Freeburg is one corrupt city. And this is as true of the cops as it is of the criminals. It is a city full of crime lords and shady cops and equally shady deals between those two parties. Its police department is besieged by crime and lack of manpower and you, as the police chief are going to be taking part in some crooked activities and deals. You will have to be a racist with your cops, work with criminal gangs to stay alive, decide which crimes you take action against (and which you don’t), which cops to fire, and even accommodate the unethical demands of the mayor and mafia.
You are Jack Boyd, a police chief who is set to retire in 180 days. The goal is to make $500000 in your last days on the police force rather than improve its structure, weed out incompetent cops and eliminate corruption within the force-or even just punish criminals and save innocent folk. When the day begins the player will begin receiving phone calls pertaining to certain crimes being committed in the city and he will have to prioritize which crimes he takes action against due to a severe shortage of staff. With this reality in mind some crimes will definitely have to be ignored.
TITP is a game about choices you make as a police officer. But every choice you make feels wrong and at times twisted. In TITP you do not even attempt to be a good cop, particularly if you have the intention to live and not fail your objective utterly.
Every choice has potential to lead to a serious disaster. Help your friend and fellow cop with blackmail from the mafia, your life is in danger. Refuse to help him and he dies. Refuse to side the mafia, your life is going to be short. Help them and you compromise everything the police force stands for. If you want to succeed in the objective the latter is the only choice. TITP implies that it gives you choices but in many situations there is only one logical one. This is worse than the choices Game of Thrones-A telltale series forces you to make and I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that.
How the game works outside the cut scenes is by giving you an isometric map and giving you phone calls that report crimes to the police. Each crime will require a particular number of officers to be sent. For example minor fights in the streets may require two officers while an armed robbery may require eight. Sometimes when the officers reach the crime location they may call for help (which will require you to send more officers) or you will be faced with dilemmas in how to deal with certain situations. For example you may have three avenues of how to approach a situation. For a hostile robber you may pepper spray him, aim your gun at him and demand his surrender, or shoot him in the leg. You choose which option to select.
The result is random though and eventually these eventualities stop feeling enjoyable at all since you have no real control, even if the crime events are diversified and you do not see the same type of crime too often. But there is always that time when the offender will escape and a lot of times you will fail in your mini objectives.
For each crime you may succeed in stopping the crime or fail. Success will provide you with a reward in experience for your chosen officers sent to the crime scene and failure will cause a decrease. But there are a number of things that may happen at the crime scene and there is even the chance that the call was a hoax or mistake. This will result in wasted time for your officers.
There are also two shifts and detective cases to enhance the game. At the beginning of each shift there may be officers who might want to take a day off for a particular reason. You have to give a lot of thought to this because you are likely to almost always be short on police staff-especially compared to the number of calls you get. But the staff have energy meters too and over-using them can cause them to be fatigued. Other than that there is a police skill level too. I haven’t noticed the skill level do anything or make a real difference except the bothersome debacle caused by a extremely good officer tendering his resignation if it is too high. This might just be an opinion but I never felt the skill do much. You could succeed with an officer with 5 skill and fail with an officer with 500 in any case.
TITP does not give you any percentage which explains how much a police operation is likely to succeed or fail either. Some control over how things will turn out at the location can go a long way in improving the game. And this has been teased in This is the Police 2.
Needless to say you have to be careful with how to utilize your staff and act like a fox to stay on the top. Clearly this game will put your management skills to strain. There are also cases that will require proper police investigators or detectives. But instead of being presented in any meaningful manner you arrange a set of pictures in the correct order to crack these cases. I did not enjoy the detective cases and after a while learned to ignore them completely.
But there are clues from eye-witnesses that tell you how the crime progressed and this is supposed to help recreate the crime scene to find the perpetrator or perpetrators. The skill of your detective plays only a minor role in the scheme of things. This has potential though to be interesting puzzle-solving but the puzzlement caused by fake reports from unreliable sources and mystification sowed by the crime perpetrators themselves cause extreme confusion. Everything comes with strings attached in This is the Police. Even if you do everything right in the detective cases there is still a chance that you might fail to crack the case even then.
A number of Jazz tracks you can play as you begin your shift give the game personality. But I have never been big on Jazz. At least the voice acting of Jack Boyd keeps things interesting and there are some forays into his life, including his problems with his estranged wife.
To add to this some appointments the game encourages you to make can clearly be construed as racist and in a police department that is accused of being highly heavy-handed the game may cause some ruffled feathers in society, especially with all the controversy currently surrounding the police in the United States.
If you want to survive in This is the Police at all, you have to be prepared to be a dirty cop. This is a big impediment for gamers who want to make the righteous and noble choice. This is TITP’s greatest fault. You cannot play as a noble cop without there being serious consequences, even ramifications for you and your family. A smaller one is the lack of control over how things will turn out where you send your cops. It’s all randomized.
The crimes and events are interesting and diversified so you won’t be seeing the same crimes over and over again but are they enough? Too much is randomized in TITP. And where you can make choices they all either have negative consequences or are totally underhanded. There is no option for the upright police officer who is committed to his work rather than his paycheck, no matter how it is earned. The officer skill doesn’t always count and there are disasters looming on the horizon. Jack Boyd is one phone call away or a bullet away from quitting the police force.
Review Platform: Windows
- Good voice acting for Jack Boyd
- Detective cases have some barebones potential for puzzle solving.
- Events are diversified and you won’t be seeing the same crimes committed over and over again.
- Presents an extremely corrupt police force. Game forces you to be a dirty cop.
- Most choices have negative consequences. And there are disasters if you choose the right one.
- Too much is randomized.
- There is a lack of control over how your police officers will solve crimes.
- Some aspects of the game or appointments of police officers can be construed as racist.
- Game gets boring by 100 days or more.