Last month, I wrote about Weappy Studio’s “This Is the Police.” Overall, that game was nothing terribly special, but was playable, garnishing a grade of a C-.
A C- is fairly ho-hum. Did it’s sequel perform any better?
It did, by a little bit. Let’s have a look at it, starting with its positives:
New tactical mission gameplay is solid and realistic
The biggest change from the last game stems from within tactical missions, which are turn based, open world conflicts between the player’s police and a group of criminals. Sometimes, the object is to stealthily take the enemies down. Other times, guns are blazing from turn one, and taking them dead or alive is the name of the game. What’s more, neither officers or criminals have HP bars and can easily die or suffer serious wounds from making mistakes. That much gives the game a realistic, immersive feel and adds much more weight to each decision the player makes.
Definitely the biggest change between the two games, and a wholly positive one at that.
There’s a satisfying ending to this game
In this game’s predecessor, the ending was horrific. By itself, it was enough to drag the quality of the entire game down by a lot. This time, main protagonist Jack Boyd does in fact live happily ever after. He gets there on a nifty, albeit confusing, double crossing of Troy Henderson and his mafia gang as he kills them all after they lead an attack on the Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, the story ends on a cliffhanger, with Jack making contact with his former secretary Emma, asking her to meet up with him. It ends off with him saying, in a relatively smug and confident tone “We need you Emma, we’re counting on you.” Before the game ends. This would seem to possibly lead right into a third game within the series, and in a pretty cool way. Definitely better than the first game.
Pacing of the game is much better
In the first game, things could get relatively stale with somewhat one dimensional gameplay when the player wasn’t right in the middle of action moments. Here, however, rather than drop three or four bombshells of content on the player at once, climactic moments are overall slightly less impactful but spread further throughout the game and constantly give the player something to do.
Responding to crime is also much more engaging, as it isn’t enough to just send a couple of experienced cops to deal with a situation and end it at that — the player must then decide what they’re going to do after they’ve reported what’s going on at the scene. Choices must be made wisely, as getting it wrong can, at best, cause the criminal to escape scot free and, at worst, lead to the death of civilians and/or police officers. Again, the added weight of player decision making gives it more depth and immersive value, which is undoubtedly a plus.
Unfortunately, this game was definitely not perfect. Here’s what went wrong:
Every character in the game, even Jack to an extent, is still poorly written
In the first game, Jack was a very well written character and was left off of this criticism whilst the supporting cast of characters was not. However, the writing for him here was definitely worse than the first game. He isn’t that relatable, intriguingly flawed, decently developed character anymore. Here, he’s just a miserly, old, abrasive asshole. He is such a massive ass to Sheriff Lily Reed that he realistically should never have been in an important position within her department.
What’s more, he was still the best written character in the game, which is… bad. The aforementioned Lily was a disgrace. At first, she has potential — she’s the newly appointed Sheriff who is habitually disrespected by her male subordinates, which looks to have an appreciable “coming of age” trope where she progressively earns their respect throughout the game, molds herself into a commendable leader, and is a major part of the end of the game. However, she just ends up getting killed, off camera, right before the final conflict of the game and discarded. Her character development is also nonexistent, as she is just totally overshadowed by Jack and never really grows much of a backbone, or so to speak. She had potential, but she was never given the narrative attention she deserved.
Lana Sherman was also a major disgrace of one of the game’s main characters. She, too, seems to have potential as well. She’s the second main character from the first game, after Jack, to get notable screen time. As the prosecutor, her fervent goal is to try and catch Jack and bring him to justice. Apparently, she decided to take her investigation to off the book, and manages to find him in Sharpwood. Instead of trying to get him arrested then and there, she forcefully takes up residence in his house for no reason, berating him 24/7. Eventually, she too gets killed off camera, as Jack returns home inebriated one day, seems to decide he’s had enough of her and just shoots her with a revolver.
Character writing was seriously poor in this game, and it made it difficult to appreciate the story at hand.
The Necktie Assault tactical mission
While, on paper, an XCOM-like mission seems cool, this game butchered this particular tactical mission. The difficulty is relatively artificial. The game never tells the player going in that the operation is meant to be handled stealthily, and it certainly never warned them that breaking stealth even once would result in instant failure. It is super easy to inadvertently, or unknowingly and intentionally, break stealth because it appears optimal at some points. After all, one of the objectives of the mission is to kill the leader of the Necktie gang, and another of the missions is to cause a massive explosion — those aren’t exactly stealthy by nature.
To put it simply, adding checkpoints to this mission would’ve been a good idea. Due to how long the mission is, and how one single mistake causes instant failure, the mission can be very irritating to have to play over again after an hour long trek because one single mishap was made.
This one is definitely a nit-picky criticism, because in truth, this mission was not all that bad overall.
But it’s a fairly annoying mishap that could be very easily fixed.
And that’s about it for mistakes.
Overall, this game deserves a solid B for a grade. It’s not the greatest tactical game ever, or anywhere close, but it’s a decently fun way to kill time. It’s also relatively cheap, at only $30 on console and PC and $7.99 on mobile.