Yeah a cop.
Last year’s Police Force simulator put me off that completely, the real question is if the sequel can do any better?
SquareGo had me review it. Enjoy…
It’s been a scant 10 months since the release of the game Police Force, the simulation dedicated to giving players a taste of the life of a hard working pair of coppers on the beat. Surprisingly, considering the original game’s more or less complete critical panning, there is a sequel out in shops now.
Promising over “a dozen new features” you could be forgiven for allowing the tiniest sliver of hope to warm your heart that this might be a decent release. The original title might have been a boring painful experience, but it did at least have a workable premise from which a far greater game could have been crafted. Does it deliver? Is this the cop-sim that can FINALLY wrestle the crown from the aged but serene hands of Police Quest 4? Is it ruddy hell.
From the moment Police Force 2 graces the disc drive of your humble PC, you’ll feel your heart begin to sink along with any hope you have of enjoying this game. The opening pre-rendered sequence is nigh-on identical to that of the original, even down to the title, which hasn’t been updated to include the ’2′. The menu systems are still the same style of boring plain blue symbols and the loading times drag as perceptibly as they ever did before.
That’s not to say that there are no improvements, the ‘dozen’ changes to the game do make a notable impact on the way it runs. To begin with the opening of every 30 minute ‘shift’ begins inside the police station, a lovingly rendered building with lots of unnecessary but welcome detail. It’s also the place where our law enforcing duo can head to the Forensic Laboratory and check DNA, fingerprints, fibres and other incriminating evidence taken from crime scenes.
“HOLD ON” I hear you cry! “Crime scenes investigation? Forensic Labs? you get to do that?” Well no. Of course you don’t actually get to DO THAT, that might have been fun! No, no, all it means is that in the middle of various jobs, you are required to drive back to the police station and into the lab, then a button click later, you have to head back out to find the person in question. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The game, like the first, works on a principle of a 30 minute shift, during which you have a main task and maybe 10 extra jobs, called in randomly, to complete. The extra jobs are optional but add points leading to commendations, medals and hopefully promotion. The main job can vary from the horridly vague, such as find illegally parked cars, to finding a specific criminal wandering the streets. Failure to complete it in the time leads to a poor score.
This is where it all starts to falls apart horribly in a game-breaking way. Say you’re ordered to go plainclothes and photograph 3 drug dealers, it’s a bit daft if every 5 minutes you are called away to survey a crime scene, call a tow truck for a crashed car, or stop a robbery. More troublesome is that every job simply involves finding the location, getting out, clicking one of various tools on a person, or vehicle, then calling a transport, ambulance or tow-truck to the scene.That’s when you aren’t heading back to the lab first.
Compounding the horror, you’ll have to use the wholly unclear map navigation system to find an unspecified target, who will only be clearly identified when they run or drive away. Due to the ugly animation and the manic, often near-psychotic driver AI, it’s rarely obvious if you are seeing a fleeing criminal, or if it’s just the game having a fit. Add to this, the cumbersome, unreactionary controls, the graphics barely improved since the original, the lack of any translation on ingame signage combined with the incongruous London accents on the two cops and the fact that you still have to play for a 30 minute shift EVERY TIME you play and it’s just not even worth considering playing this game.
One day there may be a decent procedural Police simulator, but this isnt it. This isn’t even close, I’d have more respect for this game if they cut out most of the game and made it a Traffic Warden simulator. Avoid, avoid, by all the Gods, AVOID!