This is the Police was originally a Kickstarter backed title and showed considerable potential to secure a $25,000 goal for production. The title was highly anticipated by gamers wanting to delve deep into the murky and questionable practices of the Freeburg Police Department.
The game has you playing the lead character, Jack Boyd, a somewhat disgruntled and cynical Police Chief who is staring retirement in the face, in fact, 180 days to be accurate. You are not without a history of corruption either. It is your task to last the remaining days, run the day to day activity of the Police Department, make moral and immoral choices and ultimately make enough money to retire comfortably, and alive. This, you will have no doubt, will be hindered by unpredictable hurdles lay down before you, the question is, will you make the best decision or the right one?
As Chief you have responsibility for hiring and firing Police Officers, it is also your duty to allocate officers to incidents occurring within the city. Each incident requires a measured response, on the surface it may require a solo officer, however, other incidents may require a more forceful approach. You must consider whether to employ SWAT or have a Detective take ownership of the scene, the choice is yours and is not without consequence. If you make an ill-informed judgment call, then you may place the lives of your officers and the public in danger. You’ll have 30 seconds to make the decision or decisions, depending on how many incidents flare up.
As Chief, you will also have to piece together more complex investigations, a robbery for example, should you fail to allocate and adequate amount of resources, then you may find yourself in a position where evidence fails to be discovered and thus an incorrect decision made. The likely outcome being the failure to detect the crime and apprehend the suspect.
The game employs a host of mini-games of this ilk, ultimately this is a game of management and risk assessment. You must consider your options carefully and appreciate any potential outcomes, which is easier said than done, as many incidents can result in completely unpredictable events, wholly out of your control.
The mini-games are spliced and inter-woven into a beautifully crafted story. The voice acting and plot are simply sublime and by far the most enjoyable aspect of the title. Similar to narrative focused games already in circulation, This is the Police has gone a long way to craft an absorbing and thoroughly entertaining story. The voice acting is superb, indeed, it may be some of the best I have been privy to in any title of this ilk, it’s brilliant.
The game employs a deliberate and successful design, the 2D cell shading and animation compliment the on-point voice acting, the aesthetics are classy and professional, leaving little doubt that the game has been made with care and attention to detail. This is nothing short than a masterclass of story telling, it’s wholly absorbing and impressive.
Your decisions matter as the story unfolds before you, there are choices to be made. Some of the choices are clearly employed to create a shock factor, I’ll not delve into them as wouldn’t want to spoil the narrative, however you will find yourself in difficult moral deliberation. Should you choose the easy path and appease those who would plot against you, then it is likely that you may be held to account down the line, equally so, should you go against those wishing to pressurise you, then the pressure will likely increase. As is stereotypical in games of this nature, and to some extent policing, you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you do not. Either way, you will be judged throughout.
Unfortunately, the story is the best part of the game and you’ll soon be irritated by the mini-games that stall your progress through the narration. At first, it’s interesting as you allocate officers to incidents, it can dish out some comedy moments too, but it soon becomes laborious and repetitive. The day-to-day running of Police Officers becomes an unwelcome obstacle to a superb story line. A hindrance if you will. Some may suggest that this is the very point of the game, spinning as many dishes as you can, keeping the Police Force going as well as managing the bribes, Mafia and Political pressure through the storyline. But for me, this hampered my enjoyment, I wanted to see how the story played out, see it through to its final consequence, the mini-games stalled that and to that end, I was pulled from the immersion.
As a whole though, I doubt you can go far wrong with this title, if you want to be entertained by an engrossing story, rich and believable character acting and beautiful visuals, then this game will serve you well. As for re-playability, I doubt that you’ll go back to it once you’ve given it the once over, I doubt that you’ll go back and make opposing decisions to those you made in the first play-through, just to see how the story plays out differently. However, that is for you to decide.
In summary though, This is the Police is a great attempt at merging a superbly crafted story, exceptional acting and pressurised decision making. Factor in the agreeable price tag of £13.99 on Steam and you have even more reason to look fondly on this unique and well crafted title. If it weren’t for the repetitive nature of the mini-games, then this would be an immense title, however this is where it fails; and it drops from being superb, to simply good and worth being in your collection, even if only for the experience it offers.
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