The police, po-po, five-o, or whatever you call them, are a divisive bunch. Hate them or love them, they are there to serve and protect. However, there is always one bad apple in the mix, and they ruin everyone’s reputation. Yet, what would you do if you had the chance to step into their shoes and keep people safe? Would you be a law-abiding copper, or would you do as you please and be a badass renegade? Well, that option and many more are open to you as you become the latest recruit in Police Simulator: Patrol Officers.
Developed by Aesir Interactive and published by Astragon Entertainment GmbH, this is a police simulation title. What’s more, it can be enjoyed solo or with another player locally or online. As such, the action can be intense as each of you completes their tasks or helps one another to stop each law-breaking citizen. Though I’m sure it wasn’t intended, I laughed repeatedly as I completed my daily duties. The comical responses from every NPC and the sense of reward as you ticket illegally parked cars made me chuckle. However, more mature gamers will probably crack on with their job and clean up the streets without childish shenanigans.
The plot of Police Simulator: Patrol Officers should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Sadly, the developer’s strengths don’t seem to lie in storytelling. The basic plot focuses on a recruit who is chucked straight into the action. Yet, they are not asked to break up a drug ring or tackle gun crime. No, their opening task is to ticket illegally parked vehicles. Yep, you’ll spend your first shift playing traffic warden. As such, you’ll check for damaged vehicles, and report anyone who has an expired vehicular licence, a parking meter that has turned red, or if they are stopped in the wrong zone. Effectively, you are an annoying jobsworth who must clamp down on those nasty traffic offences that ruin everyone’s lives.
Fortunately, the latest recruit of Brighton PD quickly moves on to bigger and better things. You’ll unlock each of the 3 districts and earn duty badges for a job well done. Furthermore, you’ll unlock a police car, undertake speed checks, investigate crimes, ticket people for littering, and confiscate deadly weapons. On top of this, you’ll arrest drug dealers, prevent graffiti artists and help out at crash scenes. In short, there is plenty to see and do as you choose who to arrest and how to act.
Good cop, bad cop.
Life is all about choices, and in Police Simulator: Patrol Officers, you have free rein over every decision you make. Consequently, if someone breaks the law, you can give them a warning, fine them, or arrest them and send them to jail. However, at times, the water is muddied, and the decision isn’t so simple. Using your police computer and your sense of intuition, you must read telltale signs for drug and alcohol abuse. As such, if you think something is wrong, you’re best to act.
Sadly, though, you can’t always be right, and when things go south, it is your reputation that takes a hammering. Accordingly, during every shift, you can only make a limited number of mistakes. Make too many, and your bosses will fire you. So, what tools do you have at hand to help you out? Well, every person must provide you with ID and insurance if they are in a vehicle. With this in front of you, you can check to see if they are a legitimate citizen, or if they are pulling a fast one. Alongside this, you can check their history in the police database. Subsequently, if they have a rap sheet as long as your arm, then there is probable cause to search them for narcotics or deadly weapons.
Remember though, if you get it wrong, you will pay the consequences. This mechanic follows you throughout every shift and is a core component of this rather simple game. If you incorrectly tow a vehicle or give it a ticket, you’ll slide closer to losing your job. Furthermore, if you report someone for speeding, crash into another car, or act like a dick, it will backfire and your bosses won’t be very happy.
Great concept, but poor delivery.
It’s fair to say that I loved Police Simulator: Patrol Officers’ core concept. However, its delivery leaves an awful lot to be desired! No matter what task you undertake, you will be met with glitches, bugs, and visual problems. Moreover, your request for backup often gets stuck in traffic, your perpetrator fails to follow instructions, and don’t get me started on the state of every RTC.
Disappointingly, the often game-breaking issues ruin the immersion and the fun factor. Whether you are playing solo or with another, you’ll sigh repeatedly as you can’t complete a set task. I know these are problems that are likely to be ironed out, but at the moment, they taint what is otherwise an enjoyable experience. The developers must acknowledge the problems they have, and cannot ignore how much they impact the end product. Consequently, if nothing is done to resolve the issues, this game will fail and it won’t get the backing it deserves.
Police Simulator: Patrol Officers was pleasant to the eye.
Though Police Simulator: Patrol Officers cannot be considered next-gen, it is still pleasant to the eye. Yes, I’ve bemoaned its glitches and problems, but mostly, the large city and varied districts are well constructed. Furthermore, the vehicles have a reasonable layer of detail, and the characters are varied and interesting. On top of this, I found the traffic setup to be realistic; the databases were easy to read and understand, and the navigation elements worked really well. However, the lip sync and cutscenes are pretty woeful, but they will make you laugh, so that’s a bonus.
Talking of cutscenes, the acting is dreadful. Yet again, though, the wooden delivery will have you roaring with laughter, so it mattered not. On top of this, you get a pretty realistic range of sound effects to enjoy. The police sirens are shrill, accurate, and bloody loud. Furthermore, the engines sound great, and the environmental noises bring the world to life.
Surprisingly good controls.
I adored how easy this was to pick up and play. Moreover, inviting someone into your world was straightforward, and this was pleasant as well. Thanks to the excellent radial menus and well-considered button layout, you’ll be issuing tickets, scanning for speeding cars, and busting drug lords in no time. Sadly, my only complaint was how stiff the driving mechanics felt. The cars roll and drag themselves around every corner and this was unrealistic. Accordingly, driving the car was more hassle than it was worth and this was disappointing.
Thanks to its multiplayer action and massive world, there is plenty of longevity and replay value. What’s more, you are free to prevent whatever crime you wish. However, I would have liked a bit more meat on the bone when it comes to a back story. During every shift, you earn money, but this seems to go nowhere. Instead, it would have been nice to explore life outside of work and have the ability to spend your hard-earned cash. Yet, these are minor things, as the game has plenty of interesting tasks and jobs to overcome.
Police Simulator: Patrol Officers needs some ironing out.
There is so much to love about this title. However, its bugs are a real problem. For every positive, and there are many to be found, each of the issues completely undermines its potential. As such, I desperately want the developers to address the issues and improve their great title. If you can put up with some problematic elements, you’ll thoroughly enjoy everything on offer. Accordingly, I’m going to recommend you buy it despite its shortcomings. Can you clean up the streets of Brighton? Jump in your car, fine each lawbreaker, and remind people that crime doesn’t pay.