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This Is The Police 2

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 1 - 2018

Po-po on the go.

Weappy Studio’s police management game This is the Police gave players the chance to try and manage a corrupt police force however they saw fit. Now, with the sequel launching recently on Nintendo Switch, players can once again get their police hats out and clean up the town, both at home and on the bus.

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This is the Police 2 follows directly on from the first game, with main character Jack Boyd, a brilliant yet corrupt cop, hiding out in the town of Sharpwood. However, despite his presence, Jack is not the main protagonist here. Instead we have a female sheriff who is really struggling to keep things under control. Despite his obvious problems, the sheriff quickly starts working with Jack to improve the situation.

This is the Police 2 has a strong narrative edge, and players who are less inclined to sit through huge amounts of conversation will likely find the game tiresome. There is a gritty feel to the story that runs from one day to the next. Things can be pretty grim, and the language is most definitely raw. The game presents this ongoing story through a very impressive comic book style, but scenes can tend to outstay their welcome and carry on for far too long, especially when they have nothing really interesting to say. It does build a connection with the characters and gives the town some flavour, but it still feels like it is just too much at times.

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However interesting the story is, it has little bearing on the day to day gameplay. In This is the Police 2, players will be in charge of the entire police department and, through a rather nice diorama style map, will have to respond to crimes as they happen in the town. At its most simple, this will mean sending officers to deal with a  situation as and when they pop up. But life is never quite that simple, is it.

The thing is, each of your officers has their own personality and even skills. To start with, there is the problem of officers phoning in sick after having a few too many drinkies, although that is probably not the excuse they will come up with, leaving the player understaffed. Then you have certain awkward officers who will refuse to work with other officers, making responding to situations a logistical nightmare. The ideal would be sending the right officers for the job, maybe someone who is good at negotiating to deal with a suicide attempt. The reality is rarely going to be that ideal, and more often than not hoping for the less bad outcome is more realistic than hoping for a good outcome.

This is the Police 2 puts the player under pressure from the very beginning, forcing the player to make choices that will undoubtedly come back to bite them later in the game. It is a really difficult game. As crimes pop up on the map, the player only has a certain amount of time to respond before the criminal gets away, and the player then has to choose who to send, if anyone. If all of the officers are busy, then some situations will just not get resolved.

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Not attending a crime will mean a loss in revenue, which in turn could lead to waiting longer to hire that new officer. It really is a struggle. Officers earn experience when on the job, and can be trained up to specialise in certain roles, but they are also human and as such get tired and make mistakes, so taking care not to over work them is an issue as well. Then there is the whole loyalty thing, and catering to their occasional need will help keep them in line and doing what they are asked. This is the Police 2 is a juggling act that just keeps throwing balls at the player.

Aside from managing the cops and choosing where to send them, there are other aspects to the game. The average crime will lead to the player having to make choices, often dictated by the skill of the cop in attendance. Then there are some mysteries to be solved in the form of putting together the gathered evidence and coming to a conclusion. New for this sequel is a tactical mini game in which the player will have to move the officers around a scene to reach a bomb or rescue hostages. This has an overhead XCOM feel to it, and while not quite as deep, is a lot of fun to play. Again, the player will have to make choices such as when to sneak around and when to start shooting. The situations are very tricky, but it is easy to start again if everything goes wrong, and keep trying until the least ban outcome is achieved.

The visual style is great in This is the Police 2, looking very stylish and in fitting with the often grim nature of the game. In the big screen mode all is good. However, when playing in handheld mode, the game does suffer from what I have dubbed SSTS, or Switch Small Text Syndrome. It actually made me chuckle that, as I was sorting through evidence, written testimony from witnesses had the option to zoom in to read, but even zoomed in the text caused serious eye strain to read. There is quite a lot of reading in the game, and while most is just about visible, there is a lot that is just too small. It is a problem spanning many Switch games, and I am not sure how the devs will be able to get around it without taking huge amounts of the screen up with larger text. Anyway, just a warning.

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This is the Police 2 is a game that really challenges the player to get their hands dirty. It is gritty and frustrating, but not necessarily in a bad way. It feels realistic, most of the time. The story is good, but drags and feels separate from the actual day to day gameplay. With the officers and their often annoying personalities, and even the criminals that pick exactly the worst time to expose themselves, This is the Police 2 has real character and, while not suitable for all Switch players, is a nicely polished management and strategy game that is worth checking out.




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