I absolutely adored Lego when I was younger. I had boxes and boxes of the bricks, and created everything from Hogwarts and spaceships to castles and, of course, cities. As I've grew older and Lego became more expensive, my addiction to the little plastic bricks declined. However, I remember Lego is really letting my imagination go completely bonkers and it's that feeling that I'm excited about experiencing again with Lego City: Undercover.
The initial comparisons to the GTA games would appear to be accurate: you've got a massive, sprawling city in which you wander around, pick up vehicles and complete missions. You can expect a light-hearted, funny take on Rockstar's series - the sort of thing that the Lego games are known for.
What's really interesting about Lego City: Undercover is that the Traveller's Tales team will be able to mould their own story around the Lego universe. Most of the games have been adaptations of famous films and although the Lego City franchise is a well-known toy, this should be different as the TT team can shape the story around all the possibilities of building with Lego. I think there's huge potential for a variety of new features and additions to the game.
Imagine if you could dismantle buildings, vehicles and even trees to collect the right type of pieces for a specific project? Or being able to plan out how the city is structured and built just like you would a real Lego town? That may sound a bit like Lego Sim City but I think those are the sorts of things that a free-structured, original Lego game should be able to offer that can't be done in a Star Wars or Indiana Jones game. Even if it doesn't, the trailers suggest that it will offer the same mix of building, beating up baddies and collecting studs that have become so familiar in the film spin-offs.
A couple of things makes Lego City Undercover stand out. I'm excited about playing with the GamePad - a map is displayed on the GamePad which will be useful but using it to scan for items is an all-new feature for a Lego game.
Also new are the amount of different costumes you can wear. Lego games havea lways featured a large number of different characters and although you can play as Chase McCain, you can dress up as firefighter, a construction worker or a robber as you go undercover to access new areas of the city and end Rex Fury's crime wave.
The fact that you can drive up over 100 vehicles - including helicopters - shows that this should be a big city for you to explore and open up.
Throw in the Lego games' traditional charm, addictive gameplay and the Wii U could be looking at a big hit, a true crossover game that could appeal to all ages even if, like me, they put their Lego in the loft a long time ago. If the comedy is woven into a decent story and there are plenty of creative ideas, there'll be very little reason not to pay this game some serious attention. And also to devote a serious amount of hours to it!