Review: This is the Police 2 (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: This is the Police 2 (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

The sheriff’s back in town.
When This is the Police hit the Switch last year, I immediately found myself intrigued. I really enjoyed the gameplay mechanics and was super into the whole manage the police force aspect of the game. It wasn’t perfect, but it offered a unique experience that you couldn’t find elsewhere.  Well, the sequel, This is the Police 2, is here on the Switch offering a lot of what the first title had and then some. This visual novel/simulation has quite a lot more to offer in terms of depth, gameplay and visuals.

As in the first title, players again take on the role of Jack Boyd, former police commissioner of Freeburg who has been ostracized by everyone he ever knew or loved. Playing the first title is not a prerequisite to getting into This is the Police 2. Early on, the game does a good job at filling in the blanks as to why Jack, now under the name of Warren Nash, is in hiding in the small town of Sharpwood. After a rough encounter and misunderstanding with the local police, Nash ends up helping Sharpwood sheriff Lily Reed control the police force and bring rogue cops in line.
There are a lot of gameplay mechanics that are similar to the first title. Again, players will have to manage the police force by sending them out to bust criminals and do some detective work. You will spend most of your time looking over a miniature map of Sharpwood. Throughout the in-game days, various crimes appear on the map. Using the ZL button, you choose a crime and then which officers you want to send. Each officer on the force has a professionalism ranking that equates to how good they are at their job. Each crime has a professionalism requirement that must be met in order to send your units. You will have to efficiently choose the appropriate officers for each crime. As long as you have enough experienced cops, the officers can go out and take care of business.

On top of the professionalism ranking number of each officer, there are also six different attributes for each cop - strength, intelligence, speed, stealth, shooting and negotiation. With every crime that you stop, each officer receives experience points. After earning 50 points, the you are then able to upgrade one skill point for your cop. Having officers with good skills is paramount in stopping crimes. Does your officer have a zero on speed? Well, some dirtbag will be able to outrun him. Have an officer with great negotiation skills? It would be a good idea to send him to tense situations where they might be able to talk a criminal down from doing something crazy. The system adds a level of depth that wasn’t found in the original title.
In an effort to add even more realism to the experience, police officers will get tired throughout the work day. Not only that, but at the beginning of every shift, you have to assign the officers equipment that they will be able to use throughout the day. At the end of each day, you will get literal soda/beer can tabs based on your performance that allow you to add officers to your police force and/or buy equipment. I do like the idea of this new tab system, however, if you find yourself understaffed or are unable to stop enough crimes, you’ll sometimes end up with zero tabs. With you being short staffed early in the game, this will probably happen to you more often than not, making it difficult to get better officers on your squad. That said, Police 2 almost has a bit of a reverse difficulty curve.

A new addition to this title are the tactical missions. In these, you select and control hand picked officers to stop hostage situations, bomb threats and more. There’s a lot of risk here and if you royally screw up, you can leave the missions with a handful of dead officers. You are able to replay the missions immediately if you fail, which is nice, but I found myself getting frustrated during most of these.
Although all of these new additions to the game add a bit more realism and depth, Police 2 can still be frustrating for a myriad of reasons. Officers simply refusing to come to work and other times refusing to work with other officers really got on my nerves. I also ran into some technical glitches along the way. For example, I wasn’t able to use “up” on the d-pad in certain situations and had to revert to the analog stick. Other times when there was lengthy text on a crime description, I wasn’t able to scroll down through the text no matter what button I pressed. These are issues that can easily be fixed in future patches, but, boy, they were a bit annoying.

Visuals in This is the Police 2 are sharp. Cel shading returns for a second go around and this time it’s even better than the original. While most of the story is told through storyboards and voice acting, there are some fully animated impressive looking sequences sprinkled throughout the game. The crime sequences and mini map look surprisingly good, with a fully colored snow covered map that has hints of greens, blues and browns. The voice acting found in the game sounds decent, but again, the voice of Jack Boyd/Warren Nash (portrayed by Jon St. John, the original voice of Duke Nukem) is definitely the best part about it. The writing, particularly on the various crimes throughout town, had a great range from serious to hilarious. These are all definitely the strong points of the title.
This is the Police 2 is an ambitious title that doesn’t quite nail the landing. There are a number of aspects of the game, namely the depth, visuals and writing, that really do make this intriguing. On the other hand, things like the officers refusing to work, the difficulty early on in the game and occasional glitches get annoying pretty quickly. When you’re on a roll, it’s a lot of fun. When you’re stuck in a rut, which you probably will more often than not, you’ll want to throw your controller through the screen.

Final Score: 5.5

[Review code provided by the publisher]

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