Team 17, the developers behind the amazing Worms series, are taking us back to the ‘70s with LA Cops on the Xbox One. As the title suggests this game is all about cops from Los Angeles, although when you actually play the game there is very little to suggest that it’s actually set in the City of Angels. The game however is littered with egotistic aviator wearing moustache growing cops and it’s your job as those egotistic aviator wearing moustache growing cops to free the city from drug barons and gangsters.
LA Cops is a top-down twin-stick shooter that will initially have you waltzing through the levels only to lure you into a false sense of security then eventually have you pulling out whatever of your own hair you have left. The premise of the game is simple and straightforward. Select two cops from a choice of six, watch a corny pre-level cut-scene then embark on the mission which ensues. To move your cop you use the left analogue stick and the right stick to aim, it’s as simple as that.
As you can only play one of the two cops at any given time, you can direct your partner to the cursor on your screen with the click of the A button. This idea is nice but in practice it’s a little bit clumsy. Another alternative way to move as a team is to move forward as one cop, then push Y to select the other cop and move forward also. That said what you most likely end up doing is using the second cop as a spare, an extra life if you like. One reason why this works better is because of the auto-aim button. Simply pushing the X button will automatically hover the cursor target over the AI’s head and allow you for an easy kill.
There are three difficulty levels in the game; normal, hardcore and nightmare. Throughout the first few levels, probably taking you up to level five you’ll find it relatively straightforward on normal and hardcore, then all of a sudden welcome level six, seven and eight. It’s not the fact that they are longer that’s the problem, but it’s the sudden increase in level difficulty, lack of good checkpoints and the sheer volume of enemies that will attack at any given point. It’s maybe just me, but I found that it almost always took me ages to even get past the first parts of the level, then when I did, because of the lack of decent checkpoints I would die and have to do it all over again. This is where the hair pulling out starts especially as even the normal difficulty level is hard. It is the type of game that will have you wanting “one more go” though and again that’s where the replayability kicks in.
To help try and get you through the game there’s plenty of arsenal at your disposal. Starting off with a pistol you can unlock shotguns, Uzis, assault rifles, grenade launchers. You obtain unlocks using XP which is gained through the completion of levels. XP can also improve the skill of the cops within the game including the amount of ammo they can hold, how fast the can move and how much damage they can sustain. As there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason to spend your points upgrading several characters, I ended up concentrating on two cops to boost their XP further.
One of the biggest disappointments within the game is the lack of co-operative play. Not just with the lack of Xbox LIVE integration, but this game is screaming out to be played by two local players, and for some reason it’s not been included which as a result really brings the game down. There only link to anything multiplayer – the Xbox LIVE leaderboards, and I suppose that allows you to see how you’ve fared against your mates.
Graphically LA Cops is very ‘70s with its artistic style. It’s simplistic yet still effective and the basic style works well with the game. Popping gangsters with bullets will leave nice blood splatter marks that provide a satisfying kill. The audio plays snap with its ‘70s musical style and while it certainly isn’t memorable and won’t be making its way to your iPod, it fits in well with the overall package and feel of the game.
Overall LA Cops is a shooter that will have your attention for a brief period of time. Very quickly the game can get frustrating and there’s not enough punch to the finish of the game to make you want to proceed any further. The lack of co-operative play is a major error on Team 17’s part and I think they’d find it hard to disagree. The ‘70s style works well but in all reality for £10.79 your money is likely to be spent better elsewhere.