The police force divides opinions and you either love them or loathe them. No matter your thoughts, you must admire them for putting their lives on the line for justice. There are a few bad apples, but you get that in every walk of life and behind every cop partnership is a story full of mystery, regret, and doubt. Police Stories replicates this with its grimy and gritty plot and stereotypical characters.
Developed by Mighty Morgan and published by HypeTrain Digital, this is a top-down old-school shooting adventure. Played solo or couch co-op, you control two cops who will stop at nothing to ensure justice is served. It’s a challenging title that offers two difficulty settings and three game modes.
Police Stories gives off early GTA vibes.
I was instantly drawn to Police Stories because of its interesting mechanics and its early GTA vibes. Loading this in brought back memories of playing my PlayStation One and I was sold on its charms because of this. The concept of the main story is simple: work with your partner to arrest the bad guys, use reasonable force if necessary, and collect evidence. Each mission you’ll earn points and this gives you a level rating.
The concept may be straightforward, but achieving victory isn’t easy! Running into a building all guns blazing is a terrible idea and one that will get you killed. You must work with your partner to open doors, use tactical equipment or issue covering fire. Shooting first and asking questions later is not acceptable. You must fire warning shots, scream for people to surrender and risk being shot at. It’s stressful, difficult, but rewarding when it all comes together.
Two cops and a clichéd backstory.
The gameplay revolves around the partnership of two street cops called John Rimes and Rick Jones. Their backstory is as clichéd as doughnuts and coffee and though it adds depth to the characters, it offers nothing you’ve not heard before. The main story comprises eighteen missions that ask you to infiltrate gang hideouts, rescue hostages, collect evidence, arrest criminals, and save civilians. It can be hectic, and this is where good reactions and a tactical approach ensure you succeed.
Alongside the story mode, you can take part in quick play and custom missions. These modes follow the same mechanics already experienced but are great if you wish to experiment or enjoy a casual session. Your approach to each mission will alter as you unlock new equipment. You gain sixteen items that offer stealthy advantages, better aiming and quicker arrests. Using your gear wisely will give you the upper hand, so don’t be frivolous.
Police Stories old-school aesthetic was fantastic.
I adore the art style used in Police Stories. The simple pixelated characters, the fog of war and earthy colours were great to look at. The claustrophobic corridors and maze-like stages added suspense and tension that complimented the theme and difficulty of this game. Identifying friend or foe in the fog of war was simple thanks to a coloured hue. The top-down perspective was a nice nod to early console games, but it was problematic when criminals appeared from darkened corners. Perhaps a map of the area would help to eliminate this issue.
The audio was also good but offered little more than I expected. Heavy and hard-hitting tones dominate the soundtrack. The adrenaline-pumping music gets you in the mood for each mission and has an air of 80s synth. The sounds effects were nice and matched up to the action and equipment being used. Screaming orders at criminals or your partner never got old.
Both the visual and audio presentations were simple, yet this straightforward approach worked perfectly. The nod to the old-school games will be appreciated by many players and its smooth uncomplicated manner makes it a joy to play.
Better as a co-op game.
The controls are fiddly when playing solo and impact the tactical element of surprise. Police Stories excels as a co-op game and you get the most out of it when teaming up. The clean UI and simple radial menu make playing easy once you master the fundamentals. With an on-screen crosshair you know where you are aiming and this helps considerably. You will need to invest time to get the most out of this, but it’s time well invested.
When I initially saw the eighteen missions I was disappointed. I thought it would be over in a flash and would lack replay value. How naïve! I was wrong. With random enemy placement and different events during each mission, no playthrough is the same. With plenty of game modes, a challenging achievement list, and couch co-op, there are lots of reasons to return.
Police Stories is challenging, addictive, and full of old-school vibes.
The deceptively simple approach will lull you into thinking this is easy. However, you’ll die repeatedly, fail horrifically, and receive painfully low scores. Once you understand the fundamentals, you’ll have a great time. I enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Put down the coffee and doughnuts and arrest the low life scum.