By Jaran Chance
If you’ve ever wanted a quick watered down Hotline Miami clone to hold you over for a weekend, LA Cops is probably still not the game for you. LA Cops plays off the familiar isometric shooter style popularized by Hotline Miami but somehow misplaces all of the charm. Marked down to $2.99 in this past week’s installation of the Playstation Store Mid-Year Sale, I decided to get to the bottom of this.
The game plays like a funky minimalist Starsky & Hutch inspired isometric shooter following the corrupt Los Angeles Police Department as they decimate crime as we know it.
To start, players will choose two of the available officers to take on the seemingly endless waves of drug lords and criminals. Each of the available officers has their own individual attributes such as speed, clip size, and damage. All of these stats are almost entirely useless with the exception of clip-size. Health upgrades do virtually nothing to stop the officers from dying instantaneously. The effects of movement speed upgrades are rarely noticed and damage upgrades are not important when most enemies can be neutralized with one to two shots. But regardless players will earn three to five points per completed mission to upgrade their officers and buy different guns.
Beside mindless killing and off-beat cop satire, there is a semi-irrelevant story line to the game. Players will get to see policemen on the force go through divorce and investigate rampant corruption in brief cutscenes between their brutal police-sponsored massacres. Though these scenes are tediously boring and, add nothing to the game experience.
The beef of the game is in the combat sequences. If you can call it beef, maybe tofu. Players will navigate their chosen officer and partner simultaneously through businesses and drug dens scraping the floor with baddies. Aiming with right-stick, it is possible to lock onto a criminal before entering a shootout by pressing square, but this function often proves useless. Trying to aim and click square with one thumb during a frantic shootout often proves tedious. Even worse, attempting to control two avatars at once to get the better of the shootouts will frustrate even the most patient of players.
Speaking of partners cooperating and taking down criminals, this sounds like a pretty good opportunity for couch co-op doesn’t it? What a great idea that somehow developers Modern Dream could not bring into fruition.
The majority of time spent with LA Cops will devolve into mindlessly mashing the trigger, aiming in the direction of criminals without locking on. Once one shot is heard most if not all of the criminals on that floor will rush toward the sound. Which inevitably turns to frustratingly restarting the level multitudes of times.
In the end, LA Cops ends up being obnoxiously hard with little to no give back for success. The story is not rewarding in any way, and the gameplay descends into harrowing repetition. LA Cops is not worth the trouble it brings to the table. However, one extremely redeeming factor for the game is its grade An amazing soundtrack. Perfectly fitting and energetic it was really nice to pause in the middle of a level and just hear the soundtracks for each level. Though this in no way makes the game worth purchasing.