Fashion Squad Police PS4 Review. A hip alternative to the boomer shooter? That’s certainly how it seems in this fashion-focused send-up of 90s shooters. Find out if Mopeful Games has substance to go with the style in our Fashion Police Squad review.
Having lived deliciously through the birth of first-person shooters and all the fantastic games that came with it, I have a deep fondness for the current revival of the retro shooter. Games such as DUSK, Prodeus, and even the excellent remaster of Quake have breathed new life into one of gaming’s most popular genres by reminding us just how cool and exciting things can be.
Fashion Police Squad (PS5) Review – Turtleneck And Chain Kills
A Retro FPS That Feels Like It Could Have Launched Alongside DOOM
With the newer examples, it’s seeing what worked back in the day being fused to a handful of modern sensibilities and technical advancements. The trick to a good ‘boomer shooter’ is to make it fresh and still feel like it could have been released during the heyday of Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake, Unreal, et al. Fashion Police Squad has some success in this regard.
The concept alone feels like the kind of dartboard throw of an idea that might have come up in the wake of Doom’s emergence as a PC powerhouse. This is a first-person shooter in structure and looks for sure, but you don’t kill a single thing except for fashion runways. Instead, your ‘guns’ are used to turn the fashion crimes of the population into catwalk-worthy style icons.
The city of Trendoplois in Fashion Police Squad is all about having the right look, and if you’re turning up in an ill-fitting black t-shirt and jogging bottoms with coffee stains on them (just an example I came up with. Certainly not what I would be wearing right now) then you can expect the full force of the law is out to turn that into form-fitting, trendy athletic wear. I can’t imagine the budget for this place.
We enter the Trendopolis as Fashion Crime is on the rise, and the snappily-dressed Sergeant Des is out to take down those behind its resurgence with an arsenal of makeover tools.
Each weapon counters a particular kind of fashion criminal. So the starting carbine rifle blasts drab businessmen with a splash of color, and drains the day-glo brightness of scooter-riding bros. Another weapon is basically a sewing machine that makes loose off the rack suits into tailor-made designer three-pieces.
It makes for a pretty smart need to switch between weapons on the fly to tackle the enemies as they show up. It’s perhaps a bit over communicated to begin with, but you’ll be thankful for the lengthy lesson when things get hectic in the late game.
Other tools come into play, most notably a multipurpose Belt of Justice that can stun the unfashionable and also be used as a rope swing to avoid the scuzzier parts of the city. While this is a fun addition, the swinging can be a touch haphazard at times. Thankfully, it rarely impacts the action in a significant way.
When Fashion Police Squad gets into its groove, the action is positively electric. As alluded to with learning the weapons, the early stages don’t necessarily communicate the game’s qualities all that well. I totally understand wanting to comfortably introduce Fashion Police Squad’s mechanics, but I’m not sure it has to be as drawn out as it is when assessing the game’s need for pace. Still, the good times do end up rolling, and those early stumbles are offset by the delightfully silly humor on display.
Taking a step back from the game made me appreciate the fact it is essentially eschewing the kind of violence usually associated with the FPS genre whilst still using the same tools. I like a bit (a lot) of first-person murder, but it’s genuinely quite refreshing to play an FPS that tries to play out differently. It might well be the root cause of Fashion Police Squad’s problems, but that only makes them more forgivable in my book.
Anyway, back to the action, and in full flow, Fashion Police Squad evokes classic shooters with relative ease. The game I’d most easily compare it to is actually Duke Nukem 3D. Lots of strange chaos and a level of tactical play that isn’t readily apparent at a glance. Now, I am ridiculously fond of Duke Nukem 3D, so that’s high praise from me. Underneath the cheap jokes was a game that blew my mind back in the 90s. Fashion Police Squad can’t do that, obviously, but it deserves plenty of credit for making nostalgia feel exciting in a fresh and fun way.
Fashion Police Squad is due out on February 2, 2023 for PlayStation and Xbox formats.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.