“Stop! In the name of the law!” Put your hands up and do not resist arrest. At least, not until you have read our review for This Is The Police 2 for Nintendo Switch.
This Is The Police 2 is a resource management game that puts you in charge of a Sheriff’s Department in the not-so-sleepy town of Sharpwood. Manage your officers by sending them on call outs, investigations or storm drug dens. You have to shake a few crooked hands to make ends meet whilst banging away criminals and avoiding the slammer yourself. Originally released on Steam earlier this year, it is now time to see how it fares on the Nintendo Switch.
This Is The Police 2 has a very unique aesthetic to it. The story is told via abstract, comic panels with a noir-esque vibe to them. They are not heavily detailed but the visuals are interesting to say the least. The gameplay has a more cartoon/animated feel to it and is much more detailed. The music helps set the tone for the game and is never overpowering but just enough to not be drowned out but the sound effects.
You play as Jack Boyd, a disgraced Police Chief on the run from the Feds after getting mixed up in the corruption taking over Freeburg City. Finding refuge in the remote rural town of Sharpwood, Boyd thinks he is safe for the time being but Lady Fate has other plans. When the Sheriff of Sharpwood is gunned down during an ambush, the position of Sheriff is given to Deputy Lilly Reed. Reed is a good cop but lacks the respect of her peers. Under the guise of Warren Nash, Boyd is arrested after drugs were found hidden under the floorboards of his rented house. He manages to convince Sheriff Reed that he can help her with her cases if she doesn’t tell the Feds where he is.
With enough problems on her plate, Reed agrees to release Boyd from custody and has Boyd join the department as an advisor. It is now in Boyd’s hands yet again to manage the Sheriff’s Department, crack down on crime in Sharpwood and try to keep his nose clean and not meddle in any funny business. The latter of course is shortlived as sooner or later, Boyd will need to grease a few palms to keep the Department well maintained.
The story has all the premise of being a really good tale and is actually quite interesting. Unfortunately, the story cut-scenes are so long winded that you just want to skip them and get back on with the game. After all, if you wanted to watch a detective movie, you’d actually go and watch a detective movie, right?
The actual voice work is pretty good at times but falters badly. Not because of the voice actors themselves (well, okay, some are pretty bad) but the lines themselves are so slow going. I am all for suspense but when almost every character has a stutter or speech impediment and a penchant for repeating themselves, I just want the cutscene to end instead of being so dragged out.
Though the majority of the game is made up of unnecessarily long cut-scenes, there are some gameplay moments as well. Most gameplay revolves around a map and having to answer call outs or solve ongoing cases like the fist game in the series. This time around, you are further involved with each case as you have to make tough decisions that will determine the outcome. Will the criminal escape? Will you take them into custody? Will an officer lose their life in the line of duty?
That’s not all though. This time around, your officers are not just resources but people with feelings and problems and have no issues with making their problems, your problems. Some officers don’t like working with others, some are drunks or rarely turn up for work. There are also a number of them that are complete liabilities. Unfortunately, you can’t just fire the weak links in the police chain, as you will be left severly understaffed and the crime rate will only get higher.
Not all cases are open and shut. Some take time to find and catch the culprit and can require a number of cops that will be unavailable for anything else until the rest of the day. Once enough clues and evidence has been gathered, it is then up to you to piece together the chain of events and finger out the killer. Get it right and you will be rewarded but get it wrong, you will be sending an innocent person to jail and the criminal will get off Scot free.
A new game feature that was not included in the original This Is The Policeis the XCOM-styled Assaults. You will have to send your officers on daring assaults in order to take down criminal gangs. Their skills and perks play a key role in the outcome and good strategy is essential for a positive outcome. Dead Cops will seriously hinder you as it will leave you even more understaffed than you were already. A good plan is essential for a positive outcome that leaves you with healthy cops and arrested criminals as opposed to dead cops and escaped criminals.
After playing the first game, I really hoped that This Is The Police 2 would improve of some of the problems with This Is The Police. Unfortunately, this is not the case and I found myself in a frustrating viscious circle where I didn’t have enough cops to make it through the day, criminals were getting away with their crimes and I lost sight of what I was doing it all for. With enough problems of my own to deal with in real life and my own team to manage, the last thing I want to deal with is whiny, virtual cops that don’t want to work with each other or one that goes AWOL. If you are too fair, you officers will walk all over you and if you are too strict, they will ignore you completely.
There is just so many things you have to micro-manage. Your Police force, their equipment, their decisions when apprehending a criminal, solving cases for them. It is hard to believe that you are in charge of so called ‘experienced’ police officers, that are afraid to make their own decisions and get on with the job at hand. If I didn’t turn up at work four days consecutively because my music band are making drumsticks, I would be fired. This Is The Police 2 gave the officers more personality which is a good thing, but forgot to add the harsh reality that comes with working. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. At one point in my life, I have worked 14-16 hour shifts non-stop for three months, so why should I take lip from an NPC that doesn’t want to work two days in a row?
A resource management game that punishes you more than it rewards you with a difficulty arc, that should certify you to be a real police chief by the time you complete the game. The story is promising but the cutscenes are so long-winded that the visual representation is not enough to captivate you into wanting to watch the rest of the cut-scene. It is no easy task being boss and you are reminded of that every step of the way. If you are looking for a tough, gruelling challenge where the light at the end of the tunnel is so far on the horizon, it’s right behind you. You will certainly find it here. This Is The Police 2 is a slight improvement over the first game, but some issues will make you question whether you want to continue playing or consider a different career path.
The Verdict: 7/10
*Review Key Provided By THQ Nordic Via Dead Good Media PR.