legocity3Though The Chase Begins is primarily open world, you’ll find that the current task at hand is always clearly marked on your mini map on the touch screen so you’ll never get lost. The touch screen is also utilised throughout the game to complete various puzzles, one of which is safe cracking which requires you to turn the dial displayed on the touch screen until you’ve aligned all of the pieces and unlocked the door.

The only real down side to The Chase Begins is the loading times. You’ll often be waiting a round 30 seconds for the game to initially load and if you’ve unlocked most of the city you can expect waiting times of around a minute to go from one part of the city to another thanks to different districts being separated into smaller chunks – probably in an attempt to cut loading times.

That aside I must admit that I’ve managed to cover only around 50% of the games features. From my expectations of a LEGO game I expected something fairly simple and easy; Admittedly I had that naive mindset that the LEGO games were aimed at kids. I’m kicking myself now though after playing this game. Sure, it is a kids game, but it appeals to adults with it’s occasional use of tongue in cheek humour and the Chase McCain hilariously breaking down the fourth wall. I am however pleased that my LEGO virginity was taken by LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins as it’s a great introduction to the LEGO franchise and how the LEGO games work. I also thoroughly enjoyed grabbing myself a car and smashing through lamp posts in order to collect more bricks to build that lighthouse.

Familiar to the LEGO game franchise or not I’d recommend giving LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins to almost anyone.

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