This Is the Police is an adventure game with a difference.
There's little of the blockbuster action you see in the movies, but following the footsteps of the soon-to-be-retired chief of police Jack Boyd, you set yourself 180 days to make $500,000.
The game starts with some comic, styled cut-scenes showing the story of Jack being forced to retire. It’s not long before you've got the Mayor, City Hall and various gangs on your radar. This is the Police challenges you to run your police force while also managing relationships with some major characters.
The 180-day time limit might not sound like a lot but within a week you'll have police officers refusing to work, asking for days off because their pet's unwell, or, even worse, dead.
It's easy enough to employ a new officer, but City Hall sets the limits on how many staff you're allowed. Keep them sweet and you'll be able to request a new slot for an officer, detective or even a pay rise, but fail to meet their demands and you'll start to find their restrictions can make life quite difficult.
Another week into Jack's story and you'll find yourself in the middle of a gang war, asked to take sides.
At the start of each day you'll be shown the staff on shift, as well as given warnings of anyone asking for time off. You need to keep an eye on their fatigue and rest them accordingly, but some officers are just lazy and will give any reason to get out of work.
Once the day begins you'll be shown an overhead map of the city. As jobs come through you hold the left trigger and highlight the task, then hit A to select which officers you wish to send. Some jobs are further afield so will tie up the officers for longer, while others might play out differently requiring more backup, or a longer time to sort out beside the standard travel.
Sending your best officers to an attempted robbery might be a great idea, but when an attempted murder comes through just round the corner you're going to wish you'd still got your better officers on hand.
You can also manage the police force by asking energetic staff to come in the following day. Try not to tire them out too much as the crime rate rises in the first few weeks - so do your working hours, meaning more jobs, more dispatches and more trouble.
Soon enough you'll come across investigations and gangs. Sometimes if a murder isn't solved you'll have to pass it on to your detectives to do the leg work and find out what happened, then you piece it together to reveal a suspect. Occasionally it's a simple arrest, but on other occasions the subject has numerous possible locations and you'll have to split your best officers and support to try to ensure an arrest.
On top of this you'll find yourself drawn into a gang war with the help of your deputy who's got himself in a little trouble. By this point in the game you’ll have made plenty of decisions, and this will depend on how things play out, but you're going to need your wits about you if you've got any chance of knowing who you can trust, or how much money you can make from them.
This Is the Police is an impressive mix of strategy and interactive media. The graphics aren't jaw-dropping and the actual gameplay is simplistic but easy to get to grips with. The challenge is in the story and details, all of which are made clear and interesting thanks to a wide range of voice acting.
The game takes itself a little too seriously at times, but there's enough humour included. One hundred and eighty days won't initially sound like much, but after a few hours and less than two weeks on the job you'll realise it's a long stretch. Depending on your choices, that $500,000 target doesn't seem too difficult to reach as long as you can keep the Mayor sweet.
It’s a fantastic package, which is only let down slightly from its graphical approach, but with a solid story, a deep, immersive world and well done voice acting, there's certainly plenty to recommend
This is the Police is a deep, immersive and fun game that's a challenging as it is thought provoking, there's no blockbuster action, but there's plenty of decisions to be made, and as chief of the Police, it's your job to do so (for 180 days)
Overall it's a unique take on the strategy management genre with solid voice acting surrounding an impressive story.
- Gameplay: 8/10.
- Graphics: 7/10.
- Sound: 8/10.
- Story: 8/10.
- Value: 8/10.
- Overall: 8.2/10