Less entertaining than pepper spray in the eyes.
If you take away everything that makes Grand Theft Auto edgy, exciting, and fun, you get COP: The Recruit. It could have made the third-person action genre viable on the Nintendo DS, but sadly it misses the mark.
[image1]Gamers take up the controls as Dan Miles. A street-thug-turned-greenhorn-cop who recently joined the City Control Division, a high-tech New York city police force, who’s been assigned to stop a terrorist called Bomb Zombie—hardcore name, right?—from blowing up the city. And that’s it for the story—it’s nothing special and there are better and more compelling storylines in old Steven Seagal movies, which is saying a lot.
The story moves forward with the help of cut-scenes that use the in-game engine and animé-esque cartoons. This is an interesting idea, but it’s held back by the game’s blocky and pixel-ly appearance. It is a DS game so the hardware has its limits, but it should still look better than this.
The script that the characters follow is hysterically bad because it tries so hard to sound edgy like a good cop story should. More times than not, the game will come off like your 80-year-old grandma who’s trying to use words like "radical" and "tubular", since that’s how the kids talk nowadays.
To save this fictional rendition of New York City, players will do the typical cop shenanigans like chasing and shooting at bad guys until they leak red. The problem is that the controls and graphics are terrible. Driving through the city is like racing with bumper cars on streets made of mashed potatoes. On top of all that, it's ugly, confusing to navigate, and about as exciting as store-brand white bread.
[image2]To help with the navigation, the game has a GPS system on the bottom screen that tracks your movement through the city, your inventory of weapons, and various story objectives. However, the GPS system is menu-heavy and doesn’t track your movements as you move across the map. So you’ll have to dodge oncoming traffic and navigate the GPS system to find out where the hell you’re going and what’s next on your laundry list of tasks.
If you get distracted trying to figure out where you’re going and crash—which you will—you won’t need to worry about the mess, because there won’t be one. When you crash, cars just bounce off each other. The only real inconvenience is the time it’ll take to get back up to speed.
Combat is equally as crappy. Aiming is done with the stylus, and it’s not sensitive enough to be effective. Most of the time, Dan looks like he’s running around like an idiot with his arm stretched out in front of him instead of a loose-cannon cop on the edge.
[image3]There is a level of violence, like shooting and car-jacking, but this isn’t your typical Mature-rated Grand Theft Auto clone. It’s your little brother’s Teen-rated knockoff. Any sidewalk bowling you do with your car or wild shooting on the street won’t affect the pedestrians walking by. They’ll simply scream and run. When you look at games like the GTA series, the lack of realism COP: The Recruit has is sad.
What makes COP: The Recruit a lackluster game is that it comes late to the party. If this game came out 10 years ago on the Nintendo 64 and before high expectations were set for gritty crime games, then maybe it could’ve been a decent game, possibly even a good game. But with open-city action titles like Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, this game just can’t compare.