COPS 2170: The Power of Law Review
Cops 2170 is a turn-based, squad-based strategy game that is supposed to emphasize sound tactics over fast reflexes. In reality, it emphasizes random acts of illogical action over anything that makes sense. Couple this with missions that feature obscure or virtually non-existent objectives and you get a game best suited to those fond of self-torture with a lot of time on their hands.
The game’s problems begin right from the start. You’re given control of a rookie cop named Katy and are unceremoniously dropped in the middle of a very large and mostly empty police station. From there you must … uh … hmmm … good question. Yep, you’ll begin the game with no idea of what you’re supposed to be doing. Not a good start. Walking around and speaking to the few other people around rewards you with no useful information whatsoever. If at this point you are not thoroughly frustrated or bored out of your mind, you’ll eventually encounter a few people who will ask to join your squad. Now instead of controlling one aimless wanderer, you’ll have two or three at your disposal. Keep at it for a while and you’ll eventually figure out how to trigger the first mission which has, you guessed it, confusing goals. Wander around, kill everyone, wander around some more, and eventually your reward will be another convoluted and confusing mission. Woo-hoo.
There is a storyline behind all of this aimlessness that has something to do with mutants, corporate conspiracies, and crooked cops. Usually when you bring so many clichés into a storyline you end up with something generic but at least familiar and recognizable, yet in Cops 2170 the developers manage to turn the story into an at times incomprehensible mess. Tiresome cutscenes and poorly translated, cheesy dialogue certainly don’t help matters. The game tries to draw you in with a branching storyline that depends on which faction you decide to align yourself with, but this potentially interesting aspect of the game is simply maimed in the execution.
A lot of this confusion and discombobulation would be easier to take if Cops 2170 delivered on the gameplay, but it falls drastically short on this front as well. The game is played in a turn-based manner, where one side moves their people one at a time until they each run out of action points and then play switches to the other side. It doesn’t make for fast-paced action, but good turn-based games can still provide good strategic gameplay in today’s real-time world. Good turn-based games that is, of which Cops 2170 is not one.