Rebel Cops is a spin-off game of ‘This is the Police’ which released back in 2016. Besides being a spin-off, it’s also a twist on the original plot of the game. Instead of being the crime kingpin, you’re now the responding band of cops here to take back your town. I really loved the story of this game and it was one of the driving forces behind why I liked it as much as I did. Obviously it wasn’t the only reason though.
Any story involving bad boys esque cops immediately takes me back to the late 90s-early 2000s in storytelling. This game induces the same feeling pretty much. Viktor Zuev, a mobster/crime boss has completely bought off and taken over the town of Ripton. When I say takeover, I mean that quite literally. The police force itself, AKA your superiors, have also fed into this hierarchy of corrupt purchasing.
You on the other hand, are the response unit. One in the form of a small band of anti-corrupt cops that want to take the town back, one section at a time. The thing is that Zuev won’t just give it back to you. Obviously, a lot of taking over from the original hostile take-over is about to go down.
Now the game functions as an isometric top-down strategy game. This means most of the combat and actions are also turn-based as you would imagine. Besides that, the game is also very stealth focused. Keep in mind that despite being rebels, you’re still police officers. This means you can’t just go in guns blazing and blow everybody up. Or well, you can, but it won’t bode well for you at all.
That’s one of the major components of Rebel Cops, strategy in the long-run. The game really does force you to think and consider every action before you do it. Any initially minor decision can come back to bite you in the ass at a later point in time. The issue I struggled with, something I find as an issue in loads of games, was resource management. I didn’t realize how many weapons and tools I’d need which, in order to get, I had to sell supplies. I can be a bit of a needless hoarder in video games and this one definitely punished me for it.
One thing I got the good side of the game in was in how I dealt with the threats. As I said before, you’re cops, not vigilantes. This means that you can’t go around killing the mobsters, because you’ll get no support that way. By killing any of them, you’ll grant them a legacy of martyrdom and paint yourselves as the bad guys, even if your actions were for the greater good
That’s why Rebel Cops does give you an array of options to neutralize the enemy non lethally. Such as sneaking up with a KO Baton or holding them at gunpoint to induce a surrender. Trust me, if you want the story to proceed in a way that’s good for you, emphasize stealth as much as you can. It might take longer but the outcome is more satisfactory. Plus, I didn’t end up needing most of the firepower that I didn’t end up getting.
The gameplay to its very core is like XCOM but with cops. It’s a turn-based isometric game. Normally I don’t like this genre because of how slow the gameplay can be sometimes. However, Rebel Cops actually did a really good job of keeping players engaged. This was primarily done by the high stakes.
People died in this game just like they would die in real life. One gunshot to the body could leave your ally incapacitated and needing medical assistance. Getting that assistance to them used to often be a hair raising experience of its own. Also, no amount of gauze and bandages would save anybody from a direct headshot. The same goes for the enemy but then again, you’re police officers remember?
You can take up to six cops per mission and turns alternate between your police service and the suspects. The mission often does dictate an objective with things like arrest this person or get in undetected. Every so often, you get a morally gray mission that allows the player to make the choice on how to proceed.
As I mentioned earlier, your police officers can be instantly one shotted if you’re not careful. The game emphasizes on stealth as the safest option and unless you’re packing like the Terminator, stick to the shadows. Things like body armor can grant you maybe one or two extra hit points but no more than that.
Each cop has a progression tree with skills and statistics that can be improved. Obviously, if they get gunned down, you lose all that progress and have to send their widowed significant other an apologetic letter. That’s why I did really like the stakes of this game. I only lost one donut connoisseur in my playthrough and nobody else.
The maps on the missions could vary from being close quarter corridors to open box like maps. Personally I liked the tense nature of the more enclosed maps but I liked how the open ones forced you to get more creative.
If I had any issue with Rebel Cops, it was a really minor one. That being that maybe another form of gameplay would’ve suited the story better. As I said before, while Rebel Cops does a great job of it, it can be hard to capture fast paced action in a turn-based formula. At the same time. I understand that to make the game unique, they had to adopt said style. It would’ve been considered a SWAT clone otherwise then.
Other than that, Rebel Cops is a nice solid experience. One that forces you to think before you act. Do you need the supplies you got? Do you really want to arrest this mob’s boot licking assbutt? Do you really want to send your star cop out on a move that could potentially kill? Questions you’ll ask yourself if you choose to play the game.