Review: C.O.P. The Recruit

COP_NDS_BXSHT_RETAIL.jpg Sometimes a game seems like such a cool idea that the realization of the poor execution of the concept is more disappointing than if it was just a crap game to begin with. C.O.P. The Recruit is that sort of game – a game that seemed like an interesting idea until I started playing, and that I disliked more and more as I continued and eventually finished.

You are a criminal who is recruited by an arresting officer to become an officer in a special police force and use your talents to help the city. So far so good. There is driving and on-foot mission-based play around a large open city area. Sound familiar? Sure it does, because it is a sort of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) concept where you play the good guy instead of a criminal. The big difference is that rather than playing the entire game in top-down mode, C.O.P. The Recruit plays like a standard third-person shooter while you are on foot.

On the subject of GTA, the game also gives you a police computer to access maps and objectives and enter codes to get past gates and doors and other stuff. Yet unlike the sweet GTA: Chinatown Wars system, C.O.P. The Recruit seems like it is trying to turn using the computer into its own little mini-game, and the result is annoying at best.

The story itself is … well, thin. Aside from two foreshadowing elements – that your ‘sponsor’ is under suspicion, meaning you have a new person responsible for giving you assignments. Also, your captain seems to have stuff on his mind, so you are sent to training. From there you learn about shooting and using your police computer and then get started with some missions. The structure from there on out is pretty much standard GTA fare – you get missions, and can encounter more missions as you approach specific locations. Completing missions gains you rewards and allows you to proceed further with the game.

Technically, the game is acceptable but not outstanding. Even taking into account the DS hardware limitations and the complications of making a big open city, the game looks pretty lousy. Whether you are in third-person or top-down mode you will struggle on many occasions to find what you are looking for against the backgrounds. The sounds are generic and generally acceptable, but nothing ever stands out as good.

The controls are generally lousy. For a game that is a hybrid action-adventure-shooter, it has lousy shooter controls and lousy driving controls. Fortunately, there is little impact of reckless driving in terms of anything but slowing yourself down as you struggle through timed missions. While I am talking about missions, I already mentioned the ’emergent’ nature of many missions similar to the GTA games, but there are also way too many timed elements. Pairing crappy controls with timed missions is a direct route to extreme player frustration.

C.O.P. The Recruit seems like a good idea for a game … until you play it. The combination of lousy controls, poor missions, frustrating computer interface, mediocre graphics and annoying timed missions makes this something I cannot possibly recommend to anyone who actually likes any genre that might attract them to this stinker of a game. If you haven’t played GTA: Chinatown Wars, go grab it now, and if you have … replay it rather than be tempted to buy this!


+ Nice attempt at melding third-person and top-down views

– Shooter action is frustrating
– Inane story
– Contrived gameplay

Game Info:
Platform: DS
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 11/3/09
Genre: Action/Adventure
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1
Source: Review copy provided by publisher

About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!