Rebel Cops Review – A Tactically Sound Cop Title

Rebel Cops
Weappy Studio / THQ Nordic

If you’re a gamer who is into indie games, you may have already heard about the This is the Police franchise. Their latest game in the series, Rebel Cops, is a spin-off title that removes all of the police troop management and most of the rather shady moral dilemmas and focuses mainly on the turn-based, tactical portion of the previous entries.

The backstory of Rebel Cops is pretty boilerplate but frankly, what cop story haven’t we seen before? A mysterious Russian mobster known as Viktor Zuev has moved into the little town of Ripton and basically either paid everyone off or caused the death of any who resisted. This includes the local police department.

You play as a small faction of police who couldn’t be bought off (cue: The Untouchables theme song). Unfortunately, being a band of “rebel cops” means that they no longer have the recourses of the official police department since they’ve gone rogue. Therefore, your guys will only have access to second-hand weapons and equipment.

Although outmanned and outgunned, your rebel cops can call on the assistance of local Ripton citizens to help you in your efforts to take back the town. If you carry out their quests favorably and give them some of the loot from missions, you’ll be looked at in a positive light and relations with them will increase. However, failing lots of missions will make them lose faith in you and you may find your financial resources drying up pretty quickly.

Rebel Cops almost feels like a roguelike in its brutality. You can aim for the head, chest, arms, and legs, but if a body part isn’t covered by body armor, you can pretty much kiss that renegade cop’s life away. Even with armor, a headshot is always a very bad thing.

To mitigate this unforgiving combat system, your fellow rebel cops can dash to the aid of downed comrades, provided they don’t put themselves into the line of fire of enemies. I liked that the devs added this touch of medical support for people who might shy away from games that they feel are overly-difficult.

One of the major advantages that your renegades have on their side (besides a human brain controlling them) is stealth. Your criminal foes can’t see your guys if they’re tucked behind cover. Unfortunately, even though Rebel Cops is played from a top-down, X-COM-style perspective, you can’t rotate the game’s maps which means you can’t tell if you’re in cover or not, much of the time.

If you manage to sneak up on enemies, you can simply incapacitate them with batons and then arrest them. When you arrest criminals, they simply vanish from the map without a trace. Although this makes things easier for you from a gameplay perspective, it’s a little unrealistic and breaks the sense of immersion sometimes but I guess maybe they designed it to free up resources.

Mission-wise, a lot of quests are more difficult than they first appear. Even the side missions can be extremely deadly to your force’s lives. You’re only allowed to take six renegade cops on a mission, but since many missions are spread out in faraway spots, you’ll have to divide your forces during the campaign. Upon successfully completing objectives and gaining experience, you can build up your rebel cop’s three attributes, which are Strength, Shooting, and Speed.

One of the features I did find really handy in Rebel Cops was the ability for your cops to cover each other during combat. When implemented correctly, this buddy covering system can prevent your guys from being surprised by criminals. It’s a pretty unique system that I haven’t seen imploded in other tactical, top-down games.

In any event, Rebel Cops is a pretty fun turn-based tactical game that will probably appeal to lovers of the top-down, tactical genre. It has some fun combat and if you’re prepared for a hard as nails game, it could well be worth a try.

SCORE: 77%

Rebel Cops has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its tactical-based gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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