We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Weappy Studio and EuroVideo Medien for the review copy of This is the Police used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In This Is The Police you play as Jack Boyd. You are the police chief of the city of Freeburg which is far from your peaceful little town. The mayor’s office is corrupt. Various gangs/mafias run the city. Crime is rampant. The game begins as Jack Boyd is forced into early retirement by the mayor’s office. Jack has just 180 days left on the job until he is forced into retirement. Can Jack navigate all of the crime and corruption in order to leave his job with a nice retirement package?
If I had to classify This Is the Police I would say that it is a police chief simulator. Being the police chief you mostly stay in your office and give out orders to your officers. Each day begins with you meeting with your officers before the day’s shift. Some of your officers will try to get the day off for legitimate and illegitimate reasons and you need to decide who gets the day off and who doesn’t. The day then begins. You sit in your office and receive calls from all over the city for different crimes that are occurring. You get a description of the crime and have to choose within a short amount of time which and/or how many officers you are going to send to the crime scene. Some of the crimes are serious and some turn out to be nothing. Since you only have a limited amount of police officers, you are unable to fully address every call you receive.
When you send police officers to a crime scene, usually the crimes will be resolved and you are just being told the outcome. If you don’t take a threat seriously enough the criminals can get away, civilians can be killed, your police officers can get injured, or your police officers could even be killed. Most cases will involve a peaceful resolution though. Occasionally when your officers reach a crime scene you are presented with options on how you want them to proceed. The choices you make determine the outcome of the situation. Finally there are some crimes that escalate where you need to send additional police or retreat in order to prevent bloodshed.
As I mentioned before Freeburg is not a honest city. The mayor of the city is corrupt and will occasionally force you to do things for him. You have to use police resources to help him and his friends or you may have to hire or fire police officers for political reasons. If you don’t do what the mayor’s office asks, they will cut your funding which hinders your ability to do your job. Freeburg is also run by gangs/mafia and you get roped into helping them out quite regularly. If you help them they are always willing to give you cash but if you don’t help them you will pay for it.
The final main mechanic in the game involves detectives. Occasionally you will have crimes where the suspect is not on the scene. In these cases you have to assign detectives to the case. These detectives investigate the case and present you with snapshots of the crime. Some of these snapshots show what happened while others have nothing to do with the crime. You have to use witness testimony in order to put the pictures in the correct order to see how the crime went down and determine the culprit. You then send police officers out to arrest the suspect. Some of these crimes will lead you to arresting members of different gangs. You can use these gang members to build a case against the gang and eventually bring the whole gang down.
Otherwise you handle the day to day operations of the police department. You decide who gets hired and fired. You have to hold the occasional press conference. There are also less ethical options. You can have your mafia friends kill witnesses/cops or do other illegal things for you. Basically if something goes wrong in the city, you have to deal with it.
While the game is not going to be for everyone, I have to say that I am really enjoying my time with This Is The Police. If you don’t like simulation games though, This Is The Police is not going to be for you. I really am enjoying the gameplay since I generally like simulation games. The game is intuitive but also complicated at the same time. For the most part you are just sending out police officers to different calls but there is more to it then that. You have limited resources and that becomes evident quickly. You do not have enough resources to adequately address every crime. You have to decide which calls are serious and which calls you shouldn’t send any police officers to.
The game’s pacing is well done for the most part. The crimes are usually pretty well spread out. The game usually gives you less than thirty seconds to send police officers to every call. The good news is that while reading the details of the case the game’s clock pauses. Otherwise the game would have been a chaotic mess since you wouldn’t have time to actually consider how to address each call. The time limit works well though since your police officers need to spend time at each crime scene so there are times when you have no police officers at the station to address new calls. When the timer for a call is about to run out and you have no officers at the station, you anxiously hope that some of your police officers will get back in time. It is hard watching the clock tick down and no police officers get back to the station in time.
The detective aspect of the game is a little hit or miss. I like the idea of gathering clues that give you snapshots of the crime. I think it was a good idea having the players recreate the crime in order to find the culprit. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of skill to this aspect of the game. While the game usually does a good job giving you witness testimony to help you piece together the crime, you could just keep rearranging the pictures until you get the right combination.
