If you've been playing with LEGO kits since you were a kid (or if you still are), chances are you have high expectations for LEGO City Undercover, the latest videogame to feature the popular toy brand (and one that doesn't rely on an existing franchise like Harry Potter or Star Wars for its setting). After you've put in several hours of playing, building and exploring, though, you'll find it safe to say that LEGO City Undercover delivers an excellent open-world experience with entertaining gameplay - on top of being hilarious to boot.
You play as Chase McCain, a veteran cop with a chiseled jaw (well, as chiseled as a LEGO Minifig can have) and an unorthodox manner of capturing lawbreakers. Chase is returning to LEGO City after a two year hiatus to re-capture Rex Fury, a notorious criminal who, having recently escaped from Albatross Prison under mysterious circumstances, is looking to get into some mischief. In his quest to stop Fury, Chase will infiltrate several organized crime rings, parkour across rooftops, race through LEGO city in high-speed police chases, disguise himself as a robber, a fireman, or an astronaut, and steal a giant robotic T-Rex from a museum. Suffice to say, Chase is a busy man with many talents.
"Busy" is actually an accurate word I'd use to describe LEGO City and its very robust story campaign, but in a good way. While most of the missions have a straightforward objective, and can implement a few repetitive mechanics at times (you'll find yourself having to drive from Point A to Point B very often), there're all very distinct from each other and a blast to play. Throughout the game you'll unlock various "disguises" that'll give you special abilities, such as Chase's police outfit letting you use a grappling hook, or his miner's outfit, which affords you the use of dynamite. You'll cycle through your wardrobe often (and thankfully easily) through each story mission, using your abilities to complete a wide variety of puzzles, item hunts, and platforming sequences. You'll be surprised to see how complex the story objectives can get, and you'll often have to swap from one disguise to another in quick succession order to solve an impressively tricky puzzle or push through an obstacle blocking your way. But, even if at times it feels a little like the game is trying to pad itself out, you'll hardly mind any of it when the end result lets you build a cool looking LEGO dragon that breathes fire, or gives you a chance to zip across waterborne ramps in a high-speed motorboat.
When you're not infiltrating an aeronautics facility or beating up mafia thugs in a scrap yard, you'll have free rein to explore LEGO City and its highly-detailed open world environment. Throughout your travels, you'll pick up LEGO studs which you can use to purchase cosmetic items for your disguises, and LEGO bricks for summoning up constructions at various build points, like vehicle drop-off points, bridges or mission critical items like the aforementioned robotic T-Rex.