Review: LEGO City Undercover: The Chase begins

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To become famous you’ll have to work hard and do some things you’d rather not want to do. To become a famous cop, you’ll have to do the same but multiply it by ten. Becoming a world famous cop is a task that will take long to achieve. The road to success isn’t always that pretty but every hero has to start somewhere. Chase McCain started his big adventure as a ‘donut-boy’ for his supervisors.

LEGO City Undercover: The Chase begins is the prequel of the enjoyable Wii U version. In the Wii U version you returned to LEGO City as a true legend and famous cop. In this Nintendo 3DS you arrive in the city as a new rookie with big dreams. This means you haven’t captured the infamous criminal Rex Fury just yet. This episode is all about your quest and road towards the capturing of this criminal.

You start of the adventure with a scene similar to the Wii U , this means a video with excellent voice acting and typical LEGO humor. A great way to start the game and a great way to start your adventure in the portable big city. The Chase begins offers you the same city as the Wii U version so for those who already played that version, the city won’t hold that much secrets. After the short video and introduction of the characters, it’s time to start you’re first real mission for the police department. Your first quest is all about… collecting some donuts for your supervisors.

The difference between this first mission and the first mission of the Wii U version (stop a bank from being robbed by a masked gang) couldn’t be any bigger. The tone is set, you’re a rookie this time so you can’t expect to go on action packed missions just yet.

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(Finding clues in the city)

You’ll find a lot of the self-deprecating LEGO humor during those first missions. The game isn’t afraid to use stereotypes and isn’t afraid of using some well-known jokes. It’s clear that this game is meant to be enjoyed rather than to pump adrenaline trough your body. The game still succeeds in its funny moments but it never achieves the level of entertainment its older brother did on the console.

A reason for that is that there simply aren’t that many movies to watch. A lot of the dialogue is now written down without voice acting. Reading a joke hasn’t got the same effect and often fails to deliver. It’s a shame that TT Fusion had to work with this amount of text and couldn’t implement more videos. The videos were definitely one of the Wii U version’ strongest points. Aside from this the real question of course is how the gameplay was translated to this portable Nintendo system.

All in all LEGO City Undercover didn’t get translated that well on the Nintendo 3DS.

As said in the beginning, Chase will have to fix several small missions in order to get noticed by his supervisors. Although those supervisors are very skeptical about the abilities of Chase, he succeeds in discovering a very important gang. Chasing this gang will eventually lead him towards a one on one meeting with Rex Fury. Before reaching this big boss however, you’ll have to puzzle and fight your way out of several dangerous situations.

Something that will come in handy to achieve your goal are the big amount of outfits Chase can collect. The outfits are the same as in the Wii U version, so gamers who played that version will know what to expect. The only difference between the outfits is the order you receive them. Outfits that could only be unlocked at the end of the Wii U version will play a crucial role at the start of the ‘Chase Begins.’ Nevertheless costumes remain key in solving several environmental puzzles. Some costumes will grant you the power to fly while others will grant you the power to become part of a dangerous gang and move through their buildings unnoticed. Choosing the right costume for the right problem is very important.

Aside from this important gameplay element, some of Chase’s gadgets make a return as well. The most important one is the scanner. Using this scanner you can search for hidden enemies or hidden blocks while moving your 3DS in any direction while playing LEGO city. Other gadgets will also require the movement of the 3DS but are rather gimmicky than important for the gameplay.

As far as it looks now, LEGO City: The Chase Begins is a portable game without any new features in comparison with the Wii U version, that isn’t true however. The biggest innovation is the adding of bosses to fight. The regular fights are fought by pushing just one button at the same time and defeating your enemies in a blink of an eye. The bosses you’ll sometimes have to face require a more strategic way to beat and are definitely one of the game biggest moments. Too bad that the difficultly level remains rather easy and you’ll defeat most bosses without dying. At moments like those, it’s clear that this game is meant for a much younger audience.

All in all LEGO City didn’t get translated that well on the Nintendo 3DS. You’ll notice that TT Fusion did everything to make such a huge world accessible on a portable device but they had to make a lot of sacrifices as well. The 3DS version suffers from pop-ups, which are really annoying while driving. Imagine you driving one of the fifty cars in the game and a random citizen or car pops up in front of you… A situation you’ll encounter more than you would like in this game.

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(Driving around in the portable big city)

Another big problem is the draw-distance. It looks like the beautiful colorful city we all came to love in the Wii U version suffers from a never-ending fog. You can’t see far ahead of you and buildings will just pop up out of nowhere. The city itself just lost the magic it had on the Wii U version and there aren’t that much side-activities to complete. The extras in the city are still there but far less. This means the city rather is a hub towards the next mission than a fun place to stay in. To top those problems, the loading times still are very long and not fun at all to watch.

TT Fusion tried to deliver the true LEGO City experience on the Nintendo 3DS but didn’t really succeed in its goal. The Chase Begins isn’t a bad game, younger gamers will definitely enjoy it but it can’t live up to the success of the Wii U version. If you’re able to pick one version out of these two, the Wii U version is without a doubt the one to get. Gamers without a Wii U will be able to enjoy the Chase Begins on Nintendo 3DS but will have to do it in a more compact and dull city. If you’re looking for a simple but fun adventure on the 3DS, don’t look any further. It’s a shame however that this game will stand forever in the big shadow of the success of its bigger brother.

6.5/10

 

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