In 2016, Nordic Games and EuroVideo Medien published a small adventure strategy video game This Is the Police which looked really impressive. Since then when it was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux, This Is the Police arrived to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch a year later. It took another year for the game to arrive to App Store and Google Play Store, but now that it’s available to all platforms and sequel is out, it is time for us to see if it is worth it all the fuss.
This is the Police developed by Weappy Studio is the game about crime, corruption, and justice. It is set in the 1980s in Freeburg, a city where soon-to-be-retired police chief Jack Boyd has 180 days to leave a decent legacy behind him. And earn half a million dollar in the process which he needs for the retirement.
Now, this is a narrative game and because of that, it may take some time to get used to. The narration is done in a film noir kinda way by Boyd voiced over by none other than John St. John an actor famous for Duke Nukem portrayal. His deep voice and Boyd’s anti-heroism may leave you questioning his morality at times, but in the end, he does everything for the sake of the greater good. However, now that he is forced into retirement by the city hall, and cornered by Christopher Sand a mobster disguised as a philanthropist, Boyd will fall into the corruption game he has been fighting against his whole time on the force.
The players need to take care of the crime every day from 7 in the morning until 9 in the evening or later by deciding how many police officers to send on the crime scene. Basically, your task is to manage the police department in the corrupt city and with mob breathing down your neck. You need to strategically decide the number of cops needed for each call, what to ignore and what to punish. The best example for the type of tasks you need to handle is probably the one dealing with racism and misogyny. At the same time, the City Hall orders you to fire all Afro-American cops and break up a peaceful feminist protest.
However, the writing falls behind the concept envisioned here and sometimes Boyd’s behavior doesn’t have the true impact on his personality as it should have in real life. The example I presented doesn’t make any difference in the story no matter what Boyd did in this situation. But Boyd’s days in the force are full of “what is the right thing to do” situations, it only depends right for whom.
Although the game looks interesting and fitting for the narrative, it’s the complexity it tries to present that harms this title. With so many things going on it’s hard to dedicate appropriately to each and see the full consequence of certain actions. However, the game is fun and really does the best it can with the theme it chose. And sometimes you will wish Boyd could just quit, turn his back on everything and go home.