“This is the Police” is a management simulation game. At the start, you learn that there has been corruption and political upheavel in the city of Freeburg. This has led to the ousting of the police chief of the city as well as several other public officials. Due to the circumstances, you, as the current police chief have 180 days to do what’s needed before you are completely retired from the force.
“This is the Police” has an amazingly engaging story that dominates the game. You spend about 10-15 minutes in-between each day listening to the story unfold through amazing voice acting and storytelling that it could be turned into an own audiobook. The story is accompanied with panes of images with a unique minimalist art style that unfortunately do not add much to the game.
Beneath the story is the police management game. Unfortunately, it almost feels like a distraction just so you touch the controller for 10 minutes so that the system doesn’t go to sleep from lack of controller input. Crimes pop up around the city, you send officers or detective to the crimes and sometimes they catch the perpetrators and sometime they don’t. You have a set amount of time for the day, and you must make sure you don’t over extend your officers so that you still have officers to get to as many of the crimes as possible.
The game extends this management aspect, by having you manage two shifts of officers, manage their days off and their days of work, manage request for more headcount, wages and other resources. You must also manage which officers to fire and which to hire, and take account if an officer has an indiscretion that could lead you to legally fire an officer or face an investigation for illegally firing an officer.
The game adds an additional aspect to the management system, by having cases which only detectives can only work on, and you obtain simple clues and photos which you need to put into proper chronological order to try to solve the case. Later in the game the officers begin taking political sides, and then you must balance their politics, as two opposing viewed officers can negatively impact the success of solving a crime. Your decision to back one side or the other can impact the resources you have at your disposal throughout the game
There is not a feeling of connectivity of the crimes and cases to the actual storyline of the game. They just seem like randomly made up crimes to keep you falsely engaged in the game so you aren’t just listening to a 20+ hour long audiobook.
This is a dramatic shame, as the story is impressive and immersive. You want to get through the next day to find out more of the police chief and the corruption in the city, but the dragging of the management game drives a spike in that enjoyment. The management just drags and drags after the first 60 days and I got to a point where I just didn’t care as much and just went through the motions because I had to. There was no rhyme or reason to the management aspect. I could send a full lineup of officers with high efficiency and completely fail a crime where the perpetrator got away, and on the flip side I could send two worthless officers with less than 15 efficiency to a robbery and they would pass with flying colors.
A big turnoff for me was quite early in the game, when Freeburg was going through an increase in racist activity and the cities response to the situation wasn’t to work to change the behavior or beliefs, but to just give two days to fire all black officers from the force so that they wouldn’t get killed and provide bad press. In today’s society, even with corruption, this seems like very ignorant and stupid writing that doesn’t consider societal viewpoints. These “miniquests” are completely unnecessary, and they could have been replaced with better “miniquests” and stories that maybe revolved around the corruption instead of the race card.
The saving grace for the game is the well selected soundtrack. The music is perfect for the art style of the game. It provides great background when doing the management phase of the game. I only wish the soundtrack was expanded even further, with 180 days and only a handful of songs to play it does get repetitive. The music and the story between each management session are the stars of the game, it is too bad it is marred by the poor management piece.
I have to give the story and music a 10/10, but the management gameplay a 3/10 as it is repetitive after the first 10-20 days and drags along after 60 days. Thus, my meet in the middle rule puts the overall game at 6.5/10. If you are willing to put up with the management piece of the game, get it for the storyline. But if you want the story, go find a youtube video that runs through it so that you don’t have to deal with the grind.