Xbox One has a new shooter LA Cops and its a might fine mashup of fast gunplay, stereotypical cop banter and a whole lot of hoodlum killing here is our review.
LA Cops is the latest installment from Modern Dream and Deadalus partners and features the same artstyle of some of their previous titles like The button affair and typing of the dead. Published by Team 17 the makers of Worms its a great combination of talent and one that pays of in this ID@Xbox release.
LA Cops is a top down 3D shooter much like Hotline Miami however its not a complete birdseye view. Its clear that Hotline Miami is a key influencer on this title but LA Cops is not a copy it has its differences and it has areas it excels at against its competitors. Its Hotline Miami with a splash of the Police Academy with a 70s vibe. The art style is minimalistic but draws on an almost Pixar like approach with colours that pop and a very subtle colour palette. However there are no mouths on these characters and we can’t understand why perhaps it was to make the array of mustaches stand out that bit more on each character.
In terms of gameplay LA Cops allows for a campaign mode only offering players the ability to work their way through 8 campaign missions and 5 bonus missions. Each mission has a difficulty rating you can select upon each mission start. You can choose from Normal, Hardcore or Nightmare. I would certainly recommend sticking to Normal until you get a good feel for things. Each mission is fairly short in length and as you progress mission time is increased purely based on difficulties with missions offering up to 4 or 5 areas to clear before completion. The missions are similar but not boring much has been done here to continue to offer the player a variety of gameplay when progressing through the various missions. Our favourite was Old House which was just sheer rampaging fun. Other levels offer you the opportunity to beat a timer, clear waves of enemies or destroy objects such as server equipment or drug stashes. Each requires a new tactic to approach the level as rampaging through will simply get you killed and you don’t want to try and complete these levels without your partner to cover your back.
With each mission you control two cops. You select your chosen partnership once you have selected your level. In each mission you need to be careful to position your partner into cover so they can get a shot on any enemy that may sneak up on you. Its a simple control but one we found tricky at times as our partner would sometimes wander into a enemy filled room as we slightly misplaced the cursor and hit A. Thankfully LA Cops introduces players to the LA Cops Academy to get the jist of the few but crucial controls. Its a fleeting tutorial however and we found that a couple of levels in, there were some extra things we learned, one such was locking onto an enemy and not relying on the right stick to position our aiming. The X button will be your best friend in this game! Other titles of this ilk don’t offer such an option unfortunately and this will help LA Cops cater for the hardcore and the casual player alike. Other controls of use are LT for melee but actually this arrests your targets which is a nice touch and adds to the atmosphere of being a cop.
Unfortunately the same praise can’t be given to the games story. Before entering each mission a cut scene is provided, the point of which other than to put across dated sexual stereotypes was lost on me during my playthrough. Each mission has its own scenario and we felt this was suffice to give the player enough to enjoy their playthrough. Each scenario does attempt to introduce each of the different characters you can control in the game but again you can stick to only two if you wanted so not all players will have an interest in exploring this short and uninspiring sequence. Perhaps if the scene came before the character select it may have offered more value to the player.
Character choice is a great addition to the game. Upon completing levels you earn XP which can be used to rank up aspects of your character from the amount of health or level or damage they do. Additional slots also allow you to unlock greater weapons which will aid you in later levels for sure. It certainly adds depth and a great element of replayability in a title that has a fairly short campaign. What is unclear is how XP is earned throughout the levels as apart from a score in the top left theres no clear indicator to what rewards XP for your actions. XP is also earned for spend across all characters so if you earn 7 slots of XP and spend it one one that means theres no more for your other cop friends.
The omission of a Co-Op mode is almost unforgivable in this title it has such a great basis for this option and hopefully this is something that the title will introduce in a later update. Single player control is fine but you can only fully control one player at a time and relying on the AI in later levels isn’t as great.
LA Cops is bags of fun even with its minor flaws and rampaging through a level arresting criminals and smashing up objects offers a fantastic and rewarding experience. Even more than the almost free handout of 150 Gamerscore upon completing level 1 the restaurant. The games achieves fast and fluid gun play and despite its difficulty at times encourages repeat plays and attempts and you will soon find that you lose track of time as you hunt hoodlums, doughnuts and a grenade launcher to get to your objectives.
Yes I said grenade launchers! Upon completing each mission you will also be offered up a score on how well you have done. This also makes its appearance on a leaderboard which is accessed from the main menu so you can stack up against your friends on each mission or see where you rank globally. I see this having a lot of interest and will keep players coming back for more.
LA Cops is easily my favourite ID@Xbox title for 2015 so far and will be playing it for some time. Its pace is frantic however balanced with a great variety in mission types to stop it becoming a one trick pony. The art style fits the period it aims for although the lack of mouths and co-op mode are peculiar this is a must buy for Xbox owners!
LA Cops is available from the Xbox Store and PC on March 13th as a digital download.
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