Hi folks! How about that? Welcome to an exciting and new Quickie Review! This time I bring you sometthing a little bit different than usual, but something that kind of caught me by surprise. It is a game I had never heard of before and one that somewhat breaks away from the usual console molds. Time to become something many of us only dream of as a child and very few end up actually doing so. The game is also a tripo down memory lane and a cool test to our "Easter Egg" finding skills. Curious? Here we go, welcome to the tedious, dangerous and exciting life of a...
Beat Cop is a... how do I say this? "Cop simulator"? Okay, first let me say that the player takes on the role of Jack Kelly, a former detective framed for something he supposedly did not do. And this framing leads to him rolling down the police ranks to the lowest possible: he becomes a "beat cop" in downtown New York but not without his own personal mission: to find out what went wrong on his last job as detective, clear his name and bring justice to the real culprits. The thing is, he only have about 3 weeks to do so. And how does he do that? Exactly starting from the streets, doing the normal "day to day" police work as any other cop, writting tickets, catching thugs and any other things that might come by. The game is heavily inspired by 80's era TV series. A time were things weren't judged as quickly and easily as today. A time were we (the older of us) spent in front of the TV watching exaggerated shows and movies with macho-style cops always getting the bad guys. This is a game that quickly from the start warns that is a satire and a tribute to that decade and one should not play it if easily offended. I started playing it with an open mind... and was positively surprised.
The main objective of the game is to fulfill day to day police officer work and everyday you get the usual "morning briefing" by your Captain. After the expected "ticket quota" and any special assignment is given to you it is then time to either chat a little more with other police comrades or hits the streets. So... this being a bit of a simulator means you will have to make some decisions during the day. The best advise I can give right at the start is to meet those parking ticket quotas or even double it because you get a pay bonus. You move around the block with Officer Kelly and you can interact with lots of things and people. The decisions I talked about have to be made because you simply cannot do everything you are asked for. One thing is for sure: you have to get money as every few days you have to pay your alimony, so how do you that with a lowly cop paycheck? You can go around helping shopkeepers but also you can talk to the Italian mafia or the Crew (street thugs). And by talking to them they eventually reach you to do certain favors or side jobs. That is one of the ways to make a bit more cash, to play a little dirty, but also to find out more clues about the reason you were framed in the first place. The game plays a bit like a point and click adventure but you do control your cop and even can get into some action. As mentioned, the game is brimming full of 80's references and Easter Eggs and it is just delightful to find them out, but more on that later. The game controls are very easy to understand althought at first a few actions can be just a tad confusing to do.
This is the first screen you get each new day: the briefing.
Visuals and Sound
This is another game with a very pixelated look and art style but one done in such a good way that it represents that time's looks and feels greatly. The dirty streets, cars and many of the dozens of objects and styles of the era are very nicely portrayed with so few pixels that it kind of ends up being impressive. Sadly, you play in the same street over and over again so it can honestly get a bit repetitive but the job done is very good though.In terms of music there is a cool soundtrack, again, reminiscent of that decade, but you mostly hear the tracks on cut scenes or between days because during the day you only hear the street sounds. The only music present is only heard when you pass by a thug with his boombox pumping or something like that.
Value for money
There are multiple endings to try and explore but there is a catch to the best ones which is you have to 100% in likeness to a certain faction. As I've said before, you can try and go on your way as a good cop, with tickets and arresting unlawful citizens and feel good about it, or you can sometimes go the "easy way", working for the Mafia or the Crew or simply accepting bribes and doing other less than moral things. You can have a bit of a hard time convincing yourself to back to the game and do it all over again just to see if you can get a different ending though. The ending I got was not as satisfactory as I had hoped for and at start I did not want to but I eventually started a new one and am having fun taking other kinds of decisions I had not taken on the first run.
Many times you are given the choice: Good Cop? Bad Cop?
I will say right now that the game will be much more fun if you look at it with an open mind and realizing that most of the stuff in there is purely for comedic purposes. Also, being more than 30 years old will also help in getting most of the jokes and 80's nods. There is a bit of racism in there and other, maybe oversexualized jokes but it's all part of the purpose of the game. I have seen a few negative comments on the game about this and I think (in my personall opinion, of course) they are over exaggerated. The game does not take itself seriously, not for one minute and it shows. And if one cannot understand that this is just a game and a tribute to a less controled decade in terms of more sensitive matters nowadays then this game is just not for you. Even my 12 year old son got some of the Easter Eggs like, for example, the names of some apartment tenants having Aliens character names like Hicks or Ripley which is just delicious. Some of the heavier stuff he did not understand or he simply called me out sometimes for some of the more controvewrsial decisions I made. It's just a game folks. Don't take it too seriously.
Beat Cop is a game that positively surprised me. I loved the concept of it, love the concept of having to fulfill my daily ticket quota, or having to take care for a drunken Russian agent during the day (ring any bells?) or deciding to take that bribe for an extra intake for the day. I loved the very strongly 80's jokes present throughout the game and all the nods and Easter Eggs to many of that time's pop culture icons and everything about it. I cannot promisse this game is for everyone. many of the slightly dark and sexualized jokes are not for everyone, I am sure of it. But this game has to be played for what it is: a game. Pure entertainment. A shame that we do not have a bit more variety in terms of background visuals - we have to play always on the very same street - and that some endings require very specific tasks and this is not explained very well. All in all a nice and fun homage to those over the top 80's TV shows and movies and one that has a nice length to it. A different and somewhat alternative to the loads of indie games that launch these days.
Final Score 7
- Non-linear gameplay with some freedom of choice
- All those 80's references and Easter Eggs!
- Good, well done, pixel art-style
- Satisfying gameplay.
- Can get a bit repetitive if played for a long time
- Different endings not explained very well how to achieve
- Can get somewhat stale also because all of the game is in the same place
The game is available since March 5th for Xbox One - you can get it here