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LEGO

LEGO The Hobbit sure looks familiar


And that's probably okay
Dec 16
// Jordan Devore
This trailer for LEGO The Hobbit checks all of the usual boxes for these titles. Coming off of LEGO The Lord of the Rings and its rather neat open-ended world, I'm curious to see how this new game will differ. The silliness ...
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LEGO The Last of Us should be a real thing


Until that day, this interpretation will have to do
Dec 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
This video brightened my day in a huge way. It's an animator's idea of what The Last of Us franchise would look like if taken on by the Traveler's Tales team of LEGO game designers. It is now my new go-to argument in favor of the assertion that any idea, however grim, can be made funny with the proper application of Danish construction blocks.
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The LEGO Movie Videogame based on The LEGO Movie


In case its provenance was in doubt
Dec 09
// Conrad Zimmerman
I'm so woefully out of touch with modern film news that I had no idea an animated feature was on the way which centered on the world of LEGO, but it very certainly is. And what would a family-oriented major motion picture re...
LEGO Hobbit photo
LEGO Hobbit

LEGO Hobbit confirmed for Spring 2014


It's on basically every platform ever
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
It looks like the rumors are true -- Warner Bros. has officially a confirmed LEGO version of The Hobbit, set for a Spring 2014 release. It'll hit the Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Vita, the Wii U, 3DS, and PC/Mac platforms. In oth...
LEGO photo
LEGO

This sure does look like a LEGO The Hobbit game


Are ready to revisit Middle-earth?
Nov 22
// Jordan Devore
Over on the Brickset forums, a teaser page for a LEGO The Hobbit game has been found in the instruction booklets for the upcoming LEGO sets based on The Desolation of Smaug. Warner Bros. hasn't announced this yet, but the ad ...
Sup Holmes photo
Get to know the people that make great videogames
A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we were graced with the company of Ms. Holly Pickering, former artist on the bulk of Traveller's Tale's LEGO games, currently working on Ether One from White Paper Games. H...

LEGO photo
LEGO

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will make Xbox One launch


Good for them
Nov 15
// Jordan Devore
Just days after word got out that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes wouldn't be ready in time for the North American Xbox One launch on November 22, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has come back with news that it will, after al...
LEGO Marvel Xbone delay photo
LEGO Marvel Xbone delay

LEGO Marvel won't make its way to Xbox One launch lineup


Still making its way to PS4 this week
Nov 13
// Brett Zeidler
[Update: Warner Bros. notified Destructoid that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will in fact be an Xbox One launch title. It's going to release in North America on Nov. 22 as originally planned.] In a statement provided to MCV, Warn...
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Sup Holmes legos my ether with Holly Pickering


Get to know the people that make great videogames
Nov 10
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: Holly's episode will happen today, Nov. 10th 2013. Be there.] Today on Sup, Holmes? we'll be treated to an hour and a half with Holly Pickering, formerly of Travelers Tales. Holly got her start in the business at 20 ...
Reviews photo
Reviews

The best and worst games of the week


Review Round-up: Week ending 11/9
Nov 09
// Wesley Ruscher
November is here and the holidays are just around the corner. And while most of this year's major blockbusters have already hit, as we gear up for the inevitable onslaught of the next generation, there are still some surprise...

