From a young age, I’ve always wanted to join the police, it’s something that has stuck with me throughout the years. If at any point does that dream come true I can say that I would never take a bribe and certainly wouldn’t put innocent people at risk if it could be avoided. Now, doing these things in a video game is another story and that’s exactly what I did do in This is the Police.
The Plot and Storyline
Welcome to Freeburg – home to the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. As gritty Police Chief Jack Boyd (portrayed by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem) you find yourself counting down the days – 180 to be exact – before your retirement officially begins. In these 180 days, you must keep your nose clean and earn enough cash for your little pot, $500,000 should be enough!
To earn the money for your retirement you must decide whether you’re going to go down in the history books as the best Police Chief Freeburg has had, or whether go down in flames as the criminal underbelly of the city you down with them.
Gameplay and Game Mechanics
This Is The Police plays out as a real-time strategy game with elements of simulation. This is all wrapped within an intriguing narrative which allows you to play the way you want. At set intervals in the game, you are given the opportunity to either pick sides or what to say. There isn’t an abundance of choices to be made but just enough to make you feel as though you are subtly tweaking the course of the story.
The game board is exactly that. Laid out on a table in what I can only describe as the Police Chief’s office, you make decisions and watch as your team makes their way around the streets and then retreat once they are done. You point, you click, and then you watch. The gameplay is so simple and easy to pick-up which subsequently makes this game all the more fun to get into.
Morning or Graveyard Shift?
You control two shifts at the station known as A and B, and each day you are tasked with dispatching your officers to reported emergencies and investigators to crime scenes. Your staff all have different levels which equate to how competent they are at their jobs, a high-level officer will do a better job than a low-level officer. Successfully completed jobs are rewarded with 5 – 10 points per officer that you use, but failing will seriously impact on future jobs and how your team handles certain callouts. Likewise, investigators will do better and achieve more with a higher rank.
Like everyday humans, each of your staff members has an energy bar. One bar is used per shift and requesting a particular member of staff to come back the next day will result in sluggish work and zero energy replenishment. Continue to use tired staff and you’ll see offenders escape, civilians get hurt and you could even witness the killing of another member of the force.
Rewards and Promotions
As the Police Chief, you are able to reward your staff with badge upgrades. These upgrades let them know that they’re doing a good job and in return, this could help them with their job when they’re dispatched to an emergency. You can award whomever you like with any rewards or promotions you currently have. On the other hand, you can also sack your staff at the drop of a hat. Ridding the force of lazy workers can be a quick way to resolve an issue.
Burglary, Murder and Grand Theft Auto
Emergencies and crimes range from false calls to murder and each day differs from the next. Days usually last between 5 – 10 minutes and can be either hectic or fairly relaxed. Choosing who you send to each of these scenes is crucial, especially when multiple crimes are reported at once and your staff has already been allocated elsewhere. You have to think about who you are sending, why, and who else you have available on your shift to cover in case of other emergencies. You don’t want to send all of your best out together, leaving the troubled behind – that could be a recipe for disaster.
The aim of the game is to get through to retirement whilst making as little enemies as possible and – of course – try to make a little cash on the side to ensure that your retirement is a good one.
This is the Police’s minute-to-minute gameplay could do with a little more hustle and bustle but for the most part is enough to keep you playing. There are sometimes long pauses between the “action” but not enough to make you turn the game off completely.
Audio and Visual
The unique art style is what brought my attention to this game in the first instance. The little nuances found only in this title are charming and the gameplay mechanics work well with the overall visual elements.
With its own soundtrack and fully scripted storyline, This is the Police is no basic indie title and for that reason alone shouldn’t be shunned. There is the option to skip cutscenes if you’re not keen on the story and to turn off various parts of the audio including the background music.
Issues and Problems
I came across no issues relating to frame rate or UI elements and the audio matched up well with what was currently happening on screen and during cutscenes. It’s usually the smaller titles that have fewer issues and here I have no complaints to voice.