Despite not playing a whole lot of the original game, I’d been excited for This is the Police 2’s release on the Nintendo Switch for some time. I love the idea of managing my own police force, whilst the fact that it also has a meaningful narrative that’s surprisingly dark added an extra incentive to begin my journey as Sharpwood’s sheriff. Well, after spending a ton of hours with it I’ve come to two conclusions: one, This is the Police 2 is certainly an enjoyable game, and two, it can also be frustratingly tough.
This is the Police 2 puts you in the shoes of Lilly Reed – the sheriff in the small town of Sharpwood who faces many trials and tribulations as she looks to bring the crime rate down whilst gaining the respect of the officers beneath her. Of course, it’s not an easy task, but it’s one that takes an interesting turn when she finds herself working with the protagonist from the first game Jack Boyd. Anyone who played the first game will know that Jack doesn’t always follow the law, but he’s certainly a good ally to have when trying to clear the streets of crime.
There’s a big focus on storytelling in This is the Police 2, with plenty of cinematic sequences and character interactions to be seen throughout. It tells an interesting tale, though it is one that could drag a little at times. When the twists and turns take place it’s great, but there’re a few pointless scenes in between it all that don’t really advance the story. There’s certainly more good than bad, but sometimes it’s like there’s storytelling for the sake of it and it could feel a little dull.
Gameplay-wise, you’re in charge of managing your police force and ensuring they’re there to take care of all the crime that occurs throughout Sharpwood. You’re given an isometric view of the entire town and see reports pop up whenever something needs your attention – it’s up to you to assign officers to each report in a timely manner, otherwise you’ll see the crime go unsolved and suffer for it in your end of day report, which in turn sees your finances take a hit. You’ll need money to keep your police force strong too, so it’s imperative you keep on top of everything.
Outside of assigning tasks to your officers you’ll also have to make quick decisions that can affect their well-being, help out in investigations yourself, as well as interact with prolific figures throughout the town. Being a sheriff isn’t an easy job, and This is the Police 2 constantly reminds you of that with the sheer volume of tasks that are assigned to you. It’s good though and there’s no denying that there’s plenty of variety to be found with each day you spend looking after the town.
Of course, the most important one is managing your police force – this also just so happens to be the most complicated. Each officer has their own personality and strengths, which is something you’ll want to be wary of when sending them out. Their strengths can determine how effective they’ll be at solving a specific type of crime, so it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on them – you won’t want to send a poor negotiator out to a hostage situation for example, nor will you want to send someone with poor shooting skills to a shootout. It can be the difference between a successful arrest or a dead police officer, so you’ll really need to keep on top of what your team is capable of.
That being said, it isn’t always as simple as sending an officer to a crime and waiting to see the outcome. As mentioned, each officer has their own personality and that plays a big part in the game. Got an officer who has an alcohol problem? Don’t be surprised if they don’t show up to work. Got an officer who doesn’t like women? They may not take kindly to being given orders by one. There are so many things you have to consider, and it makes establishing relationships with your officers and looking after them one of the most important aspects of This is the Police 2. For example, a good way to get them on board with you is to ensure that they’re well-rested and have their days off work, but can you afford to let them stay at home when you’ve got a small team and so many crimes to take care of? It’s a real balancing act and something that can cause as much frustration as it does satisfaction.
This is the Police 2 is a difficult game, and unfortunately it’s not always in a rewarding way. There were countless times where it felt like the game was actively working against me, be it thanks to the sheer volume of crimes or my wayward force of officers who aren’t always willing to help me out. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a team together and feeling prepped for a day of crime fighting, only for a few to ring in sick and then others to die during a wayward operation. Believe me, you’re going to need patience if you want to experience This is the Police 2’s better moments.
Those aforementioned operations are one of the new additions in This is the Police 2, with each one playing like a mission straight out of XCOM with the player tactically leading a squad of officers to tackle a crime with high stakes. This might mean sneaking through and taking criminals out with a taser, preventing a bomb from going off, or just taking part in a full-blown shoot out. They’re an interesting addition to the game that adds a fun strategic twist outside of all of the man-management, but they can also cause a lot of problems – it’s so easy to see countless police officers killed during these operations when things go wrong, and that’ll cause more issues for you in the long run. Again though, when they go right and you pull off a quick and swift arrest it’s mighty satisfying.
Developer: Weappy Studio
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC