What are cops doing when they’re not chasing down drunk drivers, nabbing pimps, or responding to domestic violence calls? They’re handing out tickets. A job we think is synonymous with daily adrenaline pumping activity gets pretty mundane. Someone didn’t cramp their tires right, ticket. Parking meter ran out? Ticket. This is what Jack Kelly does on the streets of Brooklyn. He hands out tickets to those who refuse to obey the law, and occasionally solves bigger crimes - if he has time. This is Beat Cop.
Beat Cop First Impressions
The beat goes on and on.
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After being demoted from a detective to neighborhood beat cop, Jack finds himself among a group of foul-mouthed cops, a sergeant that quickly comes to dislike him, and has $300 of alimony to pay. But he’s been framed and on his first day on the streets, a gang kills his predecessor actually going for Jack. It’s up to you to figure out why it happened but you have to make sure you fulfill your daily quota of tickets. If you don’t, you lose money off your paycheck and the sergeant will give you hell.
You can hand out tickets for parking violations, phony license plates, bad tires, and broken lights. But most of the time, the sergeant wants you to fill a quota of a certain kind of tickets, and most times it was parking violations. You might have to search a vehicle for illegal substances which is a light puzzle involving moving objects with only a certain amount of moves, but that happened one time in the preview.
You kind of already know who really runs this neighborhood.
But filling your quota gets tricky because you also have to answer other distress calls. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want to have rapport with your neighborhood, you’ll want to catch shoplifters, follow up on murders, and other more pressing matters than the guy who’s still parked by an expired parking meter. But for every distress call you take, you’re losing time on fulling your quota and some crimes are much more involved than others. And on top of that, some people will try to negotiate with you to get out of getting a ticket or being arrested. They’ll offer money, girls, or just threaten you.
You might have to venture into your dark side, though. The mafia exists on your block and they obviously have ins. If you want to find out who put the hit on you and killed your partner, you’ll have to work with them. Once all of these factors came into play, it was much more interesting to work out the quota of tickets for the day. But as each day passed (the demo only lasted seven days), I had heard about every bribe multiple times and kind of figured out how to game the ticket system in my favor to meet my quota every day. It’s only a preview but that was disappointing.
What the end of your day could look like.
There’s still a lot of time for the developers to make improvements and perfect the systems, though. One that could use a bit more clarification is stamina. Sometimes it’s advantageous to run down someone to arrest them but you need stamina. The lower your stamina, the shorter you can run. You can recharge by eating from different shops around the neighborhood. Treat them well and they might hook you up for free. But unless you open the options menu, it’s hard to tell how low your stamina is. All you see is a “Stamina -1” fall above your head when you’re losing it. It ends up being more work than it’s worth to constantly open the menu to check stamina.
One disturbing trend I saw in the game was the use of black people as the criminals or pests. Brooklyn has a large population of black people but as a satirical game, it doesn’t sit right that most of the people giving me a hard time were black people. I normally don’t care about these type of things, even as a black person, but it was fairly overt. Even one of the media stations was called KKK.
Choices you make can affect your status with others or as a cop.
And this is an overall problem with Beat Cop. Many jokes felt sophomoric. They happened mostly in the briefing room after the sergeant runs down the day. Some of them were funny. Most of them felt like jokes high school boys make to each other. They were unrefined and forced. I understand the developers are going for the raunchy humor, that’s fine, but refine it. High school jokes are stupid now. But despite those criticisms, I looked forward to seeing what they had to say in the briefing room.
Beat Cop’s release date is a broad Q4 2016. And it looks like it’s aimed at fans of indie games, so if Pixel Crow cares at all about the state of the gameplay loop, I would think they would release deeper into the fourth quarter knowing that indie fans won’t be phased by the bombardment of AAA releases. But this was only a slice of the game and perhaps they’ll be confident the full package will deliver and decide to release early Q4.
Beat Cop is a cop simulator as much as Goat Simulator simulates the life of a goat. Yes, you are a cop, you do cop things, but this is a management sim dressed up with a blue uniform and badge. It has potential. It’s irreverent, it’s challenging at times, but because your main duty becomes predictable so quickly, I’m not sure how long you’d want to play this when it launches.
Most anticipated feature: The combination of management sim mixed with engaging, humorous dialogue.