I've got a problem. I can't seem to stop playing LEGO City Undercover.
I've always been a fan of Traveller's Tales' LEGO franchise. Sure, they're as repetitive as 'The Birdie Song' stuck on repeat, but so what? There's something rather cathartic about punching things made out of digital plastic bricks again and again.
More than any other recent instalment of the series though, I just can't put LEGO City Undercover down. After releasing exclusively on Wii U back in 2013, it has finally released on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch this month – and I can't get enough of it. I've got Persona 5 sat waiting for me to start. I've got more hijinks with Link in Breath of the Wild to get up to. I've still got to meet Aloy and frolick around with mechanical beasts in Horizon Zero Dawn. Alas, I'm stuck in LEGO metropolis.
LEGO City Undercover's open world hub is – excuse my French – friggin' massive. After 15-20 hours with the game to complete the main story and another 10 or so wandering around all the various districts on the map, I'm still uncovering new areas I haven't been before. At times it feels too big; travelling from one side of the map to the other on foot is a seriously tedious undertaking, and even in a vehicle it can take several minutes. Luckily you've got a decent selection of transport modes on offer – taxis, trains, motorbikes, cars, helicopters – even a jetpack. And no matter which direction you travel in, you're never more than a few metres away from something to do.
Without really intending to, I seem to have accepted the massive task of 100%-ing LEGO City Undercover. Each distinct district of the game has a set number of collectibles and I've somehow convinced myself I need to work through every area methodically until I have every red brick, every gold brick, every character token, and every vehicle. I probably don't need to tell you that I'm basically fighting a losing battle here. Did I mention just how big this game is?
Perhaps that's the thing though – I don't like being beaten. It'd be easy for me to put LEGO City Undercover down now, being somewhat satisfied with the 30 or so enjoyable hours the game has given me. But on the other hand, the in-game counter tells me I'm only about 55% complete. It's mocking me. After putting so much time in, there's still so much left to do, and this game will not defeat me.
It's a good job it's just so much fun. LEGO City is packed full of quirks, bricky versions of real-world locations and so many pop-culture references I've lost count. Getting to run around a LEGO representation of Venice as a Dracula minifig will never get boring. Neither will sending an ice-cream van hurtling through the air as you drive through a loop-the-loop. Not to mention the hilarious NPC who thinks he's Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have another 200 gold bricks that aren't going to find themselves. See you in another 30+ hours.