Sometimes it isn't easy doing the right thing.
This Is the Police, developed by Weappy Studio, is a game in which you tackle an interesting premise in city corruption. As a police chief, you’ll tackle some pretty heavy issues while managing your police squad and making sure your unit is a well oiled machine as you head into a certain deadline that’s crucial to the plot. The way political issues are tackled is mixed, but overall the game is a pretty solid title in the management system genre.
The game casts you as Jack Boyd, a cynical police chief in a town called Freeburg. Set in the late eighties, Freeburg is a community rife with crime and corruption. Your goal is simple: try and make $500,000 in Boyd’s last six months on the job. As police chief, you’ll control a group of officers, investigators, and other personnel and assign various crime cases committed in the city. The overarcing plot has Boyd, in his last days as police chief, go from someone who played by the rules to diving in head first into Freeburg’s underbelly, trying to find a way to escape before he becomes another casualty.
Gameplay wise, it’s very much a management simulation game. There will also be strategic moments where you have to be aware of who is affiliated with who politically -- much like in today’s times, there’s a plot point in the game where Freeburg’s finest are tasked with having to choose ideological sides as part of the overall story, and you have to make sure of which side people are on in order to work together and keep cohesion high. I liked the gameplay, but towards the later parts of the game it got kind of mundane and a bit repetitive solving the same crimes over and over.
The most interesting part of the game is figuring out how to make the money to achieve the game’s end goal. As mentioned, Freeburg is a city rife with corruption: the mayor is entrenched in corruption, the mafia has huge sway in how the city is ran and the high amount of crime is just a way of life ordinary citizens have have normalized. Trying to keep all sides happy is the core part of the strategy behind the game, which it handles well.
I went into the game with every intention of being the “good cop”, but it doesn’t really work out that way. There’s a grey area to it all - if you want to get the $500,000, you have to make both the city and the mafia happy, all while making sure crimes are solved or else people will start to get angry. You’ll also tackle issues that are still relevant in today's society, some heavily political in nature. Many times, you’ll be forced to make a decision that’ll either be right on a moral level or wrong in the eyes of those who want to keep order, but the consequences in making those decisions are limited to firing one cop if you don’t want to do anything extremely dirty. I wished there were bigger consequences on the line, or at least try and delve deeper into those issues, but the game only keeps you and those issues in the shallow end.
Presentation wise, the game uses a lot of grey and muted polygonal models, which is a fantastic presentation for a story where hope is trashed and cynicism is the norm. The game’s soundtrack is pretty awesome, consisting of a lot of cool jazz compositions and other tunes that feeds the game’s overall atmosphere pretty well.
This Is the Police is a pretty interesting management simulator with an engaging plot and tackles issues that feel all too relevant in today’s society, despite it taking place thirty years ago. It gets kind of repetitive at times and the issues brought up don’t go that deep, but I still found it to be a competent management simulator with a unique aesthetic and gripping plot.