Cleaning up the mean streets of L.A, One Donut at a time
Armed with a boiling hot cup of coffee, ridiculously cliched moustaches and a determination to clean up the mean streets of L.A in the 70’s, L.A Cops is a run and gun tactical shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Developed by Modern Dream and Published by Team17, L.A Cops was originally released in 2014 for Steam Early Access and has found a new home on Xbox One. The game is centred around Cops Kowalski, Williams, Borland, Murphy and Green, they all share a goal to make L.A’s streets safer, and that means a whole lot of bad guy killing and plenty of cheesy remarks.
I should begin by stating for the record, when I say Cops I mean that in the very loosest of terms, because in fact, they like to shoot first and ask questions later, though you do have the option to beat a bad guy into submission or “arrest” them as the game likes to call it. Either way, the chances are most of these perps won’t be getting their day in court or hard time in the slammer when you’re finished with them, more likely a one way trip to toe tag town.
LA Cops: Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Modern Dream
Publisher: Team 17 Software Ltd
Release Date: 13 March 2015
Price: £10:79 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
As I started up L.A Cops I thought I’d been teleported into the Beastie Boys iconic Sabotage video. For those who have yet to see this classic piece of music video acting and direction, allow me to paint a picture. Classic Cop car with flashing lights, hilarious wigs, even bigger moustaches and bad guys being chased down. Fast forward over 20 years and you get LA Cops, although sadly the car chases are missing.
The game itself see’s you take on the role of not one but two Cops at the same time across eight Mission based levels with a few bonus levels thrown in for good measure. There are three different difficulties to choose from with Normal, Hardcore and Nightmare available directly before every mission. The first two settings allow you to use an auto aim feature which helps immensely with the sometimes frustrating controls but the Nightmare setting leaves you totally on your own and sometimes dead before you can even fire off a shot. I’m an advocate when it comes not using auto aim but in this case I would make an exception as Nightmare difficulty is a one shot kill and the movement of the Cops can make life incredibly difficult.
You can choose which two Cops you wish to use from the office line up and even though you have control over both Cops you cannot move them at the same time but instead individually. The A button allows you to position your inactive Cop wherever you want him or her, your partner will attempt to cover you though sadly in my experience this usually ended in them being mowed down quicker than a blind rabbit crossing a highway during rush hour, this is due to the ridiculously low heath bar you begin the game with, however there are upgrades to help ease the pain as you complete Missions.
The landscape layout of the game is very ‘Sims’ orientated with a direct view into every room and with RB and LB you can easily rotate around the level to see possible scumbags hiding or where you might get some health or discover hidden objectives. If you find yourself low on health there are donuts for health, yeah I know right Cops and Donuts…who knew, also health packs can be found to revive a downed ally.
The AI enemies you encounter throughout the game lack any real depth and seem to all be one and the same. they will shoot you on sight and furthermore as soon as one enemy knows you’re in the vicinity theres a very good chance the rest come running like someone lit a fire so if you’re caught with no ammo expect to be restarting via death and by restarting I mean the entire floor. There are no checkpoints in the game so if you are killed, you will be back at the start of the floor you were currently on.
All Cops are upgradeable with everything from Speed, Health and Damage available for upgrade through completing Missions. You can also purchase an array of different weapons to use ranging from a shotgun to a grenade launcher but only one weapon can be held at a time and there is no secondary weapon so if you happen to have emptied all of your ammo into some poor no doubt deserved fool, you’re going to have to either loot his body or have your partner take over, you can switch character with the simple press of the Y button.
Overall If I had to pick some faults in L.A Cops it would be the lack of a structured story, sometimes you feel as if you are just repeating the same scenarios time and time again and the enemy movements can be a little annoying and sporadic in the way they can randomly appear. As a fan of achievements another mishap would be not making the difficulty based achievements stackable, which I’m sure will leave a lot of gamerscore gamers worldwide disgruntled but other then that L.A Cops isn’t a bad game, it just isn’t a great one. It has all the potential to be a really fun game and at times it is exactly that but it lets itself down in some vital areas.