This is the Police 2 review
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This is the Police 2 review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 2019
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW
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There’s so much going on in This is the Police 2, and it’s hard to understand or enjoy any of it.

Developer: HandyGames

Price: $6.99
Version: 1.0.10
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starhalfstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

For the first hour or two of playing This is the Police 2, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of game it was going to be. I played a tutorial for a turn-based strategy game, then was treated to some lengthy cutscenes with dialogue choices, and then I was dumped into a management sim. It was all very confusing and not really well explained, and things didn’t really get better from there. Although This is the Police 2 ambitiously jams all kinds of systems into one game, it bungles the execution on almost all of them constantly.

XCOPS

The easiest game to compare This is the Police 2 to is probably XCOM: Enemy Within. At its core, it’s a turn-based strategy game, but there’s narrative and management elements layered on top. You have a team of cops, you dispatch them out to address certain calls, and some of those calls are highly dangerous situations where you actually control your troopers on the ground in turn-based combat to subdue or kill criminals.

For more minor criminal incidents, you simply play out scenes using a sort of stat-based choose-your-own adventure system, where you do things like send out your quickest cops to chase down robbers on the run, or send in a negotiator to talk down disgruntled citizens. You have to be strategic while managing all this, though, since it takes time for your cops to go out to sites and return. If you aren’t careful, you may get a call in and no cops are currently available to chase it down.

Piece it together

In between all of this management and strategy, This is the Police 2 doles out an awful lot of story, though not in the most elegant way. Most of the narrative plays out through still images and extremely verbose voice acting. Entire scenes that convey very little bits of actual information can take several minutes of characters repeating themselves or explaining things way more than necessary.

What’s particularly odd about all of this is that it doesn’t feel like a mistake. This is the Police 2 seems to relish in its strange delivery and pacing. It almost feels like the developers are trying to channel Tarantino dialogue or something, but it doesn’t work. The delivery is off, and it leads to scenes that spiral out of control while you stare at still images.

Incompetent policing

Even if you don’t give a hoot about the story in This is the Police 2, the rest of the game leaves a lot to be desired. Some of this has to do with issues specific to the iOS version, but there are larger underlying problems here as well.

On the technical end, there are certain points in This is the Police 2 where random events happen, but it’s hard to know exactly what they are or what they do because the game never displays text that should presumably pop up to explain what happened. It’s also worth noting that This is the Police 2’s checkpointing system is not very friendly for on-the-go play. You only save progress between “days” of dispatching police, which can take upwards of 30 minutes to complete. If one of those days features a tactics mission, it takes even longer. In order to prevent losing progress, you have to complete days in one sitting or else you'll have to replay the whole thing.

It’s possible to play This is the Police 2 despite these problems, but that won’t necessarily make it enjoyable. For all the separate layers this game, each feels like it isn’t as fleshed out as it should be. The management layer is somehow both shallow and underexplained, and tactics missions don’t convey enough information to allow you to make sound decisions, that is unless you resort to trial-and-error and restart them several times (and then there’s the dialogue stuff I already mentioned).

The bottom line

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in This is the Police 2, but it feels a lot like quantity over quality. Nothing feels fully baked. It may be an impressive-looking premium port, but you’re probably better off skipping This is the Police 2.

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