My 5-year-old son Malcolm and I recently got a chance to preview LEGO City Undercover at a special Nintendo event. While there’s been some brewhaha lately over reporting on previews, it’s important to note that this game is quite close to release and thus should be either a final build, or very close to final, so we can have (hopefully) a higher degree of confidence in what we saw.
Grand Theft LEGO. There, I said it. It’s not a particularly original observation, and you’ll probably get sick of hearing it over the next couple of months, but that’s basically what LEGO City Undercover will remind you of (well, except the protagonist is for the most part on the right side of the law this time). Including
stealing commandeering vehicles. It’s my own fault really. It was my turn to play and Malcolm was watching me, and that’s when I decided to see if I could walk in front a vehicle and carjack it. I could. Once Malcolm put two and two together, that’s pretty much all he did when it was back to his turn. And he LOVED it. He couldn’t stop laughing while he was tossing people out of their cars and crashing them into whatever. He really was a terrible driver, something he took great pride in.
Overall, the game was really fun to play. It’s everything we love about the LEGO series of games on a whole new scale. The trademark humour. The smash and grab gameplay. The minifig on minifig violence. It all felt really familiar, while also giving the impression that we were just scratching the surface of what the game had to offer. While it remains to be seen how much gameplay there will be, a quick extrapolation of the game map gives cause for optimism that you’ll be playing this game for a long time. That map is displayed on the GamePad, which is also used for other things in game, like as a sensor for hidden blocks.
Sadly, there’s one key thing that looks like it’ll be missing from the game: co-op. Initially, indications were given that LEGO City Undercover would feature two-player co-op, but it’s now looking like it won’t make it into the finished product. No co-op gameplay was on display, and the information sheet we received indicates 1 player only. This is really disappointing, but I really shouldn’t be surprised. Most free-roaming open world games are only single-player, and it may have been just too much of an undertaking to make two-player co-op.
While 15-20 minutes with a game isn’t a lot, we liked what we saw. If the game as a whole is anything like we played, it’s looking like LEGO City Undercover will be able to fulfil the massive potential that it’s been teasing ever since its announcement. We’ll find out for sure when it releases on March 18th.
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