On the beat with Miami Law

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You may or may not have heard about Miami Law, a cop adventure title recently released by Hudson and featuring the wordsmith stylings of Vic Ireland's (yes, that Vic Ireland, formerly of Working Designs fame) Gaijinworks. Hudson sent along a copy of the game about the same time we were in the middle of our post-E3 content rush, and as such I am just now getting into it.

Miami Law is definitely bare-bones as far as adventure trappings go. There's no scene-searching that I've seen, nor do you have an inventory; you simply move from place to place (under your own control) and pick who to talk to, what to look at, or what to do from a menu. Its two key hooks are points where you can choose to follow the story of hard-boiled undercover cop Law Martin or FBI agent Sara Starling—this is championed as a reason to replay the story—and the appearance of some fair-to-pretty-decent pop-up minigames (as far as I've seen in my first hour or so, anyway), such as a shootout you'll get into very early on. If you've played the Nintendo Channel demos, you may have seen some of these.

The first coverage I'd read of the game was from Nintendo Power; their review had given the game a pretty atrociously low score, citing cheap deaths and a "credibility gap." I don't necessarily know that's fair, but I've only played a bit so far. I did, within my first few minutes, experience what I think was supposed to be one of these. I felt more like it was my own failing, not being sharp enough to pick up on the clues beforehand, rather than the game itself being cheap. Regardless, it only took moments from the "retry" button to get back into the action; this game certainly isn't instilling in me any sort of frequent-saving habit.

Despite any wishy-washiness I may have about the game itself, the writing is definitely entertaining. Hudson did a good thing bringing Gaijinworks on board. I'm looking forward to completing Miami Law. It may not be the pinnacle of its genre, but it does seem to be doing at least a few things right, and it's certainly entertaining.