C.O.P. The Recruit Review

The first thing I noticed, and surely the first thing everyone will notice about C.O.P.: The Recruit is the packaging screaming about the game being "The Winner of Multiple E3 Awards." That's funny, actually. Thinking back, I do remember this game's name being tossed around at E3 time, being hailed as a Grand Theft Auto from the other side of the coin instead of breaking the law, you're going to uphold it. What frankly leaves me baffled is why an open world action game, a game that garnered multiple E3 awards and offers a fresh perspective on the cops 'n robbers formula, completely disappeared from the radar and hit stores with absolutely zero advance press or hype. Regardless of the PR wipeout, if you every found any enjoyment in the GTA series, C.O.P. should be on your list of games to check out. It isn't perfect and some annoying flaws and design choices will make you want to sling your DS at the nearest wall or small animal, but the game's variety, scale and excellent driving mechanics will smooth over most touch screen-related frustrations.

C.O.P.'s take on the sandbox action game finds all of its uniqueness in its story. Just as the title suggests, you play a recruit to the NYPD; a former career criminal who turns away from his shady dealings (for the most part) to help lock up the worst of the city's worst. As you complete the game's story missions and side quests, you'll meet some interesting characters good and bad but the "bad guy turns good" theme is the backbone of the game's plot and allows you to still feel like a good guy when you try to justify shooting first and driving on the wrong side of the road from time to time.

When Rockstar brought GTA: Chinatown Wars to the DS, we all expected the switch from behind the back 3D graphics to a top-down, semi cel-shaded look as a constraint forced by the power of Nintendo's handheld, or lack of it. It's been less than a year since then, and here comes Ubisoft to prove that the old 3D GTA style would have been more than possible. C.O.P. looks and plays like a true 3D GTA with more DS-specific actions than you can shake a stick at. Well, almost.