Developed by Weappy Studio and published by THQ, Rebel Cops is a turn-based strategy game with hints of XCOM about it; not quite as complex, but with a lot more attention needed to caution. The game sets the scene with you controlling rogue band of rebel cops with good hearts and a passion for justice. A crime lord has taken over the town and the police are in his pocket. Someone has to stand up to him, and so the Rebel Cops come forth.
As you no longer work for the police you lack the funding and the equipment to be able to do your duty. So, as a compromise, the good people of the town scrape together funds for the rebel cops in return for certain operations or side quests to slowly take back the town from the thugs. Your success in the missions will be what decides further funds, or how renown you become to progress further in the game. Graphically this game is not pulling up any trees, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up in charm. The music in the game has a fast beat and ties in with the gritty action style of the game but is not memorable enough to know if it is looping at any point.
With the limited funds you need to pick and choose your equipment wisely from lethal and non-lethal weapons to various armour for protection. There is also the option for med-kits and lock-picks to help you get through the missions and into certain locked doors quietly. The missions also give you an idea of the sort of equipment to take with you as there are requirements to the mission to meet for maximum success, such as do not kill any guards.
This is where the difficulty comes in as it doesn’t pay to go in all guns blazing. Not only are there no hit points, but early on your officers are not always the best shots. It’ll only take one shot to the head and one of your officers is gone for good. Even a shot to other parts of the body makes you bleed out pretty quickly. Stealth is a requirement to success; you always need to make sure you have the edge and catch the enemy off their guard. The reward is always higher by taking the non-lethal route of either incapacitating the enemy with a baton or taser before arresting them. You can also try the shouting freeze option which may make the enemy give up. But the non-lethal methods all come at a risk. They take longer to perform so you must make sure another enemy doesn’t catch you or that your stats are high enough that the enemy won’t ignore your shouts of freeze and take a shot at you.
A lot of the missions’ flow in a pattern so timing is key and with the standard difficulty settings you are allowed a limited number of in-game instant saves. This needs to be used wisely and usually before you try something risky, so if things do decline rapidly then you can quickly load back the game and formulate a new strategy. The combat in the game is the trickiest part of the game to plan around. It is imperative to make sure that your cops are in cover as the enemies seem to be surprisingly accurate. But even behind cover your cops sometimes take a hit so body and head armour play a key part in staying alive. Inevitably, there are not enough funds to load up everyone one with armour and med-kits picking and choosing when to battle is key.
However, to help things swing back in your favour after a successful mission, depending on how well you did your officers will level up which will allow you to increase one of their major stats as well as adding a perk. The main stats to improve are your vision to increase how far you can see in the distance, speed to allow you to move further each turn and your gunman-ship which will make you more accurate with the guns. Some of the perks you can receive are that you will fire back if an enemy shoots at you on their turn or you have more chance of an enemy holding their hands up if you shout freeze from a distance. However, with all these nice bonuses your officers struggle to do two missions consecutively and become tired so their stats are reduced if used again in the next mission. This is a clever but mean-spirited way of making sure you use all your officers at your disposal who may not be as good.
Rebel cops may be simple in graphics and gameplay mechanics, but it makes up for it by its clever push for tactics and strategy. You will feel connected to your team and not want anyone to die, but this game is tricky enough that the choice may not be in your control. If you like a challenge and as well as playing with stealth, then this game will strongly interest you.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.