Rebel Cops impressions: not the game I anticipated it to be

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Rebel Cops, a turn-primarily based spinoff from This Is the Police, is not the game that I anticipated it to be. I’m only about 3 hours in, but each its mechanics and its setting continue to surprise me, for excellent and ill.

The outcome is a completely functional turn-primarily based game with some thrilling open-globe components. However, I’m unlikely to come back to finish it due to poor pacing and a lack of depth.

The hardest pill to swallow is the apparent bait and switch the game tends to make with its advertising. Videos for Rebel Cops show a hardy bunch of people who could simply pass for Illinois state troopers, or regional police from any of the 50 states.

With wide-brimmed hats and furred collars, they appear like cartoon versions of the cast of Longmire. But the narrative of Rebel Cops itself is set someplace in Eastern Europe. Rather than a laconic sheriff generating do on the higher prairie, I’m cast as a malnourished Robin Hood living hand to mouth at a secret camp in the woods. It is a tiny jarring.

That setting offers Rebel Cops a handful of unexpected components, to say the least.

Policing as guerrilla warfare

The town that this police force was initially sworn to guard has been taken more than by a crime boss. Rather than submit to his will, we’ve gone rogue and begun to secretly function against him. It is unclear what his crimes are, but apparently they’re extreme adequate that we have a green light to kill any one functioning alongside him. However, the “suspects” we’re attempting to capture or kill are either private safety forces — lightly armed civilians, primarily — hardened criminals, or other cops.

When the game starts, the rebel cops are flat broke. I want to be inventive with our funding streams, and pinch a handful of pennies when I can. Most of the money comes from looting crime scenes of valuables, or taking bribes from law-abiding townsfolk. Prisoners are not even kept beneath lock and essential at the county courthouse. Alternatively, they’re shipped off to “Crazy Steve’s farm,” exactly where they bed down on hay, get clothed in rags, and consume a steady eating plan of tree bark. Guns are exceedingly uncommon, which indicates that I’m not capable to afford firearms for all of my troopers when the game begins.

Alternatively, I have the alternative of working with clubs to knock suspects out, or knives to slit their throats. Faced with dozens of pistol-packing enemies, there’s tiny incentive to play good. As with the looting and bribery, there are handful of penalties for committing some murders in the line of duty. It is an uncomfortable feeling playing as a cop killing each civilians and other cops, even though functioning on the incorrect side of the law to attempt to do what’s arguably the appropriate point — and the game chooses not to engage with that quite seriously throughout the hours I’ve played.


An early story beat makes sure players know that cops are down on their luck. An image here shows a cop in his boxers, eating from a tin plate in the woods. His clothes are on a line behind him and snow is lying on the ground.

Weappy Studio/THQ Nordic

Rebel Cops plays out the way you’d count on from this sort of turn-primarily based approach title. Each and every cop gets two actions per turn, which they can use to move or to attack enemies. Arresting suspects quietly and peacefully removes them from the map, and offers you points that you can money in for additional moves and other perks inside the identical encounter. Moving stealthily in massive groups is commonly much more beneficial than opening fire.

Fog of war is in spot, which means that you never ever know what lurks about the subsequent corner. The game makes use of a buddy technique to assistance maintain your cops alive. If you inform 1 of your cops to do anything stupid — move into a space with no clearing it, for instance — 1 of the other cops in close proximity will quit them ahead of they go into harm’s way. That second cop will then reveal 1 of the previously undetected enemies inside the space, and give you the alternative to make a distinctive move.

In action, having said that, this feels a bit like gaming the technique. Stack up adequate cops at the entrance to a doorway, and you can reveal fairly a great deal each enemy on the other side with no even peeking your head about the corner. The game’s design and style fights back by providing players tiny to no detail about what an enemy alert radius or observation cone appears like. It is a bit like playing the Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines tactical stealth game with half the user interface removed.


A sceenshot from Rebel Cops showing a character moving toward a stairwell in the center of the screen while on the right another character makes an arrest.

Weappy Studio/THQ Nordic

Additionally, the “one shot, 1 kill” tagline that the game makes use of in its advertising is also somewhat misleading. Your bullets have to hit the target 1st, and till you have constructed up your capabilities at firearms, that is unlikely to take place at something other than very brief variety.

Each and every shot is a referred to as shot, which means that you can select to hit a precise place each time you fire. Aiming for the head grants a 1-shot kill center mass drops an enemy on the ground exactly where they bleed out for 3 turns winging a person in the arm or leg puts them down, bleeding out for 5 turns. Physique armor, like helmets, additional complicates factors by absorbing rounds.

The bottom line is that I necessary anyplace from 1 to 5 rounds to get the job carried out. The identical can not be stated of the game’s enemies, having said that, which are very lethal in the early game.

All round, I spent a lot much more time sneaking about and positioning my forces than I did carrying out something meaningful. Exploration was enjoyable, particularly on the enormous free of charge-exploration maps. But not when I was restricted to 3 saves per map, and had to contend with opaque stealth mechanics along the way. The perks technique also left a lot to be preferred, with just a handful of choices to select from, limiting my tactical choices.

Is Rebel Cops a negative game? Not actually, but I wasn’t precisely ready for the game it ended up getting. It is a strange, morally ambiguous knowledge about attempting to fight for peace in an atmosphere in which I have handful of of the tools required to do so with no breaking the law myself. It is appropriate there in the name, but it absolutely wasn’t in the trailers.

Rebel Cops is obtainable now on PlayStation four, Windows Computer, and Xbox One particular. The game was played working with a final “retail” download code offered by THQ Nordic. You can discover extra facts about Polygon’s ethics policy right here.

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