Cubed3 Mobile - Nintendo updates and news
News Forum Reviews Login

Review: This is the Police 2 (PC)By Renan At 30.07.2018 22:49

« Return to News Listings


Although This is the Police 2 opens with all its problems front and centre, it at least holds the promise of an interesting premise in front of the player. Following the deaths of three officers on a sting operation, newly appointed sheriff, Lilly Reed, finds herself struggling to control her department as the men around her take every opportunity to belittle, disrespect, and demean her.

It's rare for a videogame to tackle sexism in such a raw, real way, but it's refreshing and clearly intent on making a point about the way women are treated in the workplace, especially with regards to the police force. Lilly's arc couldn't be more telegraphed. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for Lilly to be phased out so that former protagonist, Jack Boyd, can take centre stage.

This is especially disappointing as the opening comes off quite deceptive in retrospect. From Sharpwood's snowy, Fargo-inspired, aesthetic, to the turn-based gameplay, This is the Police 2 sets itself up as a radical departure from the first outing, even featuring a female lead facing unique problems a character like Jack Boyd couldn't face before, only to tear the rug out from the under the player's feet and transition into a traditional sequel following Boyd.

For as bitterly as Boyd's arc ended, it did indeed come to an end. There is arguably no story left to be told with him as the lead, so a rather fresh-faced character like Lilly makes for a far more interesting - and appropriate - main character. To so clearly set her up as the protagonist only to strip that role away from her comes across especially tone deaf in the face of all the sexism she faces in the game's first half hour. That said, this doesn't mean the narrative can't be good with Boyd in the lead. After all, the first game broke him down quite a bit, so it's not as if there isn't an arc to explore here. Unfortunately, the plot is held back by a truly misguided script.

In what reads like the scriptwriter having watched one too many Quentin Tarantino films, This is the Police 2's dialogue tries to emulate the drawn out, almost water cooler-style of speech found in Tarantino's films. Unfortunately, TitP2 fails to understand why Tarantino writes the way he does. Drawn out dialogue in a film like Reservoir Dogs is used to build tension, humanise the cast, and establish relationships. This is a style of writing that isn't inherently cinematic and can translate into a videogame format, but it doesn't land here. Characters talk at length about nothing substantial for minutes at a time; no scene shows this problem better than the very first.

Before Lilly is even introduced, Jack Boyd finds himself locked in a conversation with a courier who meanders incessantly about how he was late. The only meaningful piece of information to come out of this scene is that Jack is in the game and that the murders the player played through during the tutorial have, logically, affected the state of Sharpwood. The problem isn't that the courier exposits more information than he needs to, it's that he exposits for longer than he needs to. Scenes drag out to the point of tedium, and this is a recurring thread with just about every major cut-scene. Even Lilly's introduction, which clearly exists to show the audience the sexism she deals with, lasts long enough to become utterly insufferable.

As a small town, Sharpwood makes a great setting where the characters are already familiar with one another, but the dialogue simply makes the residents of the town comes off aggressively unlikeable. Boyd and Lilly stand out as the most likeable characters as they are the ones who end up speaking the least. The script, as is, is simply too long-winded and in desperate need of a serious edit. At the very least, it should have strived to find its own voice rather than copying that of Tarantino's, a feat it tremendously failed at anyway.

The biggest issue with how the story is written is that, at its core, This is the Police 2 is a visual novel. There is traditional gameplay both through general police management and combat, but the narrative takes centre stage at just about every turn. It certainly doesn't help that only the management angle is really the only engaging part of the core gameplay. Cops can be upgraded and there's a genuine need for critical thinking when it comes time to send officers out on jobs. There's an appropriate level of stress involved with managing Sharpwood's police force, and the management mechanic as a whole serves as one of the few moments of legitimate gameplay and story cohesion in the entire experience. Unfortunately, even managing the force gets repetitive with each passing day losing its lustre.

The actual combat portion of This is the Police 2, while theoretically a big draw, feels embarrassingly out of place. Battles, so to speak, play out like the traditional turn-based strategy fare. There's an attempt made at non-linearity in combat, with officers having the choice to take out criminals either lethally or non-lethally, but these choices don't amount to much and there's no major penalty for giving in to those more violent tendencies.

In general, combat is just dull. There's an emphasis placed on stealth and careful play, but the levels aren't designed with players utilising a variety of different strategies in mind. The map design is mediocre, at best, and these scenarios aren't nearly frequent or engaging enough where they should have been included in this state.

At the very least, TitP2 makes for an enjoyable game to look at and listen to. The almost cardboard cut-out style of the world makes for some charming visuals, and the sound design does a great job at adding to the cold atmosphere of Sharpwood. The voice direction is, likewise, notably impressive, which is a shame considering how weak the overall script is. It feels, at times, that This is the Police 2 is doubling down on its predecessor's problems. It seems unsure of what it wants to say and how it wants to say it, while the narrative and gameplay continue to distract with one another, rarely ever coming together in a way that feels appropriate. Steps have obviously been made to ensure the sequel offers a more explicitly engaging experience over the first title, but This is the Police remains a misguided franchise, incapable of deciding whether or not it wants to be a movie or a videogame.

Graphics ()

Gameplay ()

Sound ()

Value ()

Final Score
Although conceptually sound with a fairly strong setting, [i]This is the Police 2[/i] struggles to say or do anything meaningful with its premise. Dialogue meanders to the point of being insufferable, and clearly tries to emulate Quentin Tarantino's writing style without any of his wit or weight, while gameplay generally lacks the creativity or tactical knowhow necessary in the turn-based strategy genre. The main draw to the gameplay is the management angle, but, just like the first time around, it's tucked away behind an inconsistent narrative that eats up far too much time for its own good. [i]This is the Police 2[/i] is presented well, featuring a great visual style, accompanied by an equally great score, but a poorly penned script, coupled with gameplay that is not engaging, keeps it from realising its full potential.

5

/10

User Comments
#1 jon smith (guest) - on 31.07.2018 at 19:51

Damn, you laid the smack down. I wish I could have liked the first one but it sounds like this doesn't fix the problems and just adds new ones.

#2 Insanoflex - on 01.08.2018 at 20:45

the graphics and art is so joyless and dull


Page: 1
Have your say
You must be logged in to post.
« Return to homepage