Review: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Nov 06 // Brett Zeidler
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, PC)Developer: Traveller's TalesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: October 22, 2013MSRP: $49.99 The game begins innocently enough, with Silver Surfer being knocked out of the sky, bringing down with him a handful of "Cosmic Bricks." Dr. Doom, enlisting the help of Loki and Magneto, seeks these out to create his, well, Doom Ray...of Doom. So, of course it's up to the heroes of the Marvel universe to put an end to these shenanigans. That's about as far as the narrative goes, really. Not to say this is a bad thing; the story is fine and it does exactly what it needs to: set up the locales and scenarios for the game itself to shine. Players will be taken to the breathtaking Asgard, Savage Land, space, and everywhere in between from various Marvel settings. In fact, no two levels could remotely be described as similar. Canonically, the title takes place almost directly after the events of The Avengers, the events of the film being directly referenced numerous times. More than that, the characters' solo film outtings are also brought up throughout. For example, the Clean Slate Protocol from Iron Man 3 is reused at one point early on to make one of the more lackluster boss battles one of the most memorable, and the shawarma gag is brought up periodically to arguable comedic effect. Of course, all these references would fall flat without the proper delivery, and its in delivery Traveller's Tales are masters of their domain.  Characters are perfectly animated, causing them to look and act exactly as expected. The cutscenes are effectively silly, and have that same Traveller's Tales charm one has come to expect over the years. Just as more recent entries, the entire cast is fully voiced and (for the most part) handled really well. More notably, Clark Gregg, Nolan North, and Stan Lee reprise their well-known roles as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, Deadpool, and himself, respectively. Not much more needs to be said about that. The formula for a LEGO game breaks down as follows: play through a level with a set cast of characters, unlock free play for that level, and replay it later with an entire roster of playable characters at one's disposal to reach brand new areas that unlock secrets. Every action is driven by a constant positive-reinforcement structure. Each character has an ability button, a melee button, and (if able) a fly button. The ability button allows Spider-Man to shoot his web, Hulk to smash, and so on. Players will constantly destroy, build, and move LEGOs to collect, interact, and influence the world, just as before. Local co-op is still the only option that's offered, sadly. From a gameplay perspective, these abilities boil down to either a projectile, environmental interaction, or passive ability. But just like LEGOs, it's how these small, simple pieces are built on top of each other in the characters themselves, and how they're mixed in matched in all the game's puzzles, that makes them consistently interesting. Nothing is presented that hasn't been experienced before, but the LEGO titles avoid feeling stale thanks to every title having an entirely new universe to work with that creates a fresh coat of paint and doesn't necessitate the underlying basic structure needing to change. This point is especially true with Marvel Super Heroes. Between story missions, New York City acts as the hub where the player can explore, complete quick side missions provided by civilians, bigger side-missions involving various villains (presented by Deadpool himself), fill out the roster of over 100 characters, unlock new vehicles, or simply just wreak havoc if they so choose. The city feels quite alive (literally, in the case of The Statue of Liberty), and truly larger and more detailed than one would expect it to be. There's something to be said about playing as Iron Man and ripping through the city streets at hyper speed, or skydiving as any character from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier miles above the city and landing exactly where all the action is in a matter of seconds. It is possible to play the entirety of the story without spending more than ten minutes in the city, but to do so would be missing out on an entire other half (arguably even more than half) of the package. The story can be completed somewhere in the neighborhood of seven to 10 hours, but to truly complete the game would take someone what I estimate to be 30 - 40 hours. LEGO Marvel is not without its annoyances, and they're annoyances that have been a problem in the franchise from the start. Firstly, the hint system is context sensitive and also not context sensitive. It's never consistent. The confusing nature wouldn't be highlighted so much if it weren't for the fact that the text flashes and covers the entirety of the lower third of the screen. This doesn't happen once or twice a mission,  but rather every couple of minutes throughout the entire game. The same hint telling the player that they need a web-slinging character to interact with a certain piece -- despite doing this probably a hundred times before -- will appear just as frequently on the final mission as it did on the first. Other times hints will just pop up seemingly for no reason at all other than just because. There's no reason for the player to not have the option to turn this off at this point in the franchise's life. Another problem stems from the ability button and context-sensitive switch button both being mapped to the same button. Some characters that have a long ability animation such as Black Widow (who turns invisible), become really annoying to use when trying to pull a switch but instead not being close enough and accidentally using her ability. It's a really trivial issue that is more sparingly annoying, but with every button on the controller not being mapped it seems easily fixable and something that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place, yet continues to be one. I enjoyed myself immensely during my playthrough despite these slight problems, both as a huge comic book fan and from the nostalgia-fueled bliss that comes from the presence of LEGOs. Continually seeing that personal favorites of mine like Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil, and Deadpool (specifically how he reoccurs throughout the game's story) or hand-picked obscure characters like Howard the Duck and Squirrel Girl were playable inspired me to play more (and continue to) in the end-game just to discover who I could unlock next. If one has a Marvel character in mind, they probably make an appearance here. The game is definitely rooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there's more subtle references to the comics, especially with the entire catalog of material and history Traveller's Tales had the opportunity to use. My favorite example has to be at one point early in the game, where a billboard that features an alternate LEGO rendition of Superior Spider-Man #1's cover appears. Eventually, the player has to use Spider-Man to pull down this wall to a crumbling fall, and I couldn't help but laugh as it can't be anything other than a blatant, harsh jab at the events surrounding that character that took place earlier this year. These types of moments only appeal to a small percentage of players, but it adds all the more personality to an already jam-packed game full of every kind of Marvel fan-service. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is the Avengers game we've always wanted, and maybe even more than that -- the Marvel game we've always wanted, and I say that well-aware of the fact that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are out there. Sure, it's in LEGO form, but whether you're a casual super hero fan or take a trip to the local comic book store every Wednesday, there's no question there's something for everyone here.
LEGO Marvel Review photo
LEGO MAHVEL BAYBEE
Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman (later the entirety of DC), Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings -- arguably a majority of the world's largest entertainmen...

