Police dramas have always been popular in pop culture. Shows like NYPD dug into the nitty gritty of the drama and life that a cop lives, which has spawned many other shows and movies based on this subject matter. This is the Police is a game that plays out a lot like these shows, and after being out on a variety of platforms has found a home on the Nintendo Switch.
This is the Police has an interesting narrative that’s pretty mature in subject matter and not for a younger audience. You assume the role of Jack Boyd, a police chief who is being forced to retire in 180 days due to a corrupt mayor kicking him out. Jack has one goal: raise $500,000 before he is given the boot, by any means necessary. The game starts out in a strip club with heavy profanity, and sets the tone for the rest of this gritty game.
Each day starts out and Boyd has a team of cops at his disposal. The game is a micro-management game: you assign different cops, detectives, and even SWAT teams. As crimes happen in the city, you are given the task of assigning cops to these crimes. Cops have different ratings, with some being able to handle situations better than others. A high rating cop may be able to handle a job solo that would require 3 or 4 lower rated cops, and management of your resources is necessary. You are constantly sending cops out to crimes, so having some reserves is a must.
After the cop hits the crime scene, they will either succeed in getting the perp or fail. Many variables can happen as well: civilians can be killed, cops can be killed, etc. All of these have a bearing on the game and your crew as well, so it keeps you on your toes.
The gameplay does change up once in a while with detective scenes. Sending out a detective will have you piece together what occurred in a situation to get to the bottom of the problem. It’s a nice gameplay diversion that, while doesn’t happen too often, is enjoyable.
As with any simulation game you have to deal with turnover as well. Different political events happen in real time in the game which can impact how you manage your crew. For instance, a group of racists started targeting African-American cops, thus leading to a slight change in how I would manage my officers to ensure no one got killed. Work a cop too hard and they will quit, and of course, you can always fire an officer. Be careful though, if you don’t have a good reason, it can come back and bite you.
Everything in theory sounds pretty interesting, and for the first few hours it is. The main issue I had with This is the Police is the game just starts to drag on later in the game. You just start going through the motions with the game, and there isn’t a whole lot to switch things up in the gameplay department. The narrative of the story is really what keeps things going, but at times I almost just wanted to see how things played out instead of having to go through the motions of a police work day.
Graphically the game is pretty minimal, but it gets the job done. The game plays out in a top down/isometric view of the fictional city of Freeburg, and there isn’t a whole lot to look at. You can see where a crime is happening, and a red line goes across showing the cops path. The audio department is rather strong however, with excellent voice acting and a good soundtrack of Jazz music that sounds straight out of a cop drama.
This is the Police isn’t a bad game, but it feels like the game could have been much more interesting with a little more variety in the actual gameplay. Managing your cops can be fun, and some interesting things happen throughout the course of the game, but a little more variety to keep things fresh throughout would have went a long way with the game. As it stands This is the Police is a decent game that, for many, will overstay its welcome.