This is the Police is one of the more interesting experiences playing a game one might have. Upon starting up the game, players should instantaneously feel like they’ve entered the video game version of the film Goodfellas. The opening monologue by the main character, Jack Boyd, is strangely gripping. The monologue goes on for a few minutes but never becomes dull. It is a nearly flawless setup for the environment and tone of the game.
The story of This is the Police focuses on Jack Boyd. Who is a soon to be retired police chief of the city Freeburg. The corrupt mayor of the city requires Jack to make $500,000 before his retirement in 180 days. This may seem to be a simple task. However, many obstacles lay ahead of Boyd. Players will be presented with several different options of obtaining this money. Cards that have the profile of different staff members in the department are shown to players and they’ll have to choose which ones they see best fit to handle the situation. You can choose to hire, fire or promote officers within your staff. Sending out officers to get the job done simply would work, or, Boyd can conspire with that mafia.
The imagery looks like that of a graphic novel which helps with the environment exponentially. Each scene sets up different panels with Boyd and other characters interacting with each other. The voice acting is also well done. All the characters, despite just being pictures, spring to life due to the voices. The passion and emotion from all the characters can be felt seconds into the game. No character feels wasted or unnecessary. On a technical level, This is the Police is almost perfectly crafted, with nothing feeling off or out of place.
The issues with the game occur within the actual gameplay. This is the Police is has little to no excitement while having actual gameplay. The game is set up by Boyd deciding which officers on his roster should come into their shift and take the various calls. The extent of the gameplay comes from the player having to make these decisions. The player sees an overhead view of the city with spots popping up showing the locations of the crimes taking place. Once the player decides to dispatch an officer, they’ll see a small police car driving to that location. This provides an aesthetically pleasing experience doesn’t gain much from an entertainment standpoint. While there is quite a bit of critical thinking that goes into the gameplay, it isn’t very captivating. The game feels very much like an interactive graphic novel. Most of the action is shown to the player with them having nearly no opportunities to take part in those instances themselves.
The first five minutes of This is the Police will no doubt hook players into the world they’re about to step foot in. Unfortunately, the only way to progress through the story is to grind through the gameplay, which at times can slow the game to a screeching halt. This is upsetting due to the game’s fantastic storytelling. There will be people who will pass through the gameplay with ease and find enjoyment in it. However, in my case, it provided me with a negative experience. This is the Police is by no means a bad game, it just fails to hold up after the player starts the gaming sections. There will certainly be those who enjoy the gameplay and find it thought provoking, however, if a player wants something more involved, they might be disappointed.