C.O.P the Recruit DS Review

Nintendo DS owners already have a sandbox adventure in the form of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, but what about an alternative for gamers who want to play on the right side of the law? Well, Ubisoft has just what they need with C.O.P the Recruit, an imperfect but likable action game that lets people clean up the streets.

When the game begins, you're introduced to Dan Miles, a former street racer who's in a high speed pursuit. The cops eventually catch him, but rather than slap a huge jail sentence on him, they offer an alternative. There's an organization within the district that converts former criminals into cops. Dan agrees and joins the force, only to find that the criminals wreaking havoc are more than he bargained for.

C.O.P the Recruit offers a number of criminal-busting missions to complete, and you can beat them at your leisure. Both New York and New Jersey were compressed into one impressive video game world, with a steady frame rate (around 60 frames per second, unless there are multiple enemies on-screen) and lots of room to explore. Better still, you'll never get lost, as your objectives appear on a GPS, located along the bottom screen.

In addition, the game has a decent storyline. We learn a little more about Dan over the course of the game, as he interacts with people around the station and several of his contacts (who have no idea he's an officer of the law). Some of the dialogue is corny, but that just comes with the territory, so we don't mind. Overall, it's surprisingly well written, and will keep players interested.

We just wish the controls weren't so awkward. You'll need to control character movement using the d-pad, while using your touch-screen to drag the on-screen cursor. From there, you'll either tap the screen to shoot or use the shoulder button. There are times you'll miss your targets due to this system and take damage as a result, unless you're really good, of course.

Driving isn't bad, but for some reason, the cars handle a little heavy. Turning takes longer than expected unless you apply the emergency brake, which is a disadvantage while in hot pursuit. We suggest practicing before a mission.

Then there are the on-foot segments, where you'll walk around the police station to speak with your superiors and go through areas you can't access with your car. You move around just fine, but the in-game characters move so slow, it's almost like they have broken legs. Your captain is in such a hurry to get missions completed, but she takes her sweet time directing you around.

There are several hours' worth of play to get out of C.O.P the Recruit, but it's by no means a successor to the superior Chinatown Wars. There is no multiplayer to speak of, and only a few bonus missions pop up when you finish the game. Still, it's a gas to fool around the city, busting through street blockades to find secret areas and watching panicked civilians jump out of the way. (Sorry, you can't run them over.)

If you're looking for a somewhat fun action, you could do worse than C.O.P the Recruit. The shooting controls needed work, and it would've been nice to have a multiplayer mode, but this is one police story worth listening to.

What's Hot: Decent storyline, plenty to do throughout New York and New Jersey, graphics look terrific on the DS (especially when you drive through objects).

What's Not: Clumsy touch-screen shooting, stiff driving controls, cornball dialogue, certain characters move too slow, no multiplayer.