Videogames aren’t all about high speed chasing and shooting. While open world games predominantly follow the Grand Theft Auto model of being the bad guy, there are many in recent years that have put the player in a position where their actions can be justified. Unsurprisingly, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is one such title. But, is being the good guy more boring than being bad? This Police Simulator: Patrol Officers review will tell you exactly what you need to know.
The game sees you take on a career as a beat cop in the fictional city of Brighton. Not sure why they chose that name, given how many real cities are called ‘Brighton’. You take on shifts (lasting from 15 to 90 mins, as per player preference) and in that time must apprehend as many criminal perpetrators as possible. To begin with, this is simply issuing parking tickets or telling people off for littering. However, as you gain SP for completing duties, you’ll gain access to new functionality. Soon you’ll be operating across multiple districts, catching speeding criminals, drug dealers and engaging in high-speed pursuits.
The pacing of the game is somewhat lacklustre. It could be interpreted as a relaxing experience. Much of your time is spent wandering the streets waiting for something to happen. A simulation of the job in it’s truest sense, perhaps.
That being said, it is rather enjoyable to enter the next shift and see what random events are going to occur. There’s a guy jaywalking; maybe he’s going to turn out to be a drug dealer. That car has a smoking exhaust; could the driver be drunk? There’s been a three-car collision; best hurry there and call an ambulance for any injured. Once some progress has been made there is plenty of variety.
The game offers two modes: casual and simulation. Casual will give you a significant amount of indicators as you play, and also limit the damage you can do to pedestrians. Which is a good thing, given how buoyant control of your patrol car can be. Simulation mode is a much tougher challenge, and definitely not advised for beginners.
As enjoyable as the game is, there are some pretty significant issues. The control scheme can be pretty unwieldy. This is only worsened by the fact that many tutorials are missing button prompt images, leaving you tapping everything to find out what gives you access to the required information. The game will often give pointers such as ‘that person littered!’ or ‘that person jaywalked!’, but doesn’t highlight which person particularly well. Given that you’re often in scenes with 20+ pedestrians, if you don’t see the incidental animation yourself, you’re likely to detain an innocent person for no reason. Or simply ignore it, potentially losing your bonuses.
Sadly, no Police Simulator: Patrol Officers review would be complete without also mentioning the horrific graphical issues that plague the game. While no one was expecting AAA visual design, the assortments of bugs in the game is beyond reproach. There were many times during writing this review where the interior of the police station would flicker entirely, as if the console couldn’t handle the frame rate. Instead, we’re guessing it’s simply poorly optimised. People would be situated on top of cars as you interview them. Others would simply walk straight through you and the criminal you’re trying to apprehend.
Despite it’s myriad of issues, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers isn’t a bad game. It’s enjoyable for exactly the right reasons; a simulation of a profession. Despite Aesir Interactive’s hopes, it’s certainly not as thrilling as being the bad guy. However, if you’re interested in the premise Police Simulator: Patrol Officers presents, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be expecting an all-guns-blazing experience, anyway. Instead, the idea of a slow day bringing justice is on the cards. If that appeals – and you can look beyond the game’s flaws – Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is a worthwhile endeavour.