Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
This Is The Police is a story driven strategy game developed by Weappy Studio. It was released in August 2016 for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux. The game is set in the fictional city of Freeburg in the late 1980’s. You play as Police Chief Jack Boyd who is being forced into early retirement by the mayor for his final one hundred and eighty days on the force.
Okay, let’s start with the positives. The basic game play (pictured) is fundamentally fun. The basics of sending out your officers to crime scenes, investigating cases with your detectives. Hiring and firing, allowing staff time off and generally trying to keep them happy while still being successful. Officers political opinions come into play later on, adding another challenge when sending them out to work as a team. Balancing the major and the mafia to keep them both happy so you don’t have your budget cut or end up dead. This is all interesting stuff and while rather simple is again, enjoyable.
Unfortunately there are 180 days to play through and not enough changes to keep it interesting. The middle part of this game is quite sluggish in the middle. The overarching story keeps moving along, but those are mostly cut scenes, and it’s not enough to cover the fact that you are doing the same task over and over.
If you’re successful in keeping the major happy, he’ll keep increasing your police budget and staffing allowances. Meaning you can answer most calls no problem. The game play needed something extra on top to keep it going. Instead it becomes slow and stops being as enjoyable to play quite quickly.
Another positive is that the games story is great. It got me hook right away, I looked forward to the cut scenes between days and the messages from the major and mafia bosses. The problem is the choices you make when you’re playing don’t seem to effect on them. You can play like the biggest dirt bag cop of all time, taking bribes or even having your officers killed if they complain about you, but the next cut scene will be Jack talking about how he doesn’t want to work with the mafia and how he hates the corrupt major.
It’s this that becomes my biggest complaint about This Is The Police. It doesn’t matter how you play. As long as you do just enough to not get killed off, your decisions will not affect the story. Yes there are some big decisions about whose side you’ll fall on but even then you’re basically here for the ride. Now that would be fine if it was presented as the character having no choices in situations, but it gives the impression that your choices matter. I don’t think they do, they don’t have any real weight.
If this was a choose your own adventure book it would be like presenting you with an option of taking a bite from an apple only for both decisions to take you to the same page where you get shot with an arrow.
If the story for This Is The Police had been fleshed out and made into a TV show, I would watch it. Much like if they game play was developed further, with more variables. Such as the happiness of the general public or a changing city economy resulting in more crimes when unemployment rises for example. Perhaps you also control other emergency services at the same time. I would love that game, but I’m starting to describe something completely different.
Considering This Is The Police only cost me £14, I could argue that I got my monies worth. I played it for roughly 30 hours and there were parts of this game I did enjoy. Unfortunately when I finished the game I was left disappointed. For all it’s potential and good points, the end result is a let down.
Verdict: Thumbs Down