This is the Police 2 is a rather bizarre mix of genres wrapped up in a Police force shaped package from THQ Nordic. In one place you have a narrative driven, dramatic visual novel. You have an intense, decision making management simulation. You have a high stakes turn based battle role-playing game. There are even strong elements from old school text adventure games. So, all in all, you have Civilization, XCOM, Firewatch, Zork and The Sims. Of course, the actual package itself is in a package shaped distinctly like ‘The Shield’. Or you could insert other cop dramas.
Release Date: 25th September 2018
Size: 2.55 GB
Developed By: Weappy Studio
Published By: THQ Nordic
The story sees you jump into the boots of an ex-cop with a troubled past in the small town of Sharpwood. It’s a direct continuation of the original, protagonist Jack Boyd has escaped Freeburg in order to reach this new small town. Quickly you’ll learn that Sharpwood isn’t a typical little backwater town though, there’s a lot going on here. Gangs run riot, causing a situation where the local police force is left without an effective leader. That’s where you’ll get the opportunity to step up and show what you’ve got.
The main narrative is told through cartoon-like cutscenes and has very strong voice acting for the main characters. This ensures that despite cheesy police tropes you never feel disengaged from events unfolding. The smaller crimes unfold through text and pictures, this works well too. There is intensity to this story, it’s rated +16 for a reason. The story tackles legitimate real-life issues, such as sexism, stress, pressure, and corruption. This adds a narrative edge which will keep your grip.
The story sections play out with occasional dialogue options and choices. This is the visual novel part. The majority of the gameplay is a strategy management sim. Every day you’ll start out with a collection of officers who you’ll assign resources too. From there you’ll get an overview of the town and you’ll start receiving calls. These calls come in all shapes and sizes, some are petty crimes, some are hoaxes, some require a tough response, some require a full scale tactical operation and then there’s everything in between. What makes this challenging and puzzling is the need to balance your resources.
The main resources you have are your officers. The trouble comes in their personalities. Some will outright refuse to work with officers they don’t respect or trust. With some, you’ll have to earn loyalty in order to be able to command them properly. Some will get ill and not turn up for work, others will have a personal crisis and ask for the day off. Say no and you could lose their support or loyalty. Every officer has numerous statistics that show how good they are at the job, they also have individual perks that could help in certain situations. Each crime will have a certain skill level quota that the officers you send have to meet in order to be able to actually tackle the crime. If the officers you have available don’t have the required skill they won’t be able to even visit the scene and fail.
Some crimes you’ll turn up to and you won’t have to do anything. It could be an overreaction or a hoax. Others require investigations which unfold over days as you assign officers to gather clues then you put together a chain of events and eventually provide a solution. The SWAT-like turn based raids are a nice way to shake up the formulaic process. The majority of the time you’re responding to crimes and deal with situations as they arise, the turn based missions break that cycle nicely. How do they do this? By throwing you into a high stakes situation which will test your tactical ability. You’ll need numerous officers with varied perks, which they earn through experience, and you’ll need to ensure you don’t make any mistakes while you attack to deal with the criminals. You can just shoot them all. Or you can attempt to arrest them all, you’ll be rewarded much higher for taking them alive. If your cops get injured there are real consequences, they could even die permanently. These missions are fun and you’ll notice yourself improving with each one.
The vast majority of crimes you’ll face will involve text-based decisions. This could be turning up at the bank due to an old man attempting to poo on the counter. You’ll be given options on how to react. Do you restrain him? Attempt to talk him down? You could even just let him do it. Depending on what cop you send that’ll impact the response. If he tries to run you better hope your cop’s speed is high enough. If you try to restrain him you better hope that your strength is high enough. Again, the more you play the more efficient you’ll get as you learn how to deal with each case. However, the downside is this will get repetitive. Another downside is that the game is very difficult. Due to the high consequences, you can get yourself to a point where you’ll never recover due to losing officers and resources. I restarted twice after only the first week to have the ideal beginning.
Graphics and Sound
The map and overview looks absolutely fantastic. It’s clean, it’s colorful and the animations are brilliant. The music on the map is also good, it never gets annoying although it tends to ramp up at pointless moments. The cutscenes are good and animated well. The graphics in the tactical missions are impressive and the animations, such as climbing through windows or arresting villains all work very well. In terms of overall sound, it’s a mixed bag. Some of the voice acting is spectacular, some are wooden and robotic. It’s an odd balance. The music is also good for the most part, sometimes it can be incredibly atmospheric and really add to the creepy, small-town vibe. Other times it feels as if it’s from a different game altogether, something with a lot more going on.
This is the Police 2 is a good strategy game that’s marred by difficulty. The consequences for failure are so high that you’ll often be quitting and restarting days in order to perform better just to be able to reach the next section without screwing yourself. As a package, there’s a lot here. A lot of interesting ideas actually do come together well and if you enjoyed the first game you’re in for a treat. If you can battle with the difficulty and enjoy police settings in any way then you should definitely pick this title up.