LEGO MMO photo
LEGO MMO

Beta sign-ups open for Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online


Oh, right. This game is happening
Nov 04
// Jordan Devore
Funcom is making a LEGO MMO of its own and would-be players can now register for the game's closed beta. LEGO Minifigures Online is fully launching next year and before that point, there will also be an open beta. If you sign...
25% off good games photo
25% off good games

Deal: 25% off Batman Arkham Origins, XCOM expansion, more


Jolly green giant
Oct 18
// Steven Hansen
Deals! Green Man Gaming is currently offering a 25% off voucher that is good for just under a week. With it, you can get a host of titles at 25% off, from the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins to the XCOM expansion Enemy Within...
LEGO Marvel photo
LEGO Marvel

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes gets a new PC demo


'It might be a good idea to get your parents to help with this'
Oct 15
// Chris Carter
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is shaping up to be one of the more interesting LEGO games, and now you can try it for free on the PC off the official site. It appears as if the demo is very short, only giving you brief glimpses of ...
LEGO photo
LEGO

The LEGO Movie Videogame announced for everything


Of course that's what they're calling it
Jul 16
// Jordan Devore
In today's universe-imploding news, TT Games is working on a new LEGO title based on the upcoming The LEGO Movie which, if you haven't seen the trailer, essentially looks like a big-screen adaptation of the studio's games. Th...
Deals photo
Deals

Amazon discounts Animal Crossing: New Leaf and more


Slew of 3DS titles on sale now!
Jun 29
// Wesley Ruscher
[Update: Looks like Amazon has sold out on Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but other 3DS titles are still currently available. Better act fast!] If my Facebook feed has been any indication, then everyone (their moms included) alre...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: Monkey around in Donkey Kong 3D


Plus Resident Evil, Van Helsing, Call of Juarez, and more
May 20
// Fraser Brown
For the love of god, somebody get me a 3DS. I made the unfortunate mistake of backing the wrong Nintendo console, grabbing a Wii U late last year, when I should have put my eggs in the portable basket. Now I'm not able to pl...
NPD April 2013 photo
NPD April 2013

NPD: Injustice and Dead Island lead sales in April


Total sales down 25% YOY
May 18
// Tony Ponce
[DC zombie sculpts by Casey Love Designs] The NPD Group released US sales data for April 2013 two days ago, but a complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of the Destructoid staff has delayed our posting it. Not our fault! Loo...
LEGO Breaking Bad photo
LEGO Breaking Bad

This LEGO Breaking Bad videogame concept is incredible


Jesse! This isn't real! Get that through your thick skull, you IMBECILE!
May 01
// Chris Carter
A concept trailer has emerged for a LEGO Breaking Bad videogame, and it's everything a series fan could want. Featuring everything from Walter White's signature blue meth in LEGO cube form to the always entertaining bickerin...
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes photo
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Galactus is coming for you in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes


Also pre-order bonuses
May 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The next game to get the LEGO treatment is Marvel, and this new teaser trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes shows off some of the 100 characters you'll be playing with. The teaser also ends with Galactus's giant shadowing ec...
LEGO Batman photo
LEGO Batman

LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes out now on iOS


Superheroes on the go
Apr 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes is now available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. The game offers both a classic or use the new touch screen specific control scheme. You can also unlock characters the normal way or...

