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This is the Police 2 Review: An Overly Ambitious Mess

This is the Police 2 is an odd and ambitious beast of a game. A sequel to the 2016 original This is the Police, the new game from developer Weappy Studio tries to be a lot of things at once. Weappy has thrown a verifiable smorgasbord of genres at the proverbial wall to try make something stick. It doesn't work. This is the Police 2 is part office simulator, part visual novel and part strategy game. This schizophrenic approach could be exciting but instead it's just vaguely disappointing.

This is the Police 2 is coming to consoles after its original release on PC in summer of 2018. The console port is the one thing that can be called great as Weappy Studio and the game's publisher THQ Nordic have translated the mechanics and controls perfectly for a console controller. It still feels like a PC game but it's not all that noticeable. Unfortunately while This is the Police 2 has some standout moments its mostly a mediocre mess.

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This the Police 2 follows two primary characters. They're Lily Reed, the new sheriff of the town of Sharpwood and Jack Boyd, Lily's unconventional new hire. Throughout a roughly 20 hour campaign it is the game's setting of Sharpwood and the frosty relationship between the two leads that draws the player forward. This is the Police 2's story isn't revolutionary. There's some very obvious inspirations from Fargo, both TV show and movie, and Sharpwood is the most cliched corrupt cop town ever. Against the odds though This is Police 2's tale is compelling with its cell-shaded art style and mix of quirky sense of humor with a dark noir sensibility.

Everything else about This is the Police 2 is a very mixed bag. Like the first, This is the Police is primarily an office simulator. Cast in the role of Jack Boyd the player is responsible for managing all the police officers in the Sharpwood department. This means deciding who will be on shift for a certain day, what weapons and tools those cops will equip, which calls they'll answer and most importantly how they'll respond to the various criminal scenarios. The game is Sim City if there was just a very narrow focus on law and order.

This is the Police 2 starts off on a very strong footing as simulation experience. It's not pulse-pounding action but there is some fun to be had in micromanaging the cops under your command. For example, one officer will refuse to go on a call about armed robbery if their partner is a female because they get enough of "crazy women" at home. Another cop won't work two days in a row. The scenarios are similarly inventive with calls coming in about homeless men defecating on cars to an attempted occult sacrifice.

Sadly the basic gameplay loop of This is the Police 2 grows very tired, very quickly. The crimes might change over time but the responses don't differ much at all. Whether it's noise disturbance or vandalism, it's pretty easy to order a strong cop (because the officers do have stats) to restrain the culprit and be done. What initially seems exciting and expansive is just a lot of staring at the isometric map of Sharpwood and reading text. Even for the slower pace of the simulator genre This is the Police 2 is boring and repetitive too often.

This the Police 2 tries to spice things up by adding in investigations of bigger crimes and/or interrogations but it doesn't quite work. Investigations sound like a great idea. It's initially amusing to dedicate man hours to decide who stole a family's VCR but there's not a lot of brain work involved, on the players behalf, to solve a crime. Investigations require putting "clues," which are really just storyboard of the crime, in a specific order to solve it. The hardest thing about investigations is the time investment. They're not challenging puzzles but they're presented that way.

The slightly more interesting aspect, and a new addition for This is the Police 2, is that occasionally the game switches over to a turn-based strategy game. Every so often, This is the Police 2 will get hands on with the crimes that the officers are set out to uncover and the game turns into XCOM. The cops can be ordered to hid behind cover, use their skills to kill or subdue the criminals and otherwise function as a well oiled strategic machine. Outside of the story, these are This is the Police 2's best moments. It's not fast but it's still fun and rewarding. It's also the only time that officer's skills, which are leveled up by responding to crimes, seem to matter. A cop with a great shooting or stealth rating can turn the tide of an encounter for the better.

Sadly these turn-based bouts don't happen nearly enough. Like everything in This is the Police 2 they're just one small fraction of a much more disjointed whole. If This is the Police 2 had just focused in on the turn-based battles it might've been a much for complete product. The same argument can be applied to the visual novel-esque story or the office simulator sections. This is the Police 2's biggest sin is a lack of cohesion. It's disorienting to jump from one aspect of This is the Police 2 to another because it's all so different to play and the quality dips and rises.

This is the Police doesn't lack for purpose but it simply tried too hard. At times the greatness of what could've been does shine through so it's not a complete failure. Yet This is the Police 2 doesn't serve nearly enough of its many masters to be recommended to anyone but the most hardcore fans of the original game and/or the simulation genre.

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This is the Police 2 will be available September 25 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch for $29.99. Screen Rant was provided a Nintendo Switch copy for review.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
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