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Should I be excited about… LA Cops (PC)

LA Cops (1)LA Cops has style. It’s is a cool looking and sounding game, with a vintage vibe that suits the simple, funky visuals. This is 70’s buddy cop shows and The Beastie Boys Sabotage video. It’s tidy, trimmed mustaches. Bell bottoms and jive talking. Rolling across car bonnets. It’s ugly orange wallpaper, painted red with bright blobs of pixel blood. Dirty Harry grit and Starsky and Hutch cool, and a pinch of Anchroman cheese.

LA Cops is one of those games that is hard to describe but incredibly simple and intuitive to play. You control two characters, switching between each with the press of a button. While the character that you control can move around and shoot in a kind of isometric environment, your partner will stay still but will still shoot at any enemies that move into their cone of vision. You can see this vision cone, and by taking your environment and your position into account, you get into a rhythm of moving one character while the other covers them, taking out any threats that you might come across. It’s a good simulacrum of a shoot out in a retro TV show or movie. It’s easy to image the characters constantly shouting “cover me”, as they move in tandem through an office block shooting at perps.

LA Cops (3)I played the PC version, and while I can see the game working pretty well on mobile devices, both keyboard and mouse and controller felt really smooth. Keyboard and mouse was possibly best as it was very easy to pan the camera to spot enemies and to zoom in and out. The two character mechanic really clicks because switching between characters is instantaneous, and you quickly get into the rhythm of swapping between them depending on where your enemies are. Clearing a room is always fun, and the visceral thrill of the bloody deaths is a satisfying, guilty pleasure.

At the moment LA Cops is still early in development. Some of the music sounds evocative and period-appropriate, but there’s not a lot of it yet and the audio sounds weedy. The character movement is also a bit sticky, with the environments being harder to move through than they should be. This is a game that’s at its best when you’re smoothly moving from room to room, and getting stuck on level geometry really kills the momentum and pacing.

LA Cops (5)In other areas LA Cops feels surprisingly feature-complete. There’s a whole cast of really interesting characters to choose from, and the presentation is really engaging, with some great Pulp Fiction style dialogue between the duo.

LA Cops shows real promise. The basics are in place, and while the developers have a way to go yet, this is a game that already has a unique gameplay hook and style in abundance. I really like it.

Seventies Buddy cop movies are coming to a game near you soon.

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