Game Reviews

The Most Niche Game Of All Time? | “Police Simulator: Patrol Officers” (2021) Review

In June of 2021, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers released. As things are, there are a litany of simulation games on the digital store shelves now, so what’s so special about this one? Let’s assess its pros and cons as always to find out, starting with the former.

It does what it says on the label

This is a police simulator after all, so it unsurprisingly features the player playing as their choice of a police officer. They’ll venture out into the open world and, well, police the neighborhood they’re assigned to. Tasks will be mundane, as the player will be prompted to inspect parking meters next to parked cars, use a radar gun to catch speeders, look out for littering and jaywalking, but nothing too far beyond that. The most exciting things will get is chasing down someone with a stun gun as they try to flee, or tending to a car accident. The game will either reward the player for “justified” actions or penalize them for “unjustified” actions depending on how accurately the player has interpreted the law. Sure, you can arrest, fine or even outright shoot and kill anyone you want at anytime, but the idea is to enforce the law as closely as possible.

The world is what the player makes of it

There is a lot of creative freedom at the player’s disposal. They can choose to fine or let people off with verbal warnings for minor infractions. The game will ultimately allow the player to go even further though. As previously mentioned, you can theoretically do just about anything you want. You can arrest someone for wearing an ugly shirt, have any car you want towed for any reason and use your equipment however you want, which could make this game appealing for brief bursts of time if you enjoy the idea of power-tripping. The player can opt to patrol any part of the area they’ve been assigned to, which could mean they either miss crime in an area they simply weren’t in, or be in the right time and place to catch an otherwise sneaky perpetrator. All in all, the game has elements of sandbox to it, enough to give it solid replayability.

Difficulty levels are well handled

Are you an aspiring police officer and want to test your hopefully well trained knowledge in the law? Then the game’s harder difficulties are probably up your alley. But if you’re very fresh and new as far as this stuff goes, or perhaps you’re simply more interested in a casual experience, easier difficulties are well put together. As someone who tried this game more for the latter, I have found it very interesting learning some fun facts or new regulations I didn’t personally know about the law. When the game punishes you very lightly on an easier difficulty, it can be less annoying learning these things, which adds a good deal to the game.

Now let’s examine what the game doesn’t do so well

The game is absurdly niche

If you aren’t interested in the law, politics or learning about either, this game will be slightly more entertaining than watching paint dry. There are no fantasy, immersion breaking elements to core gameplay whatsoever. When the game tells the player they’re simulating the life of a police officer, it doesn’t mean high speed chases, shootouts, investigations and more, they quite literally mean the typical, less exciting day to day life of a police officer. If walking down sidewalks hawkeying parking meters and pedestrians crossing the street doesn’t sound like your idea of a fun time, this game simply won’t be for you.

The game is quite buggy

If you’ve detained someone for any reason and you or the civilian involved get walked into by another civilian, that civilian will just push one of you forward and out of the way until it’s shoved you to the side, which will look very weird. Often, when characters are walking and happen upon the front or back of a car, they’ll be clipped into standing on top of the car completely for a few seconds before returning to the ground. Finally, when a car accident happens and you speak to any of the victims who may be writhing in pain on the ground, their models will often stand up completely in the blink of an eye before returning to their fetal position in similar fashion when not being talked to anymore.

Bugs have unfortunately become commonplace in modern gaming. But this game came out roughly a year and a half ago, so any point in time for patience and leniency is gone. While they don’t seriously impact gameplay most of the time, they can be annoying if an immersive experience is what you’re looking for.

Overall, I’d have to give this game a C. At the end of the day, you will not like this game if you aren’t interested in law enforcement to at least some extent. Even then, quirky mechanical missteps can still make it somewhat irritating to enjoy at times. It does set out to achieve what it aspired to achieve, though, so it doesn’t deserve any less of a grade. It’s just, again, really, really niche which will greatly impact the average player’s ability to enjoy it.

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