What I was most surprised by was how invested I got into the decisions I made. While you only see the aftermath of a civilian getting killed, I generally felt bad when it happened. I was invested in trying to do the best job I could. It feels satisfying successfully defending the city but you also feel bad when you fail. It is especially sad when you send your police officers on a call and they end up getting killed in the line of duty.
Story wise the game appears to take place in the 1980s or 1990s even though the game doesn’t appear to ever give you a timeline. I would like to make it perfectly clear to everyone that This Is The Police is an adult game. The game deals with many adult situations and there is swearing and the game uses the occasional slur. With all of the stories about police shootings in the news, you might be wondering how much the game focuses on it? As far as I have gotten in the game, it doesn’t seem to really address current events. The story is more of your typical gritty police drama.
As a whole I thought the story is really well told. It is a mature story but it seems well crafted. The story is told through comic book style panels and strong voice acting. In addition to the inner workings of the police department, the story focuses on Jack and his life which is crumbling around him. Care was put into the story and people who like gritty police stories should enjoy the story.
While I really liked the game’s mechanics and the story, I actually think the game’s story kind of gets in the way at times. The game presents the illusion that you have a lot of choice in how to handle things but that choice is kind of limited. You have the right to choose whatever you want for every situation but the game tends to push you in a certain direction by punishing you if you don’t choose that option. For example you can be an honest/good cop but the game won’t let that stand for long. Disobey the corrupt mayor for too long and he will cut your funding which makes the game considerably harder. Disobey the gangs/mafia too often and there are even harsher punishments. I generally like playing as the good guy in games and I found that This Is The Police gives you the illusion that you can be the good guy but you really can’t which I found out pretty quickly in the game.
Outside of not giving you as many choices as you would like, the game tends to be needlessly harsh to you at times. The game likes to throw you into impossible situations. This works really well for the story since it shows how hard it is to run a police department but it kind of feels unfair at times. The game shoves you into positions where you can’t do what the mayor’s office wants you to do which forces you to lose more police officers. Sometimes it is impossible do what the mayor’s office wants (due to not having the police officers available) and other times you don’t want to do what it wants (fire some of your best officers just because they are a certain race/gender). This makes the game harder and makes it more likely that you will continue to keep losing officers. Then there are situations where your officers are killed on the job. Although surprisingly heartbreaking for pixels you didn’t spend much time with, this makes your job that much harder. If you make a mistake it becomes really hard to recover from it. The game does let you reset to the beginning of any week but this forces you to repeat several days.
While I am really enjoying the story and it is well told, I actually think the game would have been better as just a sandbox game. Being a sandbox game would have allowed you to be as corrupt as you wanted to be. The game wouldn’t force you to be corrupt if you didn’t want to like ti does due to the story. The game could also have random encounters each day so each day would be unique. The goal would be to just grow your police department and the game would play more like a simulation of the everyday happenings at the police department. I really hope that the developers end up adding a sandbox mode at some point.
While adding a sandbox mode would make the game considerably longer, length is far from a concern in This Is The Police. I have currently played the game for around five hours and am only at around day 20 or so. The game’s story makes it seem like the game will last for 180 days. Unless there is a significant time jump at some point, I would guess that the game will take at the minimum 20 hours to complete. Without a sandbox mode though I don’t think the game will have a lot of replay value. You encounter the same situations every day so I don’t see getting much enjoyment out of playing over the same situations multiple times. You could play the game mildly corrupt one game and really corrupt another time but I don’t think it will have a drastic impact on the story.
This Is The Police is a great game that has some flaws. I really like the simulation aspects of the game. Running the police office is surprisingly fun as it is intuitive and yet challenging juggling all of the different tasks. I would love if the game created a sandbox mode where you were just responsible for running the police department. I thought the story was really well done but does present some problems. The game gives the illusion of choice but forces you into making certain decisions or it harshly punishes you. As a whole the game seems to punish you too often as it puts you into a hole and makes it hard for you to make you way out of it. While it works for the story, it just takes away from the fun of the game. The game had the potential to be fantastic but these issues make it just a good/great game.
As a whole I really liked This Is The Police and would recommend it to most people. The game is not going to be for everyone. If the idea of running a police station where you order around police doesn’t sound interesting to you, This Is The Police is probably not going to be for you. If the idea of running a police station sounds interesting to you though, I think you should really enjoy This Is The Police.