This is the Police Review – Controversial Enjoyment?
This is the Police sparked my interest as soon as I saw the trailer. The art style and the voice acting gripped me, but not as much as the nod to Goodfellas. Goodfellas is one of my favourite movies, definitely in the top ten, so I simply had to get this game. Luckily, I was sent a key so I’ve been playing this game for a week now (check out my stream for first look reactions). It’s due out tomorrow on Steam [update – now due out on 2 August] but will it be worth your time?
Freeburg, the fictional city where the game is set, is a city you wouldn’t want to set foot in. You take on the role of Police Chief Jack Boyd. You’re retiring (read being forced out) and you have 180 days to raise $500,000 to serve as your nest egg. How you raise the cash is up to you but your methods could lead you to ruin, or perhaps even to an early grave.
Prepare to Be Shocked
First of all, I found this game quite shocking and uncomfortable. Expect to deal with racism, sexism, corruption, terrorism and it’s going to make you think. It’s set in the 80’s and there are plenty of non-pc scenarios that pop up that are still causing problems in present day life. I found these parts of the game pretty offensive at times, but I wonder if they have been put in to raise awareness, to educate and perhaps to strengthen our morals. If you’re easily offended this probably isn’t the game for you.
If you understand what the real world is like, are secured in your belief in what’s right and wrong and enjoy a good story then I recommend you head on in. This isn’t the first game (or movie, TV show or book) to be in your face about highly sensitive issues and it won’t be the last.
This is a strategy game that involves clicking a mouse, but the decisions you make will have a huge impact on the success of your personal goal. All the while you have to deal with the emergency calls that come in, manage officers, detectives and SWAT teams as you try to catch criminals, solve investigations while keeping your officers and the civilians of Freeburg alive.
There are your everyday types of crimes going on, false alarms, requests from City Hall and the mafia behind you, filling you with fear, enticing you with cash and making you think about what’s right and wrong all the way. You have to deal with the officers and try to rank them up but keeping their energy levels high and sending them out on jobs that they will hopefully be successful in. You may have to train them up or fire them, and you can choose to fire them legally or illegally and even get them killed. It’s a game full of right and wrong.
This is the Police has an interesting story line. Cutscenes are set out like a graphic novel and have an interesting art style. There’s minimal action on the screen the voice acting is strong enough to carry you through, just. There’s humour too, it’s pretty dark, sometimes ridiculous and often entertaining. Choosing to through a sex doll at someone with a hostage does lighten up the situation somewhat.
Your Actions Will Have Serious Consequences
I did find myself wanting to head straight back on when I left the game, wondering what was going to happen next and how much I had already screwed myself over (update: I went back in and got shot! You can die way before the 180 days are up). The game is also re-playable. I want to know what happens if I choose other paths. Will I succeed by staying on the straight and narrow? Should I side with the ‘other side’ to come out alive? Will I get killed by messing about the mafia? I simply don’t know at this point and they’re all questions I want to know the answers to. If you do have to go back in time (to save your butt) you cannot skip the cutscenes, which is a bit annoying as they can take several minutes to complete.
Overall the gameplay works well and it’s a game that although it faces horrific situations, does manage to become an enjoyable gaming experience. This is the Police is worth your time and your money if you’re prepared to step outside your comfort zone by quite a substantial distance.