Checking out Lego City Undercover – Grand Theft Auto for Kids?

LegoCityUndercover

I think the Wii U is a terrific console.  I thought the Wii was a terrific console.  Playing Wii titles is still a weekly occurrence in my household.  People had been attempting to make motion controlled gaming work for years before Nintendo put some serious research and development into the effort  and succeeded beyond their own fantasies.

The Wii often gets bashed by people who consider themselves real gamers.  A real gamer is generally defined by this group as a male who plays multiplayer military shooters.  Everyone else is quickly discounted as inferior.

I am probably being a bit unfair as this stereotypical real gamer may or may not exist as a serious demographic.  It does grind my gears a little though when I am shopping at a game retailer and hear someone young slamming the Wii saying it isn’t a real console.  I think any critic would be hard pressed to say that the first party collection of Wii games (e.g. Mario, Zelda, Metroid) was anything less than impressive.  Some of the greatest games in recent memory are in that group.  It was only lazy third party developers that flooded the Wii’s library with inferior dreck and damaged the consoles reputation.  Too many parents buying too many games that their children did not find fun.

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I think the sequel to the Wii, the Wii U has suffered a bit for this lingering sentiment.  If you sat down and played with this console you would understand that it is just as interesting and innovative as the console’s previous generation.  In a time where we yell at the video game industry for not trying something new Nintendo has produced a product that is genuinely innovative and fun to play.

The main issue with the Wii U so far has been that there isn’t very many games made for the console.  Publishers were sometimes burned on Wii development because they were not able to see the types of profit margins they wanted and so they are giving Nintendo a bit of a side eye waiting to see what will happen.

Because of this, any quality game that comes out for the system is kind of a big deal.  Lego City Undercover appears to fit the bill.

Lego video games have become a solidly dependable franchise for all the consoles.  They are family friendly, written well enough to appeal to adults and have tremendous replay value.  In the past TT Games probably churned out the games a little to quickly and the formulas were a bit repetitive, but they seem to be figuring out how to expand with Lego City.

I’d like to think the appeal of Grand Theft Auto was less that you got to be a criminal and more that you had a huge open world to explore and the freedom to pretty much do anything you wanted.  Lego City Undercover proves this formula works by swapping out cops for the robbers and giving you the same freedom with vehicles multiple quests, different terrain and a sandbox game play style that allows your kids to play like they want.  TT Games is wearing the Grand Theft Auto influences on their sleeve here with their trademark wink and nod humor that adults will understand and will float slightly above the younger ones heads.

Expect lots of cheesy nods to 80s/90s action films and amped up Lego machismo.  Reviews have been very good and I expect those who play will gain a new affection for messy piles of virtual plastic bits.

Article crossposted to The Herald News

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