Police Force 2

Review by Ryan McDonagh

“A realistic simulation of the German police” is what is written on the side of the Police Force 2 box. There are a million ways to describe this game but “realistic” is not one of them. I have never been to Germany, I imagine though that police officers can jump over walls. I also imagine that their partners do not walk faster than they can run. It also wouldn’t be out of the question to assume that when entering a house, German police officers do not fall through the floor. Neither do they have very strong English accents. This is just me being presumptuous though, a trip to Berlin or Cologne might prove me wrong. Much like the first entry to the series, you play as a rookie cop looking to work their way up the law enforcement ladder. You do this by hunting down criminals and returning order to the streets of Germany.Quests range from apprehending burglars, stopping car thieves in their tracks, and arresting unlicensed drivers. It’s all very mundane stuff. During your shifts – which still last half an hour – you can attend randomly generated crime scenes. In my short time playing I saw someone being poisoned at a nightclub, and a petrol station being robbed. These may sound fairly exciting, unfortunately they are not, due largely to the fact this game is broken beyond belief.

When I received Police Force 2 to review, I was filled with both excitement and trepidation. “Ooh, playing as a police officer – my natural enemy. This ought to provide some excitement”, I thought. The problem is, like a lot of these simulation games, the budget and the development time just isn’t there. A niche market exists for these games and generally that is who is targeted – them and people buying simulation games as a joke. It is a given that these kinds of games will never hit the big-time and will only be played by enthusiasts.

It is to be expected that a game like this just isn’t going to have the same level of polish or quality assurance that say, a AAA title will have. It still doesn’t excuse just how infuriatingly broken Police Force 2 is. On the beat I encountered NPC vehicles driving into walls, my own vehicle getting caught on scenery, falling through floors, other officers walking faster than I could run, and even car thieves kindly stopping at red lights so I could arrest them.

Actually catching criminals is a chore. The map is difficult to navigate, and the guide arrow that points you in the right direction disappears when it feels like it. Map markers to show where criminals are also vanish. It’s a clusterfuck of good ideas, poorly implemented. When you do actually catch a criminal, there is no reward – well there is, in the form of experience, but it just isn’t enjoyable.

Another bugbear was the completely unresponsive control scheme. The function keys are used to equip items like a baton, pepper-spray, and handcuffs, only half the time they just don’t work. When you do have the item you want to use, you’ll be lucky if it works. More than once I died trying to shoot a gun-toting robber, but my gun wouldn’t fire. Add in poor presentation, horrible animations, boring fetch-quest like gameplay, and there is pretty much nothing good to say about Police Force 2.

Maybe I am not the intended market for this game. Perhaps this title is instead aimed at owners of the complete police academy movie series. Or people who tune in to The Bill, religiously. If the thought of chasing down criminals on the (poorly rendered) streets of Germany gets you wet with excitement, you may still want to check Police Force 2 out. This reviewer just wants it locked up and out of his life for good.

TL;DR: Less NYPD Blue, more like Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.

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