THIS IS THE POLICE 2
You have the right to remain violent
Games tend to front-load their best content, all the better to grab the attention of a fickle audience, but here we have a law unto itself. Like incompetent cops battering down the wrong door, This Is The Police 2 makes a truly disastrous first impression.
It must be the best part of an hour before you get to do anything much except tap a button every few minutes; an hour mostly spent watching a slideshow while actors read crushingly dull dialogue. It just goes on and on and on, punctuated by empty frames where you listen to somebody walking slowly across a silent room. It’s bizarre.
Get past this botched audition for your leisure time and you’ll find the game proper is often quite funny and actually interactive. As a police station manager, it’s your job to dispatch officers to deal with crimes as they’re reported, husbanding your resources to ensure that minor incidents and false alarms don’t leave you shorthanded when something serious happens. The screen you’ll be looking at most of the time is a model town with toy cars marking the officers’ locations, and when they arrive at an incident it’s all done via text, with a choice of three options. Each officer has different skills and equipment, so if the choices include chasing a suspect or using a taser, and your first responder is slow and only carrying a gun, you won’t get a successful outcome. But if there’s an option to defuse the situation with wit, and the officer has high negotiation skills, there’s your solution.
Working around each cop’s personality flaws is part of the fun. Some won’t go out without backup, while others won’t accept certain cops as partners. One of the men refuses to work with women, and there are several who will only follow orders if they feel like it. Some will turn up drunk, or just won’t bother coming in at all. At the end of each day you have to pick the staff for the next day’s shift, and if you overwork the few good cops on the roster they’ll lose respect and go as bad as the rest.
Turn-based strategy scenes crop up infrequently, being high-risk/highreward missions where the day-today business of solving neighbourly disputes is replaced by hideouts full of gangsters. Creeping around and stabbing every suspect in the back seems to be as effective as arresting them, and it certainly doesn’t have the depth of an XCOM, but these parts are a welcome diversion.
Elsewhere, there are detective cases you must solve by assigning officers to investigate, which basically means unlocking pictures for you to arrange in sequence. These can take a while, occupying resources for several shifts. There are also multiple-choice interrogations that don’t really amount to much, plus story scenes bookending each day, which never get any more exciting than that tortuous intro but are, mercifully, much shorter.
The game is a bit of a disjointed mix, only half of which is really successful. Fans of the original might have been better served with just the station management and a lot more of the strategy scenes, and since the cops you meet in the story aren’t on the roster, presumably so they don’t get killed, the low-budget Fargo- lite plot seems largely unconnected with the gameplay. When it’s focused on being nothing but Sim City’s ultra violent police force, it’s not at all bad.
“About half of the game is really successful”
below The cops who don’t wear hats don’t respect you and may not follow your orders.
left If XCOM involved policemen stabbing suspects in the back, it would look like this.