Review: LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins

Apr 23 // Chris Carter
LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins (3DS)Developer: TT FusionPublisher: NintendoReleased: April 21, 2013 (NA) / April 26, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $29.99 Set two years ahead of the Wii U experience, hero Chase McCain is still just a rookie cop, and is just getting started on the force. You'll also notice a few other familiar faces, like Officer (not yet Chief) Dunby, and of course, Chase's arch-nemesis, Rex Fury. In this sense, it serves as a companion piece to the core game, and not simply a portable remake. The Chase Begins suffers from much slower initial pacing compared to its older Wii U brother, as the tutorial is roughly 30-60 minutes in length, and has Chase performing mundane tasks like rescuing animals or delivering donuts to demonstrate the game's controls. But it really doesn't need any sort of tutorial as gameplay is as simple as they come, considering all Chase can really do is run, jump, punch, and occasionally interact with the environment with his various costumes. Getting around is really easy too, as the 3DS substitutes the Wii U's GamePad map for the bottom screen, so the map is always readily available for easy objective identification. At first glance, everything seems normal. Missions now take place primarily in the city, and are less jarring of a transition than the Wii U version's structure, which constantly segments the narrative within tiny playgrounds. Objectives themselves are extremely simple, and most of them provide a simple platforming frame to get from point A to B. Essentially, they're inoffensive at worst. But once you start getting into the thick of things, you'll start noticing the major compromises that were made to essentially push this round prequel peg through the square portable hole. The most notable sacrifice is the lack of full voice acting during the vast majority of the game. That's right -- outside of the occasional cutscene, there's no voice acting whatsoever -- instead, the dialog is presented in text form, which degrades the comical tone of the Wii U version in a major way. To add to the disappointment, the script is a lot less witty this time around, and looks extremely cheap when juxtaposed to the higher budget Wii U writing quality. During my playtime, I also noticed multiple disappearing NPCs and other graphical hiccups, alongside of a major disappointment: horrendous draw distance. To be blunt, your view of the otherwise beautiful LEGO City is pretty horrible, and full of grey clouds that block out pretty much anything that's not a few feet in front of you. The 3D effect is fairly subtle, but The Chase Begins' colors are vibrant, despite the technical limitations within. The long load times from the Wii U version are also back, but with a vengeance! I'm talking load times that will trump even the earliest of PSOne Classics, sometimes dipping into the two minute mark. In addition to serving as an overall nuisance, it also makes going into buildings and loading new areas a chore -- and when load times impede exploration, you know it's really bad. Considering how other 3DS developers have done more visually with their titles, it's a bit odd to see a game like LEGO City suffer on the 3DS, especially given the aforementioned aesthetic sacrifices. If you're a diehard LEGO fan, odds are you'll get some form of enjoyment out of The Chase Begins. For everyone else, you're better off skipping it entirely, or picking up the superior Wii U version of the game. It's one thing to pare down an experience on a portable: it's another to sacrifice its integrity in the process.
LEGO City 3DS review photo
Think twice before pursuing
LEGO City Undercover for the Wii U, despite a heap of technical issues, brought a ton of charm to the platform. The fully voice acted experience was not without its camp and cheese factor, but ultimately it provided a fun ope...

Preview: First look at LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Apr 04 // Abel Girmay
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U, 3DS, PlayStation Vita, DS)Developer: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentRelease: Fall 2013 The story of LEGO Marvel straddles a similar line to LEGO Batman 2; a comic book-style story with a liberal helping LEGO silliness. Like the recent LEGO City: Undercover, the story here is fully voiced. Speaking with TT Games producer Phil Ring, he said the team "wanted everything to feel alive, and more than what we had in LEGO Batman 2 where characters only spoke in cutscenes. We wanted bosses shouting at you and characters talking with each other, so we're recording a lot more audio for this game." Having a fully-voiced story also affords more opportunities for humor, outside of the physical comedy gags that are common to the series. It works to good effect, too -- the banter between the less than sharp Hulk and the always-on sarcasm of Iron Man played like a Saturday morning cartoon. Less-referenced Marvel entities will be making appearances as well. At the end of the demo, when Iron Man and Hulk help Nick Fury (modeled after the recent Ultimate/Sam Jackson version) take Sandman into custody, you could spot three day workers with Damage Control marked across their uniforms. Ring continued: "If you're a Marvel fan, there's plenty of small references like this you'll get, and if not, then what the hell, it's just three clean up guys in uniform." The script itself will see stewardship by Marvel writer Matt Hoffmeier, so there should be no shortage of Marvel cameos, references, and the like. The moment-to-moment gameplay of LEGO Marvel looks very much like a traditional game from TT. You'll run around the environment, smashing pieces and reconstructing them into new objects to move forward. That said, you do get a host of heroes and abilities to play around with. Full disclosure, our presentation was hands off, so I can't say how well the powers feel, but the combat didn't look particularly amazing. Really, it's those classic problem-solving moments that make better use of the hero license. Going up against Sandman, Iron Man and Hulk need to come up with a way to get past his giant sand wall. Hulk's brute strength won't work and neither will blasters. With a little searching, we get Iron Man to blast a nearby fire hydrant and generator, then have Hulk revert to Bruce Banner to reconstruct the pieces into a giant water cannon to solidify the sand so Hulk can break through it. It's the way each of the characters, and their abilities, play off each other in these puzzle-esque scenarios that gave the LEGO games their charm, and that much looks well intact here. Though TT is staying hush hush on some details, there will be side activities to partake in outside of missions, such as explorable miniature hub area of New York. "There is a hub world...you can go into new areas and explore including some places significant to the Marvel Universe and other like the Statue of Liberty, but it's all miniaturized of course...it's very much a LEGO world," said Ring. Basically, if you've enjoyed LEGO titles in the past, you should be right at home here. There doesn't look to be crazy breaks in series tradition -- just refinements and augments. And if you're a Marvel fan, then I suppose that only sweetens the package.
Marvel Super Heroes photo
A more traditional LEGO experience
Just when you thought they were out of good licenses to adapt for LEGO videogames, they pull one back in. Among others, we've explored the adventures of Indiana Jones, the far away galaxy of Star Wars, and the hallowed halls ...

Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo will have 3DS XL and games for sale at PAX East


You can buy the new Pikachu 3DS XL at their booth
Mar 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Nintendo is bringing a ton of stuff to their booth at PAX East this weekend. On the Wii U, fans can check out Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, LEGO City Undercover, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Need for Speed Most Wanted U, Wii Str...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: LEGO City: Undercover gets built


Plus Monster Hunter and Gears of War
Mar 18
// Fraser Brown
Underneath my gruff exterior beats the heart of a kid obsessed with LEGO. Even now, if I see some of those little bricks, I drop what I'm doing, and start building, ignoring whoever else is in the room. With that in mind, it...
LEGO City Undercover photo
LEGO City Undercover

LEGO City Undercover 3DS builds an April release date


The Chase Begins
Mar 18
// Chris Carter
If you're itching to explore the open world of LEGO City Undercover and don't have a Wii U, there's hope yet, as the prequel, titled Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins is headed to to the 3DS on April 26th. This is an en...
LEGO City Undercover photo
LEGO City Undercover

LEGO City Undercover eShop requires external hard drive


Um, what?
Mar 15
// Chris Carter
Nintendo already blundered the original Wii U in terms of hard drive space, as the system couldn't even fit one of its major titles at launch without an external hard drive. My issue is that although most of us know how to bu...
LEGO City Undercover photo
LEGO City Undercover

LEGO City Undercover shows off its vehicles and disguises


Chase McCain rides again
Mar 12
// Chris Carter
It's been a while since I've had a new full retail game to play on my Wii U, so I'm excited to check out what LEGO City Undercover has to offer. Nintendo seems to have it covered here, with footage of all the wacky vehicles ...

