This Is The Police 2 will be set in the cold north

this-is-the-police-2

Freeze! Put your hands on the keyboard! That’s it, nice and slow. What? No, I won’t show you my badge. I’m a certified law officer, I’ve played several hours of police management sim This Is The Police. And you know wh– hands on the keyboard please, sir – you know what else? A sequel is coming out. This Is The Police 2 is due for release “later this year”, say the developers. It’s set in a cold, northern border town and puts you in the role of a new sheriff called Lilly Reed. Here’s a trailer setting up some of the characters and, uh, the tone?

Well, that fellow seems intense. Although it may be in keeping with the developer’s description, which says that the sheriff’s underlings are “uncouth men who aren’t used to receiving commands from a young woman”. That sorry old drunk is also set to be an important character, a “mysterious stranger” who turns up in the town of Sharpwood with unknown motives.

Just like the first game, This Is the Police 2 is a mixture of adventure and management genres, and this time it enjoys further unexpected mechanics that will strengthen both the strategic and tactical parts of the game. It won’t be enough just managing the equipment of your policemen and keeping in mind their individual skills. Every challenge requires the player’s direct participation, and the outcomes will depend on every decision you make. Now your subordinates aren’t just some resource; they are living people with their own strengths, weaknesses, fears and prejudices, and you’ll have to reckon with all these things in order to survive.

The first game was iffy (as I wrote about it in this impressions piece). Parts of the neo-noir dialogue had me smiling, the artwork is sharp and clean, and the idea is strong. But much of the day-to-day work of police chief (which included countless scenes of breakfast and getting in the car) was tedious. The story also forced you down a certain path – that of a corrupt cop – which clashed with the clicky management screens suggesting choice and freedom. It also danced around the issues of police brutality, corruption and discrimination in a characteristically videogame way – depicting all of these things as reality while simultaneously making no concrete political observations about any of it.

But it did have its moments. You were always stretched for resources and often had to make decisions – to let art vandals off the hook so you can check out a possible robbery, or to hire out your officers to a company for the evening so they’ll donate some cash to the station. You answer questions in a press conference, and the next day’s newspaper echoes your comments back to you. It’d be good if the sequel can build on those strengths.

Oh, sorry. I was being a policeman, wasn’t I. Right, off you go. Fix your ‘Page down’ key. Bye.

6 Comments

  1. Nosada says:

    O-okay then.

  2. poliovaccine says:

    Yeahhh, the first one had the potential to be a lot more interesting than it was, and while I’d been open to a sequel, cus I could see how some iteration and development could’ve let it to become something really potent, this isn’t quite the sequel I was imagining. I guess I’m just left at a loss for what these folks are actually trying to say about the police or corruption or social disorder or whatever, cus none of it seems to come from a place of personal connection, or indeed any sort of nuanced understanding.

    There are a lot of games like this lately, where a solid art style and maybe a topical idea or two are expected to carry a super linear story with some very thin gameplay, and I feel like they either flop or succeed according entirely to how much wow factor they can generate with their style, and little else. The first This Is The Police was absolutely one of those games, to a tee.

    I remember it as having some truly sophomoric writing – I’m very much a sucker for the slick, Chandleresque neo noir style of dialogue, but it has to be done well, and far fewer folks know how to do that than attempt it. I think the lucky balance between earnest and kitsch that was struck in Max Payne just made a whole generation of devs think it was easy. But This Is The Police just reminded me of a cop movie I might have written when I was 14, when I thought the subject matter was cool and was wholly ignorant of the fact that I had no business writing about it, and why. I don’t remember bits of the neo noir dialogue making me smile so much as cringe, but maybe Brendan’s got a more charitable memory.

    I dunno, I feel sort of guilty being so critical of anyone’s creation, cus as a creative type myself I get how it feels. But then again, not everyone will tell you when you’re walking around with your fly wide open – doesn’t mean they don’t see it.

    The art direction was really cool, and the music was fucking excellent. If they’d only just tried to write something they know, or at least went the route of something more aligned with fiction, it could have been so much stronger. As it is, “sophomoric” is the word for it. The whole game through, I kept wondering why they had wanted to make this game, in particular, because I felt no affinity between the project and its own subject matter.

    Of course, that’s maybe just me, but I went from being bowled over by the art and music to very rapidly being let down by the actual story and dialogue. To me, that just shows where these devs strengths and weaknesses lie, and I would hope they’d see the same, and play more to those strengths. But so far, from this reveal, I don’t know if they have.

    The first game was still interesting enough to me that I’ll probably check this one out as well, but unless it blows the crowds and critics straight out of the water I’ll be waiting for a sale.

  3. Shiloh says:

    Yes, all very interesting, but can I be Frank Reagan from Blue Bloods in it or not, Brendan?

    I’m pretty sure that’s the question most people are asking.

  4. Akula says:

    I don’t want to play a young female giving away orders to expenrienced men either.