LA Cops arrives to Xbox One and PC on the heels of Hotline Miami 2’s release. It very much feels like a “me too” copy-cat, but that doesn’t always spell doom for a game. So how does LA Cops stack up to the competition and is it worthy of your time?
To begin, LA Cops tells the story of; you guessed it, a fictionalized LAPD circa 1970. As such, it’s got all the predicable 70’s cop movie hallmarks – the hot tempered police chief, the rookie replacement, the donuts, the drugs, the bad mustaches. Everything is fairly basic and told primarily through inter-level cutscenes but one really shouldn’t come into LA Cops expecting anything resembling a strong narrative. At its absolute best, it provides a merely adequate set up for each of the game’s 13 stages. At its worst, LA Cop’s story is a poorly written afterthought with some painful voice acting. I’ve therefore decided that this section shall be exempt from receiving a numerical score – it isn’t the focus of the game itself and so it won’t be the focus of my review.
Thankfully, LA Cops has a bit more going on in the visuals department. The game makes an excellent use of color and a type of “flat” shading to produce a nearly two-dimensional looking image out of 3D models and backgrounds. It works very well here and it helps give some much needed identity to the game. Environments are clean and minimalist… until you cover them in gore; as in Hotline Miami, violence is used to both shock and entertain. But where Hotline Miami was a synthesis of grungy pixel-art and a driving electronic soundtrack, LA Cops fails to complete its look with an equally appropriate aural component. Simply put, there are no memorable tracks anywhere in the game (save for an end-of-credits song that I kind of enjoyed). It’s a missed opportunity that LA Cops not feature any disco-inspired music – it is set in the 1970s, after all.