UPDATE: Apparently the 479 MB patch for LEGO City Undercover was something I hadn't downloaded or installed. When I did, all of the Nintendo references seen in the Wii U version were available in my Switch save file.
A sloppy port of a great LEGO game
LEGO City Undercover originally released in 2013 for the Wii U. Playing through the funny story, witnessing the sharp writing, and discovering secrets in LEGO City itself made it my personal favorite LEGO game. Now it's 2017 and finally the game gets a chance for even more exposure with a port on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and the most recent of hardware releases, the Nintendo Switch (though it lacks the Nintendo references of the Wii U version). Despite all of its problems from its transition between a Wii U exclusive and a multi-platform game, LEGO City Undercover retains a lot of what I enjoyed from back in 2013.
LEGO City Undercover sees hero Chase McCain get less than a hero's welcome when he returns to LEGO City. However, crime is in season, and Rex Fury has escaped from Albatross Island. Rejoining the LEGO City Police Department and having a big fan in the hilarious (no, really-- no sarcasm there!) Frank Honey, Chase McCain is back on the case, but with a great deal to prove. The story shows Chase entering the underbelly and underworld of crime of LEGO City by going undercover. Not just to make up for the mistake that saw him shipped out of LEGO City in the first place, but to make it up for a special someone.
|Ordinary cop? You're much too modest, Chase! Compared to Frank Honey, you're Robocop!|
In most LEGO games, you get an assortment of characters to switch between, each with different powers and abilities used to solve puzzles and platforming challenges. LEGO City Undercover takes the concept of different powers and abilities but splits them between the various disguises that Chase can wear. Each disguise is earned from playing through the story normally, generally in the game's missions, and each has its own uses. The robber disguise, for instance, is the only one that can crack safes and pry locked doors open, while the miner is the only disguise of Chase's that can pick up dynamite to be used to blow up silver structures and doors.
|While not his only trick, Chase in his LCPD attire can grapple onto hooks like this one.|
|Chase McCain in his robber disguise put these gang members on ice.|
|Well, at least with the driving in this game you won't be stuck on the tutorial.|
It's really best to wait to explore the insides and outsides of LEGO City until you have beaten the game's 10-15 hour campaign. That way you have all of Chase's disguises available to him. There's no greater annoyance in an open-world LEGO game than making your way from street level all the way to a building's rooftop only to find that you don't have the necessary disguise needed to complete a given extra side task.
|Chase doesn't need a workout regimen. He gets enough exercise from exploring LEGO City.|
|In this screenshot, Chase must make his way across this tightrope |
to reach the perfect spot to spy on some do-badders.
|Combat is like the heel of Achilles, a weak part of LEGO City Undercover.|
|Forget it, Chase. It's Chinatow-- I mean, Pagoda.|
Finally, if these bundles of joy that are the technical problems of LEGO City Undercover's new gen ports aren't delivering enough fun for you, the loading times from the Wii U version are better, but only slightly so. That said, it's much more entertaining to read tips from Frank Honey and Chief Dunby than stare at a progress bar (no matter how funky the music that played during these loading screens were).
For the Nintendo Switch version specifically, there is quite a bit of slowdown and frame-rate chugging in handheld mode. Docked is much more stable, though also having occasional issues in performance. Things like draw distance of buildings and such in the background is good, but people and vehicles materialize in and out. Audio wise, the music is as stellar as ever, offering a '70s cop show-like score, and the voice work is wonderful and delightful. The only real issue is in scanning mode and how picked up conversations sound incredibly loud compared to everything else.
|The draw distance isn't too shabby in the Switch build of LEGO City Undercover.|
[SPC Says: B-]