Carl on Duty: Black Cops Review
Alright, so I got around to playing this game and I just gotta say, this freaking blew me away. That stated, I will try my best to keep it a balanced review of this new Bioware game, with detailed awes and gripes.Fans of RPGs will enjoy the cinematic cutscenes, the amazing and lifelike attention to detail, the “multiplitude” of stats you could put points into, the tonneshit of abilities you earn throughout the series, the battle system, the insane amount of available party members. On the other hand, fans will not like the fact that no matter what choices you make, you get one ending.
The title is extremely misleading, as there is really only one black cop for at least half of the game, and even after then, you only get one more. What Carl’s duty is is left up to you and your decisions.
Without spoiling plot points, I’ll try to go through the intro with you, because it’s really the intro of any good RPG that will keep you sucked in, especially for the 600+ hours you will log into this game in a single playthrough. You start off in a cutscene, with Carl speaking to his lover about a strange visitor that’s about to arrive. This intro really sets the stage for a prequel game in that they casually drop hints as to their back-stories here, back-stories that won’t be fully explained for seemingly ages into the game and even then it’s difficult placing the pieces together with so many characters to keep track of. Personally, I didn’t like the characters being kept mysterious like this for so long but to each his own. Immediately after the kitchen scene, you get an interactive dialogue section, keeping with the original cutscene’s cgi graphics, which were amazing. Here you pick up your third party member, but as you learn in the previous conversation, this characters alignment is in question.
Carl believes she is Chaotic Evil, his lover believes she is Neutral Good. The player finds out after a few hours of gameplay the truth behind this enigmatic character. Carl’s extremely early disbelief of this character only works to develop him as a complicated character.
As the story develops in the introduction, you come to realize the protagonist, Carl Winslow, as a deep, rich, colorful man, with hopes and fears, and you realize the writers must have spent decades developing this man. His lover and white mage, as it were, Harriette, takes charge of the party, acting as if she “wore the pants” in the game. Strong female characters are very seldom seen in video games of this caliber and she is portrayed in the game as an excellent partner to Carl, highlighting his weaknesses yet covering them. The rogue in this party, Edward, comes off as an extremely smooth operator, scheming and constantly looking for ways to get what he wants. There is one character that does steal the show though. This motherfucker right here —->
The interactive scenes where you control his dance moves are so much fun, I guarantee you will replay his mini-games until your fingers bleed. They’ll bleed mostly from the horrendous game mechanics but the faces he makes are totally worth it. I’ll just say right now, the mini games are a solid 4 out of 5.
There are other playable characters in the main arc that appear later on, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise you’ll get once they do arrive and settle into the main arc.
One thing I did not appreciate about the characters is the cohesion. They often butt heads and rarely work together towards a goal, only to truly come together near the 400 hour mark. This is such an overused plot mechanism in RPGs and I can’t wait for the day to see this disappear.
The musical score can get a bit repetitive, so I suggest lowering the music in the options screen and putting some of your own in, preferably some smooth Jazz or Soul to capture the essence of the characters and their setting.
One of my favourite skills in the game, that you receive extremely early on, is “Pay Bills,” which automatically clears the stage of all friends and foes, leaving Carl alone to pay the bills with his large and trusty secondary weapon, the Accounting Calculator. Coincidentally, this weapon’s range and speed make it extremely formidable, so a little hint here, don’t sell it until you reach level 340. You’ll thank me then.
The amount of weapons in this game rival that of Borderlands, which is said to have over either 1.7 or 17 million weapons. Either way, that’s a fucking LOT.
The amount of abilities, on the other hand, doesn’t reach anywhere near 1.7 million, but the combinations of skills are limitless, such as using Richie’s “Spit Up” poison elemental skill in combination with Edward’s “Cool Cat” skill to slow the enemy down with SUPER EFFECTIVE cuteness, lowering their defenses, and ultimately mooching them out of extra money to go out with friends. Often, though, the only way to pull off some of the more amazing combos is to be in the right place at the right time. The available and effectiveness of combos depends ENTIRELY on what dialogue options you choose before battle, which means if you are about to enter a boss battle, such Harriette asking for a raise, the only way to win that battle and not be subsequently fired is to make the correct choices, which will weaken the boss and strengthen Harriette’s fists for the Flame Wheel combo she can do Carl at this point.
Overall, I would rate this game a 28 out of 31.
PS if I missed anything, let me know, and I’ll include it here.
About the Author
Juan Soto enjoys reading mangas over watching animes, listening to what pleases me, majoring in Int'l Economic Policy with concentration in german, loves soccer, and plays video games for the story and not the the challenge. Yes, he is casual.