“Usually, before I go shaking my tits for the press, I like to see how the professionals do it.” In Euro-developer Weappy’s This Is The Police you become Jack Boyd: gritty, tired, hardened by politics and routine, comfortable with shady situations. He’s the outgoing police chief of Freeburg tasked with keeping the city safe and secure for only 120 days. However, Chief Boyd soon becomes entangled in a mafia war between established mobster and man-about-town, Christopher G. Sand and aspiring upstart Vicus Varga, as well as the actions of troublemaker Robespierre.
Now he must manage a diverse set of uniformed officers and detectives and, as the game progresses, manage relationships among mafia bosses and city hall.
Jack Boyd sees himself as ethical, which contrasts with his mob-related actions – looking away when a crime is committed as a certain place and time, taking action against a rival, or use the mob to fence the spoils of police raids. You move from dilemma to dilemma: Should I fire all of my black police officers or older police officers because racists are destroying the town? Fire your black cops and suffer the wrath of the police union. Don’t want to do that? Become another negative notch on the mayor’s belt. Do I send my deceased officers to be honored at a solid funeral, or do I delay the paperwork and pocket their weekly salaries? Without any real moral or ethical connection to the work, only the incentives matter. You’re limited only by your tolerance for questionable behavior and your imagination.
I held to my personal beliefs in my first playthrough. No, I will not fire my officers based on a certain race. No, I will not use force to suppress peaceful protests. Yes, I will engage with the community for certain projects. However, I also met the threat of mafia involvement with pragmatism. I signed with the mob bosses so that people I cared about wouldn’t die. That system really worked out nicely, and I was making lots of money while busting bad guys. All of this went along smoothly…
…until Day 27, when I got a double-tap to my face while getting ready for work. I had been doing some great work for Varga and Sand, and I saved up a little nest egg. What I didn’t account for, and thus, didn’t anticipate, was that my infractions against the mayor’s office were too grievous. Much of the disappointments came from not playing the political game, and as a result, I lost police officer positions, which made crime-fighting more difficult, which only disappoints city hall more, until the vicious cycle leads to Jack Boyd getting the Moe Greene special. At this moment I realized that city hall is just another mob, another cartel that needs to have its demands satisfied. It put the next playthrough into more perspective.
There are a couple of issues I had with This Is The Police. Some voices didn’t sync accordingly, though issues appear to be fixed in later releases of the game. Some of the dialogue drags on too long. More animations could have helped cutscenes move along more quickly. The developers could take a once-over of the original Max Payne to understand good pacing for that style of cutscene in order to keep the player entertained and compliment the impressionist art style and noir sensibilities. Overall, the game is interesting, and those looking for a unique procedural experience will find just that. I just wish I survive longer next time.