Engaging Simplicity – This Is The Police Review (PC)
This Is The Police is possibly the most erratic and frustrating management to be released in some time. For all its good ideas and concepts, there’s a glut of niggling issues that result in eye rolls and sighs. With all that taken into account, there’s something still a bizarre charm at the heart of the game.
The concept is simple, players must manage the day-to-day running of the local Police department. Selecting which officers work a shift, deploying them to crimes across the city and overseeing the results. Simple, direct and effective. Depth comes in the stats each officer posses, determining how effective they are in the field. Small time crime (vandalism and brawls) can be handled by lower tier officers, bigger crime requires more experienced enforcement.
Crimes are scattered across the city, meaning Officers will take longer to travel to further scenes. This is where the player’s micro management skills come into play. Dispatching officers to crimes on time, making best use of the staff is key.
Each crime can go three ways, two of which punish the player. Successfully enforcement increases staff morale and experience, resulting in an more well rounded police force. Failure can range from officers becoming less effective, unhappy or even dying in the line of duty.
It quickly becomes apparent that failure is part of the game, even when it logically shouldn’t. High rated Officers will somehow fail to solve petty crimes, even if it goes against the established logic that the game states early on. It’s frustrating to see Officer’s rating to drop for seemingly illogical reasons.
Aside from typical crimes, murder investigations make up a fair chunk of the game. Such crimes are investigated by Detectives, who adhere (mostly) to the same rules of the Officers. Ratings and stats dictate their effectiveness, only this time the player has direct involvement in the investigation. Detectives will gather clues which the player pieces together. These sections of the game break things up, keeping the experience fresh.
At the heart of This Is The Police is a genuinely great story. While some crimes are randomly generated, others are part of the story. The plot may not be anything too far from the typical police drama affair, but the tone and character is irresistible. Some great voice acting propels the plot into something much more than it has any right to be. Various twists and turns, most of which the player has a say in, result in some compelling story telling.
This Is The Police only suffers from a handful of issues, mainly in how it handles some of the events in-game. At one point, there’s a rise in race crimes, prompting the game to ask the player to fire all black officers. It’s slightly uncomfortable given how out of tone and unrealistic it feels in connection with the rest of the game. Man management can also feel a little shallow. There’s scope to give players more options and choices, instead of the simplified options presently offered.
For such a simple concept, This Is The Police is charming, often frustrating, little gem of a game. Be it the charm of the voice acting, the quality of the story or even the smooth blues soundtrack, it’s hard not to get sucked into This Is The Police. Even the art style is charismatic, supplying a sense of life regardless of its minimalist look. It may not do anything new or ground breaking, but its quality shines through, resulting in an enjoyable experience.