It’s not often enough that games on emergency services are released, and apart from the staple Emergency series, there’s little out there, surprising when you consider they’re everything young kids want to be, however you can always rely on German developers to release a title with everything that you ever wanted! Police Force 2 is the pseudo simulator-cum-action title that sticks you in the shoes of a humble police officer out on the beat, the question is, is it really much better than the original released only just over a year ago?
In case you’ve not played the original I’ll run through the basics. You control two police fresh out of the academy, set a small beat to handle, every day you are given a task, fulfil the task and any bonus emergency calls and you’ll be commended, get enough points and your designated area will be enlarged. Don’t worry you don’t begin by policing a stretch of road, in fact you’ve a fairly large area to cover and so at your disposal you will find a selection of police vehicles for whatever takes your fancy including a standard issue, estate and police van, as well as undercover cars.
When you’re ready to hit the streets you’ll start your first shift, each is randomly generated from a selection of different jobs that can generally be finished in around 5-10 minutes, allowing you the rest of your 30 minute shift answering emergency calls and generally policing your district and keeping your populace safe. Shifts will range from anything like catching speeders, busting smugglers and photographing drug dealers, they aren’t generally too exciting; however this is where emergency calls come in.
To break up the monotony of daily life you’ve got emergency calls, in a shift you’ll be tasked with as many as humanly possible, their spontaneity does add greatly to the game, but they also come at a price. If you may have a particularly tasking job on your shift, such as locating a number of pushers which can be tricky to track down especially during a night shift and the last thing you want is for emergency calls to crop up every couple of minutes. However, if it weren’t for emergency calls you wouldn’t get to respond to shops getting held up at gunpoint, stolen handbags or drunken homeless fights.
The procedure for catching criminals is fairly straightforward, each of your officers have their own equipment, your female officer is equipped with a pepper spray and handcuffs, and your male officer, a gun, baton and handcuffs for those that don’t want to go away without a fight. As soon as you’ve got your offender subdued or cuffed you can call in a transport vehicle or ambulance to come pick them up, your job is simply to handle the dirty work, so you don’t expect to process criminals through the police station.
If you had the pleasure of playing the original Police Force this may all sound very familiar, and apart from the new additions it really is, which in some respects is quite unfortunate, for instance, the rubber-banded animations are still the same, and don’t appear to have improved, similarly there are still no traffic rules, fans will undoubtedly feel a little disheartened at such a revelation, however it is important to note that they have added a host of snazzy new features.
The most prevalent addition in Police Force 2 is the Police Station, not only can you now access the inside of the Police Station, complete with your very own office, but it opens up a new side to policing; forensics! Whilst you can’t simply burst in and bust out some CSI, if you do happen to search a crime scene and find fingerprints, taking them to the lab will provide you with an ID for your suspect.
In addition to the shiny new interiors of Police headquarters, the whole city has had a huge assortment of interiors added throughout, not only can you wander into a bar and nightclub to carry out ID checks, but now you can enter houses, restaurants, even electrical shops which introduce a plethora of new shift duties and emergency calls for you to carry out, making the game world far more tangible, and a bit more violent than its predecessor when you take all the robberies into consideration.
The sequel also comes with a couple of new abilities to add your daily police work, these include the Interrogation pad so that you can finally talk to innocents that have had their bags stolen, and demanding the location of kidnapped parties, just don’t forget to interrogate your felons before you send them away, or the truth will never come out! Paired to the forensics lab is another new ability that allows you to investigate crime scenes, this is necessary when there are no witnesses, and can throw up clues for investigation at the lab. The last new ability is not a real necessity, but a pretty fun extra, both of your policemen now come with a breathalyser allowing you to test the breath of any passer-by. The new abilities whilst sounding pretty small add a great deal to the game, and whilst you aren’t required to inform a member of the public why you are interrogating them, or giving them a breath test, they really flesh out the game to a greater level.
The only trouble you may have with the game is repetition, there are a lot more jobs and calls in Police Force 2 compared to the original, but you will often find yourself carrying out the same jobs more often than you’d like, this enforces a very rinse and repeat style of gameplay, which is unfortunate however realistic it may be.
If you’re looking for a new avenue into a vehicular simulator you might want to look elsewhere, Police Force 2’s driving is fully arcade driven to fit with the fast pace of the game, the experience garnered is more comparable to Grand Theft Auto than an intricately woven simulator, in all honesty it fits with the pace and feel of the game, and makes it far more accessible to younger players who want to take up the exciting role of a policeman.
Police Force 2 has definitely included some great new features on top of those already current in the original, though it is a shame that none of the previous issues of the game appear to have been undertaken, if you’re looking for a game that allows you to delve into the everyday duty of being a police officer, Police Force 2 is probably the best offering out there.
Police Force 2 is available April 26th in all good stores and the Excalibur Publishing Excalibur Publishing store for the SRP of £24.99.