Since I received my 2DS for Christmas I have been on an absolute frenzy to find games for both the DS and 3DS side of the hardware, so I can take full advantage of the system. Besides filling the many empty DS cases I've picked up from the outlet store, one of my immediate searches was for a GTA game on the DS, or at least a decent clone. The clear answer was GTA: Chinatown Wars, which harkens back to the old top down, Playstation style of gameplay, rather than the new 3D style.
Unsatisfied with both the current price of GTA Chinatown Wars and the fact that it was top down, I kept looking. Unsurprisingly the DS didn't get very many GTA clones, although the 3DS did get a handful including Driver: Renegade, which I do plan to get sometime in the future. As for the DS side of things the only thing I found that could remotely fill the GTA need was COP: The Recruit, an Ubisoft game that essentially took Driver: Parallel Lines and crammed it into a DS sized adventure. But how does it stack up to one of my most beloved console games ever?
I've made it abundantly clear that I am a rabid fan of the Xbox version of Driver: Parallel Lines. The Wii version looks slightly better, but falls on it's face with the forced injection of the stupid Wii waggle remote gimmick. So how does COP: The Recruit feel? Well it feels like a truncated version of Parallel Lines. The map has most of the same landmarks, feel and look, but many things are adjusted or just plain not there.
COP: The Recruit feels thrown together with dialog seemingly being written by a twelve year old trying to write a police drama, or a fifty year old trying to write a hip police drama, either way is accurate. Not that I fully understand the story, the dialog scrolls fairly smoothly into the box, but doesn't always stay long enough for me to fully digest what has been said. The dialog just flows, regardless of me pressing a button or not. This doesn't affect missions as they are kept within a log on your police issue handheld device.
What would a driving based video game be without vehicles? Well, COP: The Recruit offers a few different vehicles, most of them sharing the same slippy and sliding controls, with only a few being of any real interest. As an officer of the law you'll find it odd how this game forces you to hijack vehicles, as you'll never be given one after loading up your save. Which isn't that big of an issue really as you can just mash the run button and run almost as fast as vehicles in the game. Yes, you read that correctly, you can run almost as fast as vehicles in the game.
This game also falls a bit into the Nintendo gimmick of using the touchscreen for something that it simply shouldn't; the shooting mechanics. Firstly, using the stylus to aim precisely is an exercise in futility, and even once you're aiming at the perpetrator you still need to unload a full clip or two to get them to go down. While the amount of bullets is Ubisoft's problem, the gimmick of using the touch screen for gun battles is, I'm guessing, Nintendo's fault. It gets the job done, but I'm just not a big fan.
To be fair COP: The Recruit only has a few flaws, and it does fill a gap in the market and really shows what could have been an amazing game, given a few more months of polish. I'm not sure if it's just my copy of the game or not, but the screen does jump around a bit at times, but it's nothing game breaking. The game does offer a handful of things to collect, such as taking photographs of famous landmarks around New York City, and breaking down green flashing barricades hidden throughout alleys in the city.
My only real dislike for this game is that it feels like it wasn't polished, even though it reportedly won "multiple awards at E3". The game had so much promise that it even fell into the evil clutches of offering pre-order exclusive missions from Gamestop, the code for which hasn't surfaced online for some odd reason. COP: The Recruit shows us what the DS could handle and perhaps what GTA Chinatown Wars should have been. Regardless it's a fun little portable version, albeit chopped up, of the Driver game that I adore, and I'm glad that I could have some facsimile on the DS to play with.