Rebel Cops from Weappy Studio and THQ Nordic released on the 17th September 2019. Set in the same universe as This Is The Police. In Rebel Cops, players command a squad of rebellious outlawed cops in a crime ridden game world where even the police are corrupt. The game features turn-based mechanics and is quite in-depth with regards to its gameplay.
The story in Rebel Cops is fleshed out throughout the game by means of graphic novel-esque scenes that explain what’s going on. After criminal mastermind Viktor Zuev takes over Ripton, you and your fellow police officers team up to fight against the corrupt police force and Zuev’s henchmen. In the process of fighting back, players will be able to recruit more help in the form of other police officers and civilians which will assist you in ridding the town of the criminal mastermind and his forces.
The gameplay in Rebel Cops is not for everyone. If you want a game where you can just run in and gun everything to death, this isn’t for you. Stealth Tactics and proper planning are necessary and the turn-based mechanics mean that each scenario takes quite a while to play out. Players will have to carefully plan all their moves and Rebel Cops complicates matters further with an element of chance thrown into the mix.
Players will move their rebel cops on a grid-based map. Each cop has two actions per turn and can choose to use both actions at once to move a larger distance, though this is not recommended. Moving the recommended distance with one turn and using your next turn to attack, arrest, stun or freeze an enemy is much more preferable when the game favours stealth so much.
The gameplay sounds good on paper but in action, Rebel Cops suffers from a host of flaws. The first of which being the fact that you have to sit and watch your cops perform their move animations at such a slow pace. This means that most of the time on a particular map, you’ll be watching as your cops run the required distance you select each turn. This is time consuming and people who lack patience will find it painfully slow. The second flaw lies in the fact that the game favours stealth and punishes you harshly if you don’t stick to the shadows. This once again, slows down the gameplay tremendously since you’ll have to purposefully move your cops out of the way and into positions that provide cover and keep them hidden from enemies or risk losing in no time flat. Taking on enemies head on often just results in your cops being shot to death during the enemy’s turn since enemies will gang up on you quite easily given the sheer number of them in some levels.
Another flaw the game has lies with its UI design which requires players to wait until a prompt pops up over the scenery for you to select an action to perform. For example, if you want to pick up something, you need to use two whole actions. One to move your cop next to the item and another to pick it up. This should really just be one complete action as it unnecessarily draws things out and wastes so much time in the game if you try to collect the items on each map.
The random element in the gameplay is possibly another flaw that some may severely dislike since players will have a chance of either killing a target outright or incapacitating them, by shooting their weapon out of their hands, or crippling them by shooting them in the legs or body, causing them to bleed out slowly over time. Enemies can do the same to you though and there will definitely be a lot of running up and down between your own forces to provide healing and support when enemies luck out and deal some damage to you without killing you outright.
Suppose you are stealthy though and play the game with extremely high levels of patience. When you finish a mission, you are presented with resources to buy more weapons and equipment for your cops. You also gain some new recruits and can bring them to the next mission. However, even with these new recruits you will still be severely outnumbered in your missions. Good luck trying to survive when the enemy clearly have eagle vision compared to your cop’s paltry eyesight. Oh and let’s not forget that you can only save the game 3 times per mission, so there’s no chance to undo a mistake infinitely should you mess up a turn.
Thankfully, the game features a bit of a cop out (pun intended) in the form of using a command center mechanic which lets you apply a global buff to your units. This can change the game in the blink of an eye and can help you achieve victory provided you have enough rebel points accumulated in a mission. One particular buff for example will send all enemy units in your cop’s field of vision straight to jail and this an absolute game changer in some situations.
The soundtrack in Rebel Cops is pretty standard with nothing really standing out. The story is also quite weak with nothing particularly drawing you into the game’s world, especially since you don’t feel a real connection with your squad of cops. Graphically, the game looks great though with an aesthetic that is unique. The art style is definitely enough to draw attention to the game and it’s a shame that the gameplay right now is such a mixed bag. The story could have been fleshed out a lot better as well by giving more personality to each of the cops in your squad instead of having them just be randoms picked up along the way.
Overall, Rebel Cops is a game that will probably succeed if it undergoes some surgery and gets some quality of life improvements. Core gameplay mechanics need to be tweaked and the developers need to increase the speed of unit actions or add a fast-forward button to speed up the gameplay. Sinking 1 to 2 hours into a single mission in the game is too much of an ask at the slow pace it progresses at and the unnecessarily excessive need for stealth ruins what could possibly be a great tactical game if it were more balanced.
As it stands right now, Rebel Cops is not recommended by us. It is a fully released title on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC (Steam) but we suggest waiting until it’s patched before jumping into this game.
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