Eric Kelly On April 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

Lego City Under Cover The Chase Begins 3DS screenshotThe LEGO game franchise from Traveler’s Tales has seen many a movie or comic license adaptation, usually consisting of linear platforming games that mostly play the same, albeit with a different skin tacked on to it. This game’s big brother for the Wii U however, decided to a different route and make its own original story. Foregoing the linear structure and adopting an open world level design while retaining the charm and basic gameplay we have come to expect from the LEGO games. Not to make the 3DS left out, or do a lazy port, They decided to go for a similar prologue story of Chase McCain’s adventures. Does this game recapture the feeling of the Wii U version? Read On.

The game’s story starts out with Chase McCain arriving for his new job as an undercover policeman. He’s got the the typical understanding and not-so-understanding superiors that either help or give him a hard time. But McCain’s apparently a witty super-cop who can manage the situation and save the day. You have mission based objectives which you can travel to using any car that is either parked or driving on the street. Each car has it’s own audio track. Kinda like listening to the radio, only the channels aren’t swappable. The areas within the game also contain many secrets. The secrets usually contain extra blocks and money which can used to build helipads or ramps for fast travel or item collection. Money is used for purchasing new character skins or vehicles to use. These can’t be even be bought to use unless you have found the secret token associated with it. One has to question the reasoning behind this. Also, many of the tokens can’t be discovered until you’ve cleared many of the game’s main story missions. And that’s where this game starts to fall apart.

When traversing throughout the world, it’s hard to not notice that the framerate is very inconsistent even when the 3D is not on. Another issue is that the game has extremely terrible draw distance. You cannot see a car five feet away from you most of the time. Also, you can clearly see the seems that stitch together the tiles for the textures at times. This gives the impression that the game was either rushed or that the team needed to cut corners to keep the file size of the cart down. This also applies to size of the various maps as well. Compared to the Wii U version, they are significantly smaller, despite seeming large. Also some blocks that you find can’t be picked up at times because they got stuck in the geometry and can’t be picked up. Also mysteriously cut from the game was a vast reduction in voice acting. The voice acting has been reserved for video cut-scenes. This reduces much of the charm the game could have had, and seeing as it’s a game for children, they may not understand what’s going on based on their reading level. Even more to the point, as all in-game dialogue is automated, and the dialogue does advance pretty quickly. Very curious decision indeed.

The story based missions will have Chase doing various requests like rescuing people or animals, defusing bombs or transporting vehicles or goods. At any of the the platforming segments, you may need to make use of different disguises to have access to abilities needed to advance levels. You will also need to do very basic combat that needs you to ether throw or grapple enemies. You can also dodge-counter enemies and perform random maneuvers with a button prompt. Platforming also includes breaking objects to reveal structures you can build to advance. Climbing and shimming ledges, sliding under obstructions, can also be expected during chase sequences. Car Chases are also a thing to expect. Occasionally though you will need to use the gyroscopic controls when walking around looking for clues to wire tap doors where the baddies reveal their schemes. The controls for these segments are a complete mystery, as the game itself fails to explain how to do them properly. A completely unnecessary feature. One more issue with the game is it’s very long and frequent load times. These happen whenever you move to a large map, but they take about 80 seconds, which is an awfully long time for a cartridge based game. This smacks of the game being unoptimized and it also feels very disconnected.

In conclusion, LEGO City Undercover:The Chase Begins is a game that might have been to ambitious to emulate the feel of it’s big Brother game for the Wii U. Or maybe this is just another game from Traveler’s Tales that was either rushed or was not made with much effort. Or perhaps it was a game with the intention that it thought it could get away with the crime of exploiting children’s attention and love of LEGO’s. Since most children won’t care about the game’s issues right? No sir. They deserve better, and there are better games for children out there. This should at the least be a rental, or gotten on the cheap.


Drive around pseudo-open world environments to do mission-based platforming segments, or explore the city for secrets. Very basic melee combat.


It looks like this game could have been on the Wii. There is terrible draw distance, and you can see the seams where polygons were pieced together at times.


Most environments are explored without music unless an event is taking place. Lack of voice acting kills charm.


A weak effort to reproduce what the Wii U version accomplishes. Kids deserve better.

2 Responses

  1. waaz says:

    Graphic is = 5?
    the pixel is dead… look at..
    what a crap graphic…
    wii u better than nitendo 3ds..
    3ds have a shitty pixel…