C.O.P. The Recruit
This game feels sort of like a poor man's version of GTA
- This game's scope is big and impressive (especially considering it's on the DS), draw-distance and frame-rate hold up well, gameplay variety is sprinkled in here and there
- Game has been approved by the most conservative of moms, your car's four wheels won't want to leave the ground, too much emphasis is put on menu navigation
While not nearly as groundbreaking as it's console-based role models, Ubisoft's C.O.P. The Recruit serves as a solid sandbox title with some incredibly fun gameplay and inventive shooting and stealth scenarios.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
It's common knowledge that ex-criminals make the best cops (or C.O.P.s, which is an acronym never totally explained by the game). So when street racer Dan Miles gets arrested for, you guessed it, racing in the streets, the local police force makes a wise decision and instantly hires him to be an armed officer of the law. And so begins one hardened ex-racer's quest for justice in a tough city that looks and feels like present-day New York.
If upon reading this and looking at the screenshots, one comes to the conclusion that C.O.P. seems very similar to another game where you control an antihero who roams the open-world streets of New York. You would be right to make that comparison. It's obvious after playing a bit of C.O.P. that this game draws heavy inspiration from Rockstar's megahit, and if you thought the DS was incapable of creating a game with anywhere near the depth of GTA, prepare to be surprised, because technically this game delivers. A player in C.O.P. will have the ability to traverse six square miles of roads throughout New York and New Jersey, and while the graphics are fairly blocky and somewhat murky, the draw-distance is very solid and pop-up is rare. This is a huge achievement considering how fast some of the cars move through areas and the fact that the city feels every bit as alive as GTA (semi-intelligent pedestrians, traffic, and destructible environments are included).
Unfortunately, whether it's due to technical limitations or ethical concerns, this game lacks a lot of the soul that has made GTA such a huge hit. One example of this is the inability to interact with any of those said pedestrians. That's right, no longer can you run into, push, punch, shoot, run over with a car, blow up, or set aflame any of New York's fine residents. So while this may put a smile onto the many mothers' faces who believe their son flunked geometry due to Mortal Kombat, many gamers will think it feels like a c.o.p. out. In addition, the remarkable, if not over-the-top, car physics that allow you to send Hummers cart-wheeling through the sky in GTA, are also conspicuously absent. This means that whatever car you commandeer, it is going to stay planted firmly on the ground, regardless of how fast you get it moving.
However, I would be doing Dan Miles a disservice if I didn't mention all of the areas where C.O.P. separates itself from its inspiration. For one, C.O.P. introduces a pretty unique way of targeting and controlling your gun during the shooting portions of the game, which involves using the stylus to aim your crosshair while controlling your character with the d-pad. Initially, it can be difficult to do, but once acclimated, it becomes a fun mechanic. Also, the game has some stealth portions (a la Metal Gear), and a few parts where you place and control other cops during raids. While these additions may seem small and unimportant, they really do a good job of breaking up monotony, and introducing novel concepts to the formula.
In the end, this game does feel sort of like a poor man's version of GTA, yet to even compare a DS game to that storied franchise can be seen as an accomplishment, and it does make an earnest attempt to differentiate itself by adding a few distinctive qualities. So if you thought GTA was good but needed a lot more stylus controls, then Officer Dan Miles is ready to drive down New York City's sidewalks with you, injuring no one.
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