Detective shows aren’t hard to find on television these days, CSI has had an active role on Channel 5 and CBS out in the States for 15 years now, not to mention the numerous spin offs it has, Law & Order for 20 years and the list goes on, but these are more serious than the comedic Hawaiian shirt wearing days of 70s cop shows. LA Cops keeps the Hawaiian shirts for it’s top down shooter which keeps it simple but fun.
The levels have clear save points, when you end each floor of the level, which is really handy – and they’re of a good enough length once you’ve finished the first two levels, well, in particular the first level. You’d hope for a few more levels than what’s on offer, 9 story missions and about 5/6 off shoot missions, but it’s good quality and quantity for under 10 pounds like I paid for it.
LA Cops’ design is quite nice, it’s cartoony, but not overly so, obviously the characters and buildings are animated, but it has that adult feel. The plot is fairly arbitrary, doesn’t really matter, it only really seems to have an impact on where you’re going to – such as one level being a casino for the big finale against the mob, or the police station where they had the chief tied up. The video clips aren’t very long which is how the plot’s sort of driven, but it hasn’t really got any outcome on how you play at all, nor does it particularly matter if you skip the videos. In fact, I found myself skipping even though I knew they weren’t overly long most of the time.
There’s three tiers to play on, normal hardcore and nightmare, with the difficulty settings only appearing once you’re within the levels. This means you can do level 5 on normal, then 6 on nightmare, if you find that one easier (for whatever reason!). Normal and hardcore keeps the auto lock button and option available, but nightmare removes this, meaning you rely on the twin sticks to aim and move around, which can be a bit tough to get used to, but worth getting used to as the game can be challenging – I actually didn’t know about the auto-lock feature that was available until I was half way through LA Cops, which was very handy for when I was playing through on nightmare, but meant I did spend quite a bit more on those earlier levels than the later ones (on normal, anyway). The learning curve was quite interesting; I’d actually completed the first two levels on nightmare before I’d been able to finish level 5 on normal, however, as soon as I discovered the auto-lock aiming feature, that was soon overcome.
LA Cops ends each mission with a debriefing, which awards you some xp points depending on how well you did, as you’d expect, which you can spend on either a better starting weapon, or on levelling up your characters skills – speed, health, damage, clip size. These are particularly handy on hardcore and of course nightmare, but if you add enough points to health, it can mean your character can walk through areas without too much hassle on normal.
I’ve had a lot of fun with LA Cops, although the choice in characters doesn’t really matter too much, they have slightly different starting points in the above slots, but once you start adding xp points, the difference doesn’t really matter.