Oppressing a population has never been so much fun!
This review is based on the Oculus Rift version of Giant Cop: Justice Above All. It is coming soon for PlayStation VR and HTC Vive.
I'm an officer of the law. My job is to keep the population of Micro City safe; at least that's what the handbook says. At first I blindly follow orders from HQ, but very early on I begin to see that maybe the police force here is using a bit too much force. It was at this time, when I was throwing C4 through a caved-in roof of a farmer's market (which I had caved in with large boulders and excavators from the same construction site), that I realized I was getting a sick sense of joy from the power. Would I have to answer to anyone for this damage? No! I'm 200 feet tall and I can do whatever I want. I'm Giant Cop, and I'm here to teach wrongdoers in this city a lesson.
My head is huge
Yes, the power went immediately to my giant head. The commissioner and Buddy Cop — my faithful sidekick — rely on me to get things done in Micro City, and I'm more than happy to oblige. The archipelago the city is situated on is split into five parts; you have the upscale downtown section, the suburbs, the industrial area, skid row, and finally the commercial district.
Not all sections are immediately available to you, but they're slowly unlocked as you progress through the storyline. To travel between areas, you pull out your giant map and point to an island. There are also markers on the map that let you know where you can continue the storyline and where there are side missions available from the old lady who continuously calls the cops whenever there's a whiff of crime.
Each section of the city is noticeably different and you can immediately tell where you are. The buildings, cars, outfits, billboards, mansions, trailers, and beaches are all colorful and detailed, and moving around the city is a buffet for your eyes. It's a mix of Tropico, Sims, and every Saturday morning you spent playing with toys and watching cartoons. That's not to say adults won't enjoy this game. The underlying irony and humor are woven into all aspects, and there's definitely some political commentary on the vigorous law enforcement we've seen become so common in recent years.
Living in Micro City
You carry a notebook with you that keeps you informed of your progress collecting hidden police badges, and it also has a checklist concerning your current storyline mission. Don't worry about forgetting what you have to do; the commissioner or Buddy Cop will inform you incessantly to the point of annoyance what your current objective is if you're involved in an ongoing mission.
The city has a "savage cabbage" problem, and you start by busting up parties where cabbages are being consumed. Crime begins seeping out into the surrounding areas as you crack down on growers and users, and retaliatory measures to your strong-arming are taken by some citizens.
Suspects (read: people who disagree with you) you manage to catch are thrown into a giant receptacle either atop the police HQ or below the police blimp that follows you around. The receptacle for suspects is sized the way it is because of a practical reason — you have to often toss from a distance — but it also seems like it's a bit of an ode to how easy it is to fall into the criminal justice system.
In total, the storyline took about two hours to complete. After completion, you can return to the game at a point just before the final boss battle. You're free to move around the city to complete side missions, find collectibles, and generally just fool around with all the stuff on rooftops.
There are countless knick-knacks scattered around the city that you can interact with. Many of them have something to do with the building they're located on, so it all seems pretty natural. Pick up a harmonica and hold it to your mouth to play a tune, grab dart guns and get trigger-happy, pick up a couple of puppets and put on a show, or take a bat and see how far into the bay you can hit a ball. Just when you think you've exhausted things to do in an area, you notice another little toy that can be picked up and used.
From a technical standpoint, Giant Cop is solid. All those items you interact with in the game work flawlessly, and there was no point where I felt let down when I chose to ignore the mission I was on and pick up a toy to mess around with. It's clear that a lot of time was spent honing the game's mechanics, and the result is a shiny, polished experience. The only gripe with mechanics is the way movement works.
An officer needs to stay in shape
To get around Micro City you use your Touch controller joysticks to teleport to predetermined points. These points also have a set direction you'll face when you teleport. The sum of these two parts is an often disorienting trip. You're looking one way when you choose to teleport, and you're spun around when you arrive. There's also no ability to turn using your controllers, so if you don't have a three-sensor setup you will notice some tracking issues once in awhile when you turn your back. These tracking issues were by no means game breaking, and if you can set up two sensors far apart you should only see the problem creep up once in awhile.
It should also be noted that you need a decent amount of room to play Giant Cop. Your hands have small yellow pointers extending from them that can be used to pick up items without actually bending over and touching them, but you're still expected to use your arms more than just in front of you. If you have a limited space to Rift in, you might want to skip this one.
From the funky '70s soundtrack to the detailed, interactive world to the political undertones, Giant Cop is has a lot of personality and it's just plain fun to interact with. The storyline, however, is short and not as thrilling as it is a satire of the way law enforcement has been buffed in the real world. If you're looking for a VR game where you can jump in and have a laugh as you mess around with a ton of toys in a world that's technically rock-solid, this is it.
- Colorful world with lots of personality
- Political humor is spot on
- So many knick knacks to mess with
- Short story
- Incessant reminders of your mission
- Fixed teleportation and no rotation
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