Thursday, September 6, 2018

This Is the Police 2 Review

This Is the Police 2 reviewed on Steam and written for TheOmegaNerd by Luke Montavon

The events of Weappy Studios’ strategy game, This is the Police, left police chief Jack Boyd on the run from the very law he once enforced. Now with its sequel, This is the Police 2, the story picks back up with Jack in the town of Sharpwood. Boyd is back on the force, but under a new name, to both assist fellow police officer Lilly Reed and hide his crimes.

The overall setup of the story seems like an everyday crime drama, but the story feels awkward and forced. Most of the game is comprised of cutscenes; at the beginning of each work day the player will be greeted with a new scene that ever so slightly pushes the story forward. These scenes are drawn out as far as they’ll go. Many scenes have characters stuttering over their words, never getting to the point. Emotions fluctuate constantly as the characters interact with one another. Jack, for example, is hard to place. At one moment he seems like a stand up, honest man. Though, after day three back on the force, he pulls a complete one eighty.

At first it seems like Jack and Lilly reach an agreement. Though as the story progresses, it’s clear that this isn’t some buddy cop story; this is Jack’s tale, Lilly hardly even makes the billing. Jacks character takes such a drastic turn early in the story. He’s aggressive and berates Lilly for being incompetent. Instead of lending a hand, he instead takes full control of the station and feels like he’s moving backwards. It feels like everyone that has a stake in things are constantly in a stand still. Jack is still pushing the boundary of what is lawful and unlawful, while Lilly turns into a device to remind the player to do their job.

The story has its moments, but a lot of it just feels forced. Many scenes just feel tacked on for the sole purpose of creating the sequel; which is sad to say because the base gameplay is interesting. Each work day there will be different events that will present themselves. Theft, public indecency, attempted murder; it’s the players job to send out the correct cops for the job. At this point, those officers are unavailable for future jobs until the task is complete. Once the team reaches their goal three choices are presented and at that point it’s up to the player to choose what they believe will lead to the proper outcome.

The gameplay seems simple, but it gets harder. With This is the Police 2 there are now new tactical missions. These missions follow the modern XCOM style grid-based gameplay. The player will choose a squad of cops out of the ones currently working; if a cop is currently on a job they can’t participate until they are done. These missions seem like a big part of the sequel but, ultimately, they don’t quite that huge a role. These missions aren’t too frequent, and the risk far outweighs the reward; not to mention they present a huge spike in difficulty. The second mission requires players to either capture or kill all criminals or defuse a bomb. Chances are that many people won’t have cops built to handle this mission.

This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but as the game progresses it slowly presents more possibilities to hit game over. If the mafia doesn’t get its payment then you lose; if more criminals get away than criminals caught, tactical missions included, you lose. The game is not beginner friendly, but why stop there? Almost everything is up to chance; outcomes seem wildly outlandish and make the game harder for the player. Sometimes the game lies to the player and puts them into a false sense of security. When I was playing I had one of my officers leave me to work at a store regardless of their loyalty. Another officer died and was found behind the station after breaking a VCR. Then another came up to Jack asking to play a friendly game of blackjack; no bets or money involved. After I lost the game he demanded I pay him 500 dollars as a bonus and to supply him with his favorite type of beer. Had I known the risk I would have wasted no time and instantly declined. 

          For those wondering if they can play this game without any experience from the first, I’d say no. From a story stand point you will be missing out on a lot. In terms of gameplay, it’s difficult to say. Weappy studio has added a lot that wasn’t present in the first game; this makes this sequel painful to finish for those who don’t already know how these new elements work. Honestly speaking, I haven’t seen the end of the game and don’t know how far I truly got. Though thanks to the level of difficulty, mixed with the hidden consequences, I was down a lot of officers. I was in a hole that was only getting deeper.

From an onlooker’s standpoint the game looks fun and truly it is; however, with every new addition to the game, it’s hard to maintain that first initial interest. Weappy Studios needs to take a few steps back if they plan to create another installment. Many of these ideas could work to make a great game, but it all needs to happen one step at a time. Present the player with something manageable then when the time is right, provide each challenge in a timelier manner. The studio has the core gameplay figured out, it’s more about the fine tuning.

Overall, if I had to place a score on the game I’d say it’s an average 5 out of 10. It’s not a terrible game, but it heavily alienates its players through its extreme difficulty. Even die-hard fans of the series could find themselves at a lose from time to time. The game can be fun, but you may need to dig to really find what you’re looking for.