This is the Police sees players take on the role of Police Chief Jack Boyd, as they run the police force of Freeburg. Manage your staff, respond to emergencies, and investigate crimes in a city on the brink of chaos. Should This is the Police put on the ‘blues and twos’ and head to the top of your game pile? Read our review below…
This Is The Police is a management sim that focuses on you taking control of a very busy police station in the middle of a crime filled city. You take the role of a retiring police chief who is given 6 months to turn the station and the city around. Early on you set yourself a target of earning an amount of money to be able to retire comfortably on, so not only do you have 6 months to show you worth and create order within the law but you also have to hit the target retirement fund you need as well. The whole operation is in your hands and you are faced with a number of tasks and decisions that will determine whether you make a success of it or not, so you have to choose wisely when faced with the tough tasks ahead.
There are numerous things that you have to consider including staffing, budgets, training and a whole lot more. Managing your staff is the key to a successful station and making sure that they are happy, fit and loyal to you. Amongst the choices you make is the option to abide by the rules of being a police chief and answering to the mayor and the city or take a big payout for the mafia to turn a blind eye to what they are doing and ultimately lining your own pockets at a much faster rate. There will be a few occasions where you need to decide between what is best for your station and what is best for you. The gameplay is very basic with just a selection of menus to scroll through where you navigate around your many options and station departments, using single button presses, which works well but can get a little tedious doing the same cycles repeatedly after a while due to the limited depth that the game offers.
The game presents you with a number of choice challenges and one of the main ones is staffing. Your station will run as efficiently as your staff do and some of them will take liberties and really try to test your authority. Staff will try and get out of shifts on occasions and while some reasons for wanting the day off seem genuine, like a funeral of a relative, there are some that are just laugh out loud ridiculous, like someone saying they can’t come in because they need to feed their fish, so they request the day off. I did have someone request the day off because they had a few too many to drink at a party the night before and were hungover, but I refused, demanding they came in to work and later that shift they ended up crashing their police car and dying on the job, whoops. Controlling staffing plays a huge part on how successful you are and having the trust of your staff can reward you later on, especially if you decide to side with the mafia, as your staff will have your back as long as you share your dirty payouts with them and recruiting staff with high stats is essential.
One thing I will say is that your choices really do matter and making the wrong decision or recruiting the wrong member of staff can have an impact on how smoothly things go. There are also a mixture of murder cases to deal with where you need to match up your evidence gathered to the snapshots taken at the scene, requiring you to have detectives with a high professionalism trait and while these were quite fun at first they soon lost their appeal after the first couple. You can fire and hire new people to join your team, you can even get the mafia to do your dirty work and get rid of a problematic officer contesting your authority. There a lots of aspects that you have to oversee and this is something the game does quite well with giving you various different departments to manage but each one is let down by the limited options you have to work with.
The visuals are very dull and quite uninspiring, filled with a muddy grey map and menu system that isn’t very pleasing on the eye. There could of been so much more that could of been done with making the game look a lot more attractive, but instead you are given a visual style that matches the dull and depressing story. The audio in the game is quite good but there is very little to it apart from in the cutscenes, but there is a nice little touch as you get to unlock records that you can play while managing your day to day business and you get the option of unlocking more throughout the game too. There is an attempt at a narrative to connect you to the chief you are representing but I found it all to be a little depressing and I ended up skipping the cutscenes after a while.
I can understand why it is put in there but it doesn’t really add much to the experience or make your decisions any different as I always made my decisions on what I would do rather than what I thought the chief should do based on his circumstances. As a management sim it ticks most of the boxes that you would expect it to have but its all very limited and once you have come across everything there is to see, anything after that becomes a bit of a chore and has a repetitive feel to it. This Is The Police is a game that won’t be played for hours on end but rather a game that you could put on to kill an hour and would have probably been more suited as a mobile game.