This is the Police 2 continues the story of Jack Boyd from the original game. Forced to flee from the city of Freeburg, where he served as the chief of police, before being forced out of the job by the corrupt mayor, he now finds himself hiding out in the small town of Sharpwood. When circumstances bring Boyd/Nash in contact with the struggling Sheriff of Sharpwood, he once again finds himself in charge, trying to solve crimes and keep the peace.
The core gameplay of the sequel remains mostly unchanged from the original game which follows Boyd trying to run the police department one day at a time. Each day usually begins with an animated cut scene that advances the story and sometimes adds a new problem for Boyd to deal with during the following days. Although the cut scenes are expertly animated and well performed by the voice cast, they tend to drag on way too long and sometimes feel like a slog to sit through. You are invested in the characters and want to know what happens to them but it is also hard not to skip through these scenes that feel like they could have got to the point a lot sooner.
Once the cut scene is over you then begin the day proper and advance to the main map which is where most of the action takes place. A new edition to the sequel is equipment which you must assign to your officers at the beginning of each day. This includes batons, shockers and stun grenades and can be auto assigned or you can choose which officer to give them to based on their statistics, which is another new addition. Each of your cops have a numbered rating based on their experience but they also have different skill levels in certain categories, including strength, speed, negotiation and shooting. You need to take these stats into account when sending them out on calls so that the officers you send out will hopefully have the required skills to deal with the situation.
When the calls start to come in you are given a brief summary of the crime and then must choose from your pool of cops who to send to the scene to deal with the situation. You need to take into account their strengths and weaknesses and the equipment they have been assigned as you can not change it during the day. When the responding officers arrive on the scene you are presented with further information and then given a choice of three courses of action to deal with the unfolding situation. This is when the skills and equipment come into play as when you have made your choice you must also choose which officer is going to perform the action. For example if you choose to chase after the criminal you need to choose a cop with a high speed stat or if you want to overpower the bad guy you might need a baton and a strong officer to wield it.
Making the correct choice can lead to a clean arrest with no casualties and your cops are rewarded with a points boost and increased stats. Making the wrong decision can lead to suspects escaping, civilians getting injured and even the death of one of your officers. The problem with the standard police call out is that the initial summary of the situation is rather vague which makes it difficult to know what statistics and equipment are needed to deal with the problem and I often found myself lacking in the required areas when it came to choosing the right option. There is also a big difference in some of the options that you are given as often there is a serious option like shoot the suspect along side another to make some sarcastic joke instead. These choices, although amusing don’t always sit right with the serious nature of the other aspects of the game.
Along with the standard call out there are more serious cases that require you to examine the clues and read witness statements to decide who committed the crime and arrest the correct suspect. This sometimes leads to criminal gangs which you must try to take down by interviewing suspects. Once again you are given choices of question to ask the suspect in order to try and coerce them into giving you the information you need to further the investigation. You will also get calls from the local business people of the town who will ask you for favours. These are usually outside of normal police business but if you help them out they may then provide a useful service for you to use at a later date as well as giving you a cash reward.
The biggest new addition in This is the Police 2 is the appearance of Xcom style, tactical missions. In these rare missions you take direct control of a team of up to six officers and attempt to take down the criminals in turn based combat. Each officer can be assigned different perks based on their skills at the beginning of the mission to aid them in combat. These can range from extra accuracy for your trained shooters to moving silently to creep up behind suspects for your more stealthy operatives. Apart from a short tutorial about these missions near the beginning of the game, you are mostly left to work things out for yourself. But without Xcom’s much more in depth statistics, it is very difficult to gauge the possibility of success of many of the actions you have available and it only takes one small error to turn the situation into a bloodbath.
Trying to deal with all of this is tricky enough, but when the story starts to add various other problems to deal with and things start to get more hectic. From your old colleagues in Freeburg trying to hunt you down, a rival police chief trying to prove himself and a blackmailer forcing you to earn money to keep him quiet it can all feel a bit much. Although the original game could get a little repetitive, with some perseverance it felt like you were making progress. In the sequel as more and more problems are thrown at you it feels like you are fighting a losing battle. This all adds up to a game that is full of ideas but with so many of them working against you it makes for a frustrating experience.
The storyline, animation and voice acting are all excellent and the core gameplay is solid. It is admirable that the developer has tried to add some new ideas to the original formula but the results are inconsistent and the difficulty level can be rather overwhelming with so much going on. There are elements of a good game here but they are somewhat buried under the weight of too many unnecessary additions that dilute the original vision.