Saturday, September 29

Review: This is the Police II [Nintendo Switch eShop]

The original This is the Police provided a pretty unique experience, mixing various elements of management with a pretty interesting story involving you, as the chief of police, stuck in a bad situation and trying desperately just to keep afloat on several levels. In the sequel you start out in hiding in a much more remote town, but one that has many of the same overall problems. With a newly-minted female sheriff in town desperate to gain some respect and short on resources she turns to you to help her manage things and so the cycle of both fighting against and sometimes embracing corruption begin anew.

As before there’s plenty of day-to-day decision-making, sending your various officers out to cover incoming calls, and dealing with personnel issues like people coming in drunk or generally being little bitches about any number of things. In order to add some depth and strategy to things your officers now carry specific attributes that you can choose to upgrade as they advance that will make them more adept in specific situations. Since you can’t always predict what sort of mess they’ll encounter this isn’t an exact science, though for some calls you may be able to count on specific skill sets coming in handy. Where this becomes even more critical, though, is when you take on the other major addition to the game: turn-based strategy sequences that resemble the play of titles like X-Com.

The problem with these missions is both that they’re not used often enough, so it’s harder to develop a real feel for how to best be effective, and that when they are things tend to go downhill for your people in a hurry. I’m not sure whether more tutorials or in-game help to give you better pointers for success would help, or if simply the systems need some refinement or toning down, but even when replaying these sequences it tends to be a struggle not to end up hurting. Of course, then with a depleted force your problems in the management space struggle and it tends to snowball on you. With regards to the story I see it as a love/hate prospect as well, either you’ll get sucked in by the small town intrigue and personal struggles or you’ll find it tedious. I rather liked the story as a whole, though I’ll readily admit that there can be pretty long stretches where you’re not doing much playing… so I can understand when people get frustrated with it.

On the whole This is the Police II puts obvious effort into being a better and more interesting game than its predecessor. While the development team obviously set their sights pretty high the results are likely heavily open to interpretation. People who thoroughly enjoy the challenge of managing their resources and struggling to keep it all together may thoroughly enjoy the experience, aggravations and all. However, if you’re just looking for something to start up and begin enjoying this sequel is a bit of a step back from even the original, becoming more cumbersome with the weight of its ambitions that don’t all work out.

Score: 6

  • An interesting unfolding story if you have the patience for it
  • Even more elements than the original can be toyed with to add strategic flair
  • The addition of turn-based strategy segments gives the game added challenge, but it can tend to veer too far into being frustrating

  • As before some outcomes from your various decisions can feel arbitrary and unfair
  • A very bad fit if you’re just looking for something to load up and begin having fun with, the story and flow of the game can be downright plodding at times
  • Once your downhill slide begins it can be very difficult to course correct