Warning! This game is compulsive and certainly not for children. The layers of gameplay and the story combined will grip you and you may find it hard to stop. Even as I write this all I can think about it getting back to running this small town Sheriff’s office and what side deals and shady practices one can get away with to ensure the Feds don’t show up at the door. And then come the various other individuals and organizations that want to use the Sheriff’s department as their own personal enforcers. So, sit back and embrace the corruption, because it’s the only way you will survive. This is our review of This Is The Police II.
Weappy, in their own words “a small independent game development studio”, have continued the saga of Jack Boyd as he hides from the Feds and other less lawful organizations. While hiding in the small town of Sharpwood Jack finds himself in the custody of the local Sheriff’s department and somehow talks his way into helping the new Sheriff after the death of the previous Sheriff, and then the death of her closest ally, to raids gone wrong. Sheriff Lilly Reed is desperate from the loss of her mentor, fellow officer, and the rampant disrespect of the men under her and agrees to enlist the help of this ex-police chief. Don’t worry, the actual story is nowhere near this simple. In fact it becomes more complex and deep with almost each game day Jack makes it through.
While instruction or tutorials seem in short supply, trial and error are quick teachers in this instance as the game, while multi-layered, is fairly easy to grasp. This game has several different aspects of play to engage in including the management of the deputies under you, including their loyalty and respect toward you and their advancement and skill acquisition. There will be some deputies that, at first, will not respect you and you will have the choice of passing them on to Sheriff Reed and losing manpower or finding ways of gaining their loyalty. Not having a deputy’s loyalty can be problematic, especially when involved in a raid as they will not take orders from you and will do whatever they please (more on raids later). Many of the deputies have their own quirks and issues, some of which you may find are not worth the effort of dealing with (like frequently showing up to work drunk). Not to mention, on any given day one or more of your deputies will either not show up or plead for time off for one reason or another. Some come to you with skills already acquired, while others you will have to train up as they gain field experience. Their skill sets, however, are not the only factor in their effectiveness.
Equipping your deputies with the tools necessary for their job is also very important. The Department has an armory that may or may not fit your needs at any given time. At the beginning of each day, you assign equipment from the armory to each Sheriff, if you have enough, and that will open up options (hopefully) in the various calls you send them to respond to. Consider the call, Deputy skill levels, and their equipment carefully as that can make or break the success of an incident. Some of the equipment is expended on use, such as the stun grenades, taser cartridges, and pepper spray, while others like the baton are pretty much there to stay.
Successfully apprehending a suspect will gain you a type of currency (beer can tabs) that you can exchange for more equipment or even new deputies. Failing incidents by letting suspects escape, civilians getting killed, or a deputy getting injured or killed detracts from that. If you do too horribly, you will find you lose more tabs than you gain. Do that three times in a row and dear Sheriff Reed will feel obligated to call the Feds. So yes, you and your deputies do have to do an adequate job.
The majority of the game day consists of watching a map of the town waiting for incidents to be called in. At this point, you choose which officer or officers you want to send to that incident and then watch their little police car move through the town to their destination. Most incidents have a time limit for responding to them, and if you can you will want to as not responding will earn you a penalty in earning beer can tabs as well as losing a suspect. When they arrive at the location, they will rely on your judgment what to do in each situation. Their skill levels and equipment figure largely into whether they have access to all the options and whether they are successful. Sometimes, however, unintended things can happen. And heads up – some of the options you are given are downright not nice. Such is police work.
As the days pass, various non-timed incidents will pop up on your map: investigations, possible side deals (mostly shady, if highly beneficial) that can be made, and raids. While the response to raids doesn’t have a minute counter like most incidents, they usually must be responded to within their given range of time (usually one to three days, click on them and find out). For investigations, you can assign officers to go and investigate every day until you feel you have enough information to solve the crime. There are usually two suspects with two corresponding scenarios that you will have to choose between based on what facts you can find.
Raids, on the other hand, set you up with your chosen officers in a top-down turn-based combat scenario. Don’t let this simple layout deceive you. These can be very challenging. Don’t stress too much, you will be given the option to retry if you fail. During a raid you can lose officers and you may have to put down suspects. Here, again, their skills and equipment will dictate their options and level of efficiency. The goals can be varied, some I encountered included time bombs, others hostages (this required silent takedowns to prevent other suspects from being alerted and executing the hostage). Effectively and successfully completing a raid is highly lucrative in the beer can tab currency.
Progress for the game is auto-saved and there is no manual save function. Don’t, however, think you’re completely stuck with an undesirable result. You can load the game on any day of the calendar that you have already completed and start from there. Any progress made that day will be lost, though, so choose wisely.
So, that’s a lot. As I said, this game have various levels and I personally found all of it engaging. But all of the game play facets are only half of it, as the story and the art are just as involving and really drive this game to masterpiece level.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a code provided by PR.
- X-Com, X-Com 2
- Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates