LA Cops level design
There are various ways to tackle levels.

Quick it’s time to grab some doughnuts and buff up your police badge, as we’re about to hit the drug-filled gang hideout in LA. There seems to be a theme of cops and criminals currently, after the release of Battlefield: Hardline last week, so LA Cops has quite a task on its hands to impress.

LA Cops is a 3D top-down shooter offering bursts of action in a fast-paced environment set in the 70s. You play as two cops, who you can choose from at the start of the game and upgrade as you progress using earned experience points . The premise of this cop-themed title is to switch between characters and help clear out various buildings filled with criminals, whilst also completing objectives such as destroying a chemical drug lab and reaching an exit.

The first infuriating point to pick up on is the AI – as there’s no co-op currently, you’re left with a dumb ass of a partner to assist you in taking down bad guys. There were a number of times when I positioned my partner to guard the doorway, only to find that he was letting enemies past him to then shoot me. The good news however, is that Modern Dream, the developers have promised a co-op update very soon. So we don’t have to put up with the unintelligent AI partner for long.

LA Cops experience system
No doughnuts required for upgrades unfortunately.

The gameplay also feels fairly tedious, as game environments offer very little in terms of variation – especially as much of the game is set in some sort of office block with stairs and elevators to progress through each stage. Hidden spots on screen such as gaps in the walls and glass windows are always on hand to catch you out too, which can be incredibly frustrating when you’re one room off from completing the stage.

Other than this there is very little actually offered by the level design, bar the occasional propane tank to blow up an unsuspecting gang member. Each stage also offers some sort of boss fight at the end of it, which becomes repetitive after the first two stages, as you know what to expect. The game hardly throws any surprises at you, which is a shame, as it would make the gameplay much more enjoyable and dynamic. It’s also hard to see how playing through the game a second time will vary from the first experience you encountered, as there are only eight story missions to complete.

LA Cops partner
Who hired Danny Butterman from Hot Fuzz as your partner?

For myself the art style was all too much of the same thing as well, which is key to a lot of video games today, especially as the gameplay is very similar to what’s been done before. Once you’ve played through it once, looking at the screen is about enough you can handle for one day and you’re very unlikely to go back to LA Cops again – until they add co-op gameplay perhaps.

It also took me a while to pick up the control scheme, which was probably down to a lack of Xbox One game time recently, but the tutorial did little to remind me that pressing X would auto target enemies nearby, so I could get set up before entering the enemy-filled room – not that I would be paying attention to the tutorial anyway, as I prefer to learn more about the controls in a game as I go along.

LA Cops fails to offer anything unique or intriguing to the table, but it does have some charm with its slightly humorous cut-scenes and its attention to doughnuts. After all, you can’t have LA police officers without doughnuts armed in hand. Unfortunately though, the story is short, the environments are dull and your partner may as well be a target dummy back in police HQ.

Pros

  • Slightly humorous cut-scenes
  • The 70s cop setting works well
  • The promise of co-op very soon

Cons

  • Blind spots such as gaps in walls and walls you don’t even see
  • Very short in game time
  • Your uncontrolled partner is useful at covering you

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