Publisher: THQ Nordic
This Is the Police is a strange game that seems to suffer from not being able to decide what type of game it is. Is it a visual novel, a police procedural simulator, or a strategy adventure game? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question.
Developer: Weappy Studio
Review platform: Xbox One
Release date: Apr 20, 2017
Beyond its identity crisis, this game also struggles with inconsistent pacing, terrible difficulty gradient between levels, and a tone that’s ignorant to ongoing political issues. The player commands Jack Boyd, the Chief of Police, who is strong-armed into retiring by a mayoral office rife with corruption. The plot mostly revolves around that incident.
This Is the Police wastes no time in repeatedly reminding the player of just how edgy Boyd is—from his nauseatingly cliche dialogue to the opening scene in a strip club. Besides having the main character’s grit shoved down your throat, you also get a taste for Boyd’s lack of ethics as he is pressured to rack up enough money for his retirement in a short amount of time. This seems like a wasted opportunity because you aren’t really given a lot of choice.
The game has a nice aesthetic and good voice acting in addition to some halfway decent strategy segments. That said, I struggled to find much else worthwhile. Given the game’s dependence on lots of text and dialogue, the smattering of grammar errors and typos I found were quite distracting. How any of this passed through the developer’s quality control is beyond me. Surely they could’ve double-checked their writing.
As I mentioned previously, the tone to the game is ridiculously poor as well. You have the opportunity to handle hate crimes and human rights protests, but these narrative points are showcased extremely poorly. When I looked up the developers, they apparently stated that they intended the game to not be political, but given the themes of the game and current political climate, the result isn’t a splendidly neutral game but a shallow, meaningless one. It seems like saying “we didn’t want to make our game political” is an excuse to avoid any comparisons but that isn’t how it works. Every title should be a meaningful endeavor, and if isn't then what’s the point of the game? This Is the Police feels like a wasted opportunity above all else.
Overall, This Is the Police has some nice aesthetics and good voice acting along with a few good ideas in terms of a strategy simulator, but not much else worthwhile. The writing could use more polish and so could the storyline. Had the developers focused on meaningful missions, it would’ve elevated the game considerably. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with a reminder of what could’ve been.
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