Woop woop! That’s the sound of This Is The Police 2. It’s rolling in here with a megaphone and a page from an old Argos catalogue held up like it’s a warrant. Damn pigs. Looks like they’re here to show off another trailer. What is it this time? Another look at the antagonistic and corrupt law enforcement officers, I’ll bet. No, wait. It’s a deeper demonstration of their police management sim, and its new dangerous and tactical turn-based missions.
It looks more complex than the first This Is The Police, whose noir story was let down by samey car dispatching and long, dragging days of pop-up busting. There’s more to do in the sequel, it appears, including getting into gunfights, at which point you’ll get “direct control” over your officers.
In such situations, the game will switch to a new turn-based combat mode system. Gather a team of your finest police officers (or use your drunk and stupid bums – you don’t always have the luxury of being choosy!). Take up advantageous positions and don’t forget: the police are supposed to arrest suspects, not kill them. You’ll have to carefully study the terrain, constantly adapt your plans, stealthily approach your suspects and use non-lethal weapons and equipment… Sometimes gunfights are almost impossible to avoid, but be careful: This Is the Police 2 doesn’t have hit points. A single bullet can cost a cop their life.
It seems XCOM-flavoured, with cemetery headstones providing cover and batons allowing cops to stun their targets with a guaranteed hit. You can also shoot your target in specific body parts. Hitting a perp in the hand will make them incapable of firing their own gun, but they’ll still try to run away. There are special abilities, like one called “Volley” which lets a police officer fire their pistol three times in a row at the expense of some accuracy. Flashbangs (or tear gas grenades?) look like they’ll affect a handful of tiles on the grid. You can also equip your deputies with armour and tasers, or rely on their skills as quiet lockpickers, loud door busters or thoughtful trap disarmers.
These new features sound promising. My previous outing as a city’s Chief of Police was lacking in stuff to do. So adding an extra layer of tactics cream to this copcake seems like some tasty game baking to me. But the bigger problem lies with decision-making and storytelling. This Is The Police was often like a visual novel, with some paths leading to a strict ‘game over’, which felt restrictive and at odds with its otherwise choice-filled storytelling. How they’ll avoid repeating that mistake in the sequel is more interesting to me than ordering my police squad into cover. That said, I won’t say no to Fargo-meets-XCOM.
It’s due for release “later this year”.