PC REVIEW: COPS 2170: THE POWER OF LAW

Cops 2170 not only flings you into the future but it drops you off in the middle of a futuristic police station to fend for yourself with virtually no information or outside assistance. I don't think that part of the strategy, or difficulty, of a game should include figuring out how to begin playing it.

Cops 2170 so closely resembles a typical action shooter that I'm sure many potential customers will be disappointed to learn that the gameplay is turn based. You have a certain amount of action points that you can use before your turn is up and then things are handed over to the enemy. The points can be used for moving around the map, firing weapons, acquiring items and healing. This method requires that every move you make is carefully planned which is not always the case in realistic, day-to-day police activities - even if events do take place in the future.

Kati is fresh out of the academy but she's got a bit of an attitude on her. She may be a rookie but that doesn't excuse the fact that she doesn't have a clue as to who to talk in the station about how to outfit herself with weapons or find her first mission. A training mode is definitely needed here. Wandering around the precinct looking for information is needlessly frustrating. Thus, the tone is set for the remainder of the gameplay.

It's very easy to deplete your points early on in the game. Sometimes you'll use them all up just getting to the location of an enemy. It's also very easy to get killed since the enemy can fire at you off-screen - before you even see him. If he tosses a grenade you'll have to start over at the last save area.

There are different ways to complete each mission but the process can become quite tedious especially if you're an action buff. The strategy is not very complex. Once you figure out what it is you're supposed to do, and you come to terms with the control system the strategy becomes more of a lesson in conservation of points than anything else. There are some 60 weapons which you will get to use as you complete missions and rise through the ranks.

Almost everyone has something to say. And say and say and say…There is so much dialog in this game that it could be turned into a play - possibly a musical. The story takes forever to unfold as there are too many unrelated plots and unnecessary character development devices to wade through. The writing is comic-book caliber but there's just too much text. Obviously the author has never heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Things may not seem so bad if the voiceacting was decent but it's forced and phony. It's hard to listen to after a while because it just sounds so insincere.

Just looking at the screenshots you have to admire the graphics. Skyscrapers are monolithic; casting the streets in an almost perpetual gloom that captures the "Robocop" ambience of the game. The animation is another story. It's slow and stiff - basically mirroring the gameplay. The interface could be a thousand times more helpful and easier to access. The tunes are decent but it's hard to image this techno stuff being listened to 165-years from now.

At best, Cops 2170 may stimulate an interest in strategy games with those unfamiliar with the genre. I would recommend checking out a walkthrough just to get to the first mission because if I didn't have to review this game the disk would have ended up smashed on the other side of my office in the first fifteen minutes.

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System: PC
Dev: Mist Land
Pub: Strategy First
Release: Jan 2005
Players: 1
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
1.0