FREEZE! This is the Police…..
This is the Police is an adventure game with a difference, there’s little of the blockbuster action you see in the movies, but following the footsteps of soon to be retired chief of the police Jack Boyd, you set yourself 180 days, to make yourself $500,000.
Half a million, because everyone wants a million, and Jack likes to do things differently.
The game starts out with some well made comic styled cut-scenes showing the story of Jack, being forced to retire, it’s not long before you’ve got the mayor, city hall and various gangs on your radar, and This is the Police challenges you with running your police force, while also managing relationships with some major characters.
The 180 day time limit might not sound like a lot, but within a week, you’ll have police officers refusing to work, asking for days off because there pet’s unwell, or worst still dead, It’s easy enough to employ a new officer, but the City hall set’s the limits on how many staff you’re allowed, keep them sweet and you’ll be able to request a new slot for an officer, detective or even a pay rise, but fail to meet their demands (such as firing all black officers within 3 days) and you’ll start to find their restrictions can make life quite difficult.
Another week into Jack’s story and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a gang war, asked to take sides, take a back-hander and I’m pretty sure those gang bosses are both looking for a good old Jack Boyd reach-around.
At the start of each day you’ll be shown the staff on shift, as well as given warnings of anyone asking for time off, you need to keep an eye on their fatigue and rest them accordingly, but some officers are just lazy and will give any reason to get out of work.
Once the day begins, you’ll be shown an overhead map of the city, as jobs come through, you hold the left trigger and highlight the task, then hit A to select which officers you wish to send. Some jobs are further afield so will tie up the officers for longer, while others might play out differently requiring more backup, or a longer time to sort out beside the standard travel.
Sending your best officers to an attempted robbery might be a great idea, but when an attempted murder comes through just round the corner you’re going to wish you’d still got your better officers on hand.
You can also manage the police force by asking energetic staff to come in the following day, but try not to tire them out too much, as the crime rate rises in the first few weeks, so does your working hours, meaning more jobs, more dispatches and more trouble.
Soon enough you’ll come across investigations and gangs, sometimes if a murder isn’t solved you’ll have to pass it on to your detectives to do the leg work and find out what happened, then you piece it together to reveal a suspect, occasionally it’s a simple arrest, but other times, the subject has numerous possible locations and you’ll have to split your best officers and support to try to ensure an arrest, even with the culprit in handcuffs, it’s not always straight forward. Sure you’ll get a nice arrest bonus, but if you cut a deal, he could lead you to his boss, wielding greater financial reward or even a chance to locate and take down the gang leader, effectively shutting down the gang permanently.
On top of this you’ll find yourself drawn into a gang war with the help of your deputy who’s got himself in a little trouble, by this point in the game you would have made plenty of decisions, and this will depend on how things play out, but let’s just say you’re going to need your wits about you if you’ve got any chance of knowing who you can trust, or how much money you can make from them.
This is the Police is an impressive mix of strategy and interactive media, the graphics aren’t jaw-dropping and the actual gameplay is simplistic but incredibly easy to get to grips with, the challenge is in the story and details, all of which are made clear and interested thanks to a wide range of fantastic voice acting.
It’s fair to say the game does take itself a little too seriously at times, but then also there’s enough humour to confuse the approach, 180 days won’t initially sound like much, but after a few hours and less than two-weeks on the job, you’ll realise it’s a long stretch, and depending on your choices, that $500,000 target doesn’t seem too difficult to reach as long as you can keep the Mayor sweet.
In all there’s a fantastic package, which is only let down slightly from its graphical approach, but with a solid story, a deep, immersive world and well done voice acting, there’s certainly plenty to recommend