GAME REVIEW: ‘This Is The Police’

This is the Police

This Is The Police is a simulation/strategy game that puts you in the position of controlling the police force. You play as a veteran police captain, who is 180 days away from retirement and must decide whether he wants to do the right thing and help the city or earn a lot of money, or even manage to do both. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you want the law to be pure and virtuous, or to get out and retire with a nice wad of cash.

The character you play as is voiced by Duke Nukem veteran Jon St John, but other than an overwhelming multitude of cutscenes at the beginning of the game, which act somewhat as a forced attempt at plot and a story so you can explain your choices, his voice seems more like a celebrity call in than adding any value. It’s not that there’s an issue with this, as This Is The Police does a solid job of laying the story in the first few days, it’s just there’s so much of it packed into the beginning that the player will most likely be rolling their eyes at the Max Payne-esque comic book opening and miss the gameplay mechanics.

Once the gameplay itself is actually explained, it’s where This Is The Police shines. You have to manage your team, make them respond to crimes in an efficient, albeit unforgiving, manner. Some cops mess up. You essentially manage everything about the police force, who to fire, who to hire. There are elements of gameplay that come in that offer variation, such as reading through witness testimonies for larger crimes, and putting the pieces in the correct order. However, these only come when the detective has managed to find the clue, meaning you’re often a few steps ahead than the people you control.

Screen shot of This Is the Police
Image from VideogamesUncovered

Another element to juggle is the Mayor’s Office. There you can ask for resources, a pay rise, more manpower etc. Though, if you want to get these, you have to be very good at your job. This is where This Is the Police lost me. As a result of not being good enough you’ll be told you have to dismiss an officer or two, it happens, but then as a result you’re understaffed leading to more cuts, not being able to respond to calls and let alone not being able to help the mob if you choose to. There’s different degrees of guilt in a game, but knowing you could have saved an elderly couple but didn’t have the resources to ranks pretty high up there.

Another, completely bizarre, issue with This Is The Police is that it seems to be focused on making a political statement. There are events where you have to choose how to handle, some including radical feminists, and others mocking the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming that they want attention.  It almost seems as if the developers had a fun game worked out, but cranked up the difficulty and added in satire(?) so that they could claim they were making a statement. Perhaps this is meant to suggest how the police interpret groups, but ultimately it felt like an attack coming from the game developer.

If you’re looking to pick up This Is The Police, it would only be advisable if you like a challenging strategy game that you don’t mind overstaying its welcome – 180 days, really? – and one that has as many faults as it does get things right. At best, it’s a fun strategy game which offers interesting choice. At worst, it’s grating for several different reasons. If you’re looking for something similar, with much more entertainment, check out Beat Cop. Otherwise, don’t phone this one in.

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