This is the Police 2 Review (PC)
This is the Police 2 is, unsurprisingly, a sequel to the 2016 game by Weappy Studio and published by THQ Nordic. While it follows on and references the story of the original, it’s not crucial to have played the first, as I had not, to gain a perspective of what is going on.
This is the Police 2 is, for lack of a more defined genre, a strategy/management simulation game. You take control of a small police force in what can only be described as a bat-shit crazy, backwater town.
The core of the game plays out on a map of the town. Incidents will pop up, and you need to send officers in response. The balancing act comes from the professionalism. Each officer has a professionalism rating, along with some skills. And each situation will also have a minimum professionalism requirement for you to respond with. Successfully dealing with a situation will improve the rating of the attending officers. So you end up trying to balance sending a high enough rated team, while also trying to improve your lower ranked officers. All this without over-stretching in case another call comes in while this team is out!
When officers arrive at calls you have multiple ways of resolving the situation. This is where the skills and equipment of your officers come into effect. A dead criminal is better than an escaped one, and more than once I was left with the best option being to stick the bad guy with the big knife.
On top of these tasks you also have cops off investigating. There are a few cases in the game that you need to solve by uncovering clues, and then frames for the suspects. Once you have enough frames you can make an arrest and send them off to court.
One of these early investigations leads you into the gangs within This is the Police 2. Capture the low-level grunts and you can interrogate, or torture, the truth out of them to work you way up to the gang leaders. One annoyance I had with the gang system is that if you mess up one of the lower level guys then the whole case collapses. There is also the option to “send to court”. But it’s not clear if this sends just the guy you click on, or everyone you’ve caught so far, and what the gang outcome is in this situation.
The final core piece of gameplay mechanic in This is the Police 2 is the high priority missions. These are bigger tasks such as bomb threats or hostage situations, or when you go to capture a gang leader.
When you respond to these missions, they play out in an XCOM style turn based strategy section. You use the equipment and perks of your officers to either arrest or kill all the offenders. Or have to complete some other objective like defuse a bomb in so many turns.
While all these gameplay mechanics fit perfectly together and make This is the Police 2 a great game, that’s not all there is to it. As you may have picked up on, the Police are not exactly the cleanest. There is a huge underlying, dark story built into the campaign. And a bunch of smaller character stories with all your employees. The main story sections are drawn out in a beautiful style that reminds me of Another World. Hand drawn, minimal colour palette comic strip cells, with characters that don’t really show facial features most of the time. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly was to mine.
That said, the story sections are really drawn out. In fact, the first hour of the game only has a few moments of gameplay interspersed with story. At several points the story consists of some dialogue that goes on and on needlessly. Any normal person would have walked away from the conversation. But the overall story arc is a good one, with some nice twists in there. The final twist had me so by surprise that I almost messed up the final mission.
And that’s the key thing about This is the Police 2. I finished the game. As I said on the podcast there are few games that I actually finish these days. But like a good book, I couldn’t put This is the Police 2 down. And after completing the game, I immediately started a new one as I realised I had missed a fair few parts, especially around the gangs. The only downside to replaying is that you know how to resolve all the investigations.
I didn’t anticipate liking This is the Police 2. Certainly not as much as I ended up liking it. If you like management type games with great story, and XCOM Turn Based Strategy mechanics, then I cannot recommend This is the Police 2 enough.
9 criminals arrested out of 10. We stabbed the last one with the Big Knife