The 70’s in LA must have been a great place to live. Big mustaches, big egos and big donuts were the order of the day. There was also the little matter of casual sexism, gun toting gangs ruling the streets and rife criminal activity taking place…seemingly no more so than in the Los Angeles Police Department.
LA Cops whisks us back a few decades to take in all those things and more. But is the 1970’s the groovy place we really want to revisit?
Damn right we do, especially if it was as much fun in real life as what Modern Dreams and Team 17 have brought us in LA Cops.
Taking on the role of six widely differing funky police officers, LA Cops takes you on a tour of Los Angeles via a top-down shoot-anything building stormer as you attempt to rid the city of criminal gangs and drug overlords. From first taking your officers on a little mission to save the local Donut store owner, you’ll eventually find yourself battering down doors, piling shotgun cartridges into computer servers and hunting down the big bosses as the difficulty levels increase with each of the 13 missions on offer.
As previously mentioned, you’ll have six officers to choose from, each with differing starting stats and skills. Some will be quicker at moving from room to room, whilst others will initially have a higher health or be able to dish out a little more damage with larger ammo clip sizes. You will however have to choose two officers for each mission that confronts you and so how you decide to tackle the job at hand will depend on your choice of officer. Doing your job to the best of your ability however will see you gain XP points that in turn can be used to upgrade your officers skills. Whether you throw all your bonus points into one officer to make him or her a lean mean terminating machine is completely up to you, but some of the later levels will require the attendance of some seriously beefed up officers. You will die a lot but the quick nature of the game and the way things have been set out will ensure you are back into the thick of the action before you know it.
You’ll also have to make sure you use both your cops wisely. Whilst you only get to control one at a time, you can at least get the other to cover the corner or storm a room from a different entrance whilst you move forward into enemy territory. The mechanics of LA Cops as a whole work wonderfully but trying to get your fellow cop to stand in the prime place can be a little tricky to start with. Holding the right thumb stick to point them into the desired area and then trying to hold that whilst hitting the A button to make them move there is a feat in itself. That aside though, the rest of the controls are spot on with the bumpers allowing you to spin the world in order to find those hidden guys in the corner before they find you.
Of course, that little issue could have been solved slightly if only there was the inclusion of a cooperative mode. Either online or local would have worked like a dream and I’m confused as to why both were omitted, as LA Cops is crying out to be played with a friend.
The levels themselves are superbly well designed and offer numerous routes of entry, allowing for the most tactical of players to go about things with either a stealthy approach or an all guns blazing style. Whilst most missions and levels will see you needing to clear the areas of bad guys, the inclusion of the odd destruction side objective breaks up the killing just a little. You won’t have to search too much in order to destroy the drugs tables or computers servers that you’re tasked with taking out, but it may just stop the run and gunners from trying to complete the level as fast as they can.
However, once you’ve run through things the first time, there is nothing to stop you from going back in order to try to raise your performance grade, score or level completion time. The very best cops will storm through the mission quickly, arresting instead of killing their foes and keeping the citizens of LA safe in the process and if you can achieve all these things then you’ll be well rewarded at the end. In fact, Team 17 want you to do just that as the rewards for going over the same level numerous times will push you into playing even more.
Each mission can be completed in its normal form or that of a hardcore or nightmare nature. Just be prepared for the latter as this sees you lose your auto-aim capabilities and confronts you with some of the world’s most hardened of gang members. To be honest, the hardcore mode represents the optimum point between ease of completion and game satisfaction as aside from the odd one or two, the normal missions are relatively simple to finish…especially when you go into battle with a couple of cops who are armed to the teeth and well ranked up.
With eight intriguing story based missions to run through and a smattering of side missions to keep you further occupied, LA Cops is as near as damn it a ‘Day One’ must buy on Xbox One as you’re ever likely to get. It may not have any form of multiplayer mode attached and you may tire of the booming funkalicous soundtrack once you’ve heard it looped for the fiftieth time, but the gameplay that is present through every second of your time with the police force just draws you in and tempts you to go that little bit further each time.
You’ll wanna go back to the 70’s and you’ll wanna do it LA Cops style!