Review: LEGO City Undercover

Mar 11 // Jim Sterling
LEGO City Undercover (Wii U)Developer: TT GamesPublisher: NintendoReleased: March 18, 2013MSRP: $49.99 LEGO City Undercover takes place in an original open-sandbox world, marking the first big departure from previous LEGO games (though the groundwork was laid in LEGO Batman 2). As maverick cop Chaise McCain, players have free run of the titular LEGO City, a sprawling world of color and distraction, littered with pedestrians to laugh at, cars to commandeer, and collectibles to nab. It's a reasonably large playground, bustling with plenty of life and no small amount of personality. Taking some cues from the likes of Grand Theft Auto and L.A. Noire, McCain roams the city in his search for fugitive criminal Rex Fury, taking on missions and posing as a crook himself to infiltrate LEGO City's underworld and get closer to the target. Undercover's story is littered with silly humor, and even manages to crack a few jokes that made me laugh out loud. A supporting cast of lunatics and hammy villains, not to mention a variety of movie spoofs designed to fly right over the heads of younger players, make for a presentation guaranteed to at least raise a smirk or two.  Presentation is easily Undercover's strongest suite. Its got a great vocal cast, further confirming what a wise decision TT made when it stopped relying solely on visual gags, and an excellent soundtrack consisting of both licensed and original music. LEGO City itself is well designed, and littered with things to collect, building bricks to earn, and "Super Build" constructions upon which to spend them. The ten-hour campaign alone will unlock tons of vehicles and costumes, with hours and hours more on top of that to really keep one invested. The sandbox approach makes for a more dynamic and endearing environment, aided by the ability to jump from car to car, destroy scenery, and ride about on animals.   [embed]248582:47554:0[/embed] It is a bit of a shame, then, that much of LEGO City Undercover's freshness is to be found solely in this surface-level presentation. When it comes time to engage in the game's story mode and actually complete missions, things quickly fall back into the familiar format established in pretty much every other LEGO game. Early missions involve chases through the city and GamePad-infused detective work, but these unique additions largely give way to the same old structure of going from room to room to break things, build things, and complete rudimentary tasks masquerading as puzzles. It's not as if the gameplay is bad, but it's a lot more familiar than first impressions promise, as L.A. Noire-style pursuits and Assassin's Creed-flavored rooftop acrobatics diminish in importance to make way for yet another walled playground of simplistic brick-based hurdles. After a while, LEGO City Undercover is less a sandbox LEGO adventure, and more of an old-fashioned LEGO adventure interrupted by sandbox elements. This is a disappointment, but fortunately the classic framework is still robust enough to make for a consistently entertaining time.  True to its name, Undercover is all about using disguises to get ahead. Over the course of the campaign, Chase will unlock a variety of costumes with their own unique skills. As a robber, he can use a crowbar to open doors, as a farmer he can water potted plants to create climbable surfaces, and as a fireman he can break down barricaded doors with an axe. Quickly switching between these costumes is key to getting through most levels, and naturally each one can be replayed later once players have a full wardrobe, should they wish to reach previously inaccessible areas. It's all clearly signposted, simplistic, child-friendly stuff -- though nonetheless as cathartic and satisfying as all LEGO games tend to be. When it's not treading old ground, Undercover does genuinely please with its new ideas. Whether scaling buildings and performing free-running stunts using simple contextual button presses, tossing foes to the ground and slapping cuffs on them, or spying on unwitting criminals, players get to really have some fun out on the streets. The GamePad is used sparingly and wisely -- mostly to house the map, but occasionally called upon to scan the area for hidden items or secretive dialog. Performing these tasks is as easy as holding the controller up, moving it to the required position, and pressing a button to scan. Not exactly groundbreaking, but as pleasantly unobtrusive a mechanic as one can hope for. The game is at its best when McCain is simply cruising the streets between missions, looking for pigs to fire out of cannons, stunt ramps to ride off, or previously blocked areas that new costumes can access. The controls for driving are stiff enough to give it that "LEGO" feel while remaining elegant enough to stay fun in spite of the mild chaos. Undercover's emphasis on destroying the environment to maintain a score multiplier and earn more building bricks helps balance out any excessive stiffness in the controls -- even if you're in a car that's skidding out of control, you're likely to still be rewarded for it.  Controls are a little less pleasing during missions at times, with a few random and dodgy animations sometimes having Chase fall off ledges or miss platforms through no fault of the player. These instances aren't regular enough to ruin the experience, but do provide occasional irritants throughout. As with any LEGO game, animations are exuberant and physics are over the top -- certainly delightful from a stylistic angle, not always the best choice from a practical one.  A few technical limitations also hold the experience back. Some of the loading times between exterior and interior environments can be agitating in their length, and framerate dips are a common occurrence while navigating the city streets. The slow movement of manual camera controls -- with no option to tweak the sensitivity -- is also a frequent pain. As with every other downside to this game, none of it's a dealbreaker, it's just a bit of a letdown in an otherwise charming package.  For all its faults, charming is absolutely the word best describing LEGO City Undercover. While more could have been done to exploit the sandbox scenario, and while it sticks a bit too nervously to formula than it could have, Undercover is nonetheless a frequently pleasurable, occasionally hilarious little romp in a new LEGO world full of potential. Should TT Games get another chance to revisit this idea, I hope for -- and expect -- a lot more of an expansion on the concept, and a lot more focus on the fresh elements that provide Undercover's highest points. As for this first try, we have a pretty damn good effort that I'd love to see more of.  It is, as they say, a noble start -- the first brick, if you will, in what could become a most piquant creation.
LEGO City Undercover photo
Once around the block
TT Games has enjoyed years of success turning licensed properties into LEGO adventures. In many ways, it seems like quite an easy gig -- simply take an existing license, be it Batman or Lord of the Rings, and give it a makeov...

LEGO Batman 2 photo
LEGO Batman 2

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes targeting Wii U in spring


Complete with off-TV GamePad support
Feb 26
// Jordan Devore
Later this Spring, TT Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be putting out a Wii U version of last year's LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, which was something of a departure from the franchise with its full voi...

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