(First, some business. I have a new patron on Patreon! Christina Kortes (full disclosure: my sister) recently pledged five dollars a post. Please email a post idea to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will write a post on it. If you would like to give me some money, you can go to my Patreon page or my PayPal. Thanks!)
This Is The Police shows you what it’s like to be a police chief for a corrupt force. And that experience is mostly really, really boring.
This Is The Police is a management sim developed by Weappy Studios and published EuroVideo. It follows Jack Boyd, the police city of Freeburg. In Freeburg, literally just about everyone is corrupt, and the mayor has essentially forced him to resign. The game takes place during the 180 day period before his resignation becomes effective.
First some positives: the voice performances in the game are actually quite good. The cutscenes (which take place before or after each work "day") have an interesting art style, though the lack of facial features kind of freaks me out. The story is OK, if somewhat clichéd.
It’s too bad that the actual gameplay is so incredibly dull.
So here’s how it works, calls pop up throughout a map of the city. Generally the way the game works is you send officers out, the spend a really long time going to the call, you get a report, then they spend some time getting back to the station. It’s also interspersed with hiring or firing officers, taking the aforementioned side jobs (which work basically the same way as sending officers on legitimate calls), or asking city hall for a higher pay check. There are a number of outcomes, such as the suspect escaping, an officer dying, or (preferably) the suspect being apprehended. There are also separate cases that you can send detectives out on. You also send detectives on their own investigations, and you piece their reports together to try and see what happened. You also have the option of sending out swat teams for a particularly difficult case. There’s a kind of leveling up system for your officers as well, since successfully apprehending suspects or defusing a situation increases their professionalism. This determines factors like how often your officers request days off, or how well they handle situations.
Officers will also call in for advice if they’re not sure how to handle a situation, and choosing different solutions gives different outcomes. If you make the wrong decision, it can result in a suspect fleeing or even the death of an officer. You can also take side jobs (some of which may not be particularly legal) to get some extra money.
I really think this may have worked out better if you weren’t looking at a map the whole time during work days, or if you actually got to see the officers going on calls instead of generic still images in reports. It’s like the whole thing is made up of the dispatch missions from the Final Fantasy Tactics games.
I also wanted to go deeper into the story a bit. It’s an OK story, but I really think they may have missed an opportunity here. With everything about Black Lives Matter, I really think there could have been more here about the relationship between people of color and the police, which, let’s face it, is not good. It does touch on race relations a bit, but mostly as (frankly rather tone deaf) background noise. Instead, we get a fairly cliched “everyone’s in bed with the mafia” story, which is honestly a bit stale at this point.
So, just to wrap up, This Is The Police is a rather dull, and frankly disappointing game. The gameplay isn’t particularly fulfilling, and the story is somewhat cliched and just one big missed opportunity.
This Is The Police is currently available on both Steam and GOG.com, if you are interested in checking it out. The $14.99 price tag feels a little steep for what you actually get with it, though.