Beat Cop knows what it’s about. From the off, it reminds you that it’s definitely a video game and definitely shouldn’t be taken seriously. But while the million call-backs to the eighties are light-hearted observations on the decade of neon and hair metal, it’s marred by long, uninteresting dialogue and tiresome tasks that subvert from its otherwise quirky and intriguing package.
It really is an interesting package as Beat Cop is an ode to the Point and Click era. Jack Kelly has gotten himself into a spot of bother, framed for the theft of a senator’s priceless jewels, he’s got a month to clear his name and find the real culprit. After moving to a new beat, he now finds himself stuck in the middle of a turf war between the Mafia and the local street crew, as well as trying to impress his new boss.
Each day brings new challenges, from the mundane jobs of a low ranking officer to the main storyline tasks to try and get closer to solving the mystery. The game takes place entirely on the single street you patrol, but there’s plenty of shops, buildings and people to interact with. There’s plenty of unique conversations to have, but after a while you realise many interactions are carbon copies of each other. For example, you get the same spiel from every parking violator that tries to bribe you, just like many of the shop interactions are exactly the same.
And while some of these conversations are fun to read, many are overly long and frankly, boring. It’s most obvious when completing story tasks where dialogue drags and doesn’t offer anything meaningful. Regardless, for a pretty simple 8-Bit side scroller there’s some great character development, and despite the scripting often falling short, it always feels like the 80s cop drama that it so desperately wants to mirror.
When not chatting, you find yourself issuing traffic fines and catching crooks. Each day your boss gives you a list of tasks to complete, like get a certain amounts of cars towed or issue a set amount of parking fines. It might not sound too interesting but it’s a pretty competent system and oddly addictive. The main issue really is that there’s not enough to stop it becoming repetitive. Days end after a set time, so when you’ve completed your quota, the only thing to do is wait the day out by issuing extra fines. It’s simply too linear to give you any reason to want to keep checking tyres to see if they’re illegal. Outside of parking fines, occasionally crimes occur that require your attention. Unfortunately, it’s mostly a case of running after crooks and hammering a button to arrest them. The rest of the crimes are usually solved by more conversations that just aren’t interesting enough to follow.
You also have to ensure you keep a fine balance between the police force, mafia and crew by keeping them all happy. Helping one group often negatively effects another and so on, making it difficult to progress and keep everyone happy. It’s also difficult to get a decent amount of money behind you unless you’re keen on doing tasks for one of the street gangs, putting you in a bad place with the police force.
But while it’s hard to fully commit to making your way through the entirety of Beat Cop, I completely commend its dedication to the 80s spiel it’s trying to sell. I love the variation of tropes displayed across the bunch of characters, stores and Easter eggs you find the more you explore. It also plays really well on console and using a controller doesn’t feel cumbersome compared its desktop Point and Click counterpart.
Dialogue heavy, Beat Cop can’t back up its wordiness with meaningful dialogue. The mundane tasks of our street-smart copper are enjoyable for a while, but it doesn’t commit to anything enough to warrant seeing the adventure fully out. If you want a decent throwback to the 80s then go for it, but there’s better Point and Click adventures and better old school revivals.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
User Review( votes)
Beat Cop knows what it’s about. From the off, it reminds you that it’s definitely a video game and definitely shouldn’t be taken seriously.