Review: C.O.P The Recruit (DS)November 9th, 2009 | Written by Alex Quevedo | Topic: Nintendo DS, Reviews
C.O.P. The Recruit is a bit of an odd entity. While it doesn’t stand out as anything terrific, it doesn’t feel like much of a letdown in what it is trying to do. It’s a relatively expansive game for the DS, taking both New York City and Jersey and squeezing them into a playground for your 50+ missions. We can’t go this far in the review either without mentioning its similarities to GTA: Chinatown Wars, so much in fact that the game clearly isn’t hiding it, which is commendable enough.
You are put in the shoes of Dan Miles, a former underground street racer who evades jail time by becoming a cop instead. Besides protecting the streets, Miles is also a member of C.O.P, also known as the Criminal Overturn Program, which helps criminals become affordable members of society once again. C.O.P plays very similar to Grand Theft Auto in that you roam in an open world completing missions, but in an unique twist you perform missions on the side of the law, rather than against it. Being a former criminal also helps you connect more with people on the streets and keep a low profile when needed.
There are optional crimes around the city to stop, but your main focus is investigating terrorist attacks around the city. These attacks lead to one of the main enemies in the game known as the Bomb Zombie. The story pans out as melodramatic as the villain’s name; it’s not terribly goofy, and by far not the worst story we’ve endured, but at the end of the day it is still something rather conventional with slightly laughable dialogue.
The Recruit seems to be at a bit of a war with itself. For something noticeably good with the game, you can find something quite irritable. Take the city, for example. Developer VD-Dev does a great job compacting New York and New Jersey and making it playable. But after it litters the streets with other drivers and other obstacles, the AI starts to drag it down and create slowdowns. It’s not even easy to move through the streets with heavy traffic, as your vehicle will take plenty of damage and force you to bail out sooner rather than later. The city just doesn’t feel alive and although there are people out walking the streets, they only but act as visual effects to make the game seem larger than it really is.
Missions suffer a similar bipolar issue. They are worth the time for the most part, but mechanically you are rather limited, especially early on. A standard pistol doesn’t do much damage to enemies and you will undoubtedly be replaying missions often due to the frustrating aiming. Aiming utilizes the touchscreen of the DS and forces you into holding the system in a very awkward and uncomfortable way. While you have the option to shoot with the touchscreen by double tapping it, we suggest you go the faster route and shoot with the shoulder buttons.
Things get a little more even in terms of fighting as you progress, but you may be trudging to those points. Enjoyment levels are going to be severely hit or miss with this game, and with your character being a former street racer you will encounter plenty of action behind the wheel. Cars handle in a bulky manner despite how fast or slow they may be and yet you are required to complete racing segments before you can advance in the story. That was one of the more irritable parts of the game for us and one that didn’t really make any sense. For a main character that is a former racer and having the game focused around his past, why not really ramp up the work on the driving mechanics? The Recruit relies too heavily on what is called the 3C, which is sort of like a PDA that gives you access to GPS and other information and tools needed to complete missions. The device is easy enough to use but you end up being bogged down having to constantly go through various menus to do uncomplicated tasks.
Visually, the game isn’t striking, but looks decent enough for an action game on the DS. The map on the touch screen is easy enough to view when using the GPS and cutscenes are rendered rather nicely, but take a 2D route rather than a 3D style. In the audio department the game doesn’t get any better, as its about average as well, but everything mixes together and nothing ever really stands out good or bad.
So what you have at the end is something that shouldn’t be disregarded, but also shouldn’t be highly sought. It’s a decent enough game that has the ability to keep your interest for a while, but there are enough flaws with it that it isn’t worth a purchase. Check it out if you have the time, but don’t fret about missing anything great if you don’t.