You may find a new respect for the po-po if you play Police Simulator: Patrol Officers, from Aesir Interactive. My god, there’s so much work involved; it can be monotonous and is often a thankless task. But you know what? I’m prepared to walk the straight and narrow and stay on this side of the law.
No, I’m no hardened crim, but this game was touted as an anti-GTA, and we’ve all played that, right? Doing things the wrong way is often the fun way, and regrettably, being the good guy can be a little bit naff at times. Giving tickets to cars double-parked, hunting down traffic offenders and compiling accident records sounds incredibly boring, but I have to say, I enjoyed it.
You’ll start Police Simulator: Patrol Officers on the fictitious streets of Brighton. After selecting one of the pre-made male or female avatars, you’ll head out on foot to do some parking work. No, this isn’t the patrol work you hoped for, but the arduous task of checking meters to ensure nobody has overstayed and that the cars are parked a reasonable distance from the curb. You have some power to either charge, give verbal warnings – even have cars towed away if you feel compelled to, but for every SP (Shift Points) you earn for booking perps, there’s a CP (Conduct Points) counter that starts at 100 and gets deducted each time you don’t follow protocol.
Police Simulator: Patrol Officers PS5 Review
Procedures are very intuitive, but there’s plenty of guidance that, should you forget or not understand the steps, you can pull up a reference from the pause menu. It does become second nature, i.e. see somebody jaywalk, and you’ll ask for their ID, check its validity, and note anything such as their pupils or behaviour as it may warrant a warning, charge, or even arrest. They might be under the influence of something. It’s all very repetitive in many respects, but if you enjoy simulators in general, you’ll appreciate that repetition is key (and somewhat therapeutic).
Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is a third-person open-world experience, and the visuals are pretty good, but the character models are samey and have an older generation aesthetic. The controls are, again, very intuitive and will come second nature for bringing up the action wheels to arrest someone, whip out a taser, your speed gun and more. What was incredibly frustrating (and I could be corrected here) was how you’d have to keep pulling up the wheel to make selections should you get interrupted. With the speed gun, the vehicles will often pass you by before you can access your gear, or, if you’re already equipped with it, you may end up deselecting when greeting the public when they say hello (gives you SP). I’m sure there’s a faster way to do it, but I hadn’t worked it out.
It’s The Law!
But how can this be comparable to GTA if there’s no driving? After your first couple of shifts, you’ll be assigned a patrol car. There are two viewpoints: first-person and a chase view, and driving around Brighton is easy enough, as well as operating the sirens and lights independently. However… when witnessing ‘traffic crime’ and facing the opposite direction, you can end up ballsing things up quite rapidly. First, the AI is a little… simple. They won’t know what to do and may simply stop in the middle of the road, cancelling out why you’re stopping them in the first place. More importantly, you only have to tap them, the cars start pumping out smoke, and you have to write an accident report.
It’s a serious business, ol’ police work, so don’t expect a licensed medley of tunes to play around to, as you need to listen and operate a police radio throughout. Police Simulator: Police Officers encourages sensible gameplay, and though you can switch to a casual difficulty over the simulation mode, shooting someone ‘for fun’ is a no-no. You can tase people and be a menace by fining people and arresting them for the sake of it, but don’t expect to be in the job long as you’ll be deducted those CP points and have to start a new shift. Also, a note on shifts: the 25-minute shifts you can choose from are real-time, and time does not stop when you do.
Overall? Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is entertaining in a samey sort of way. It’s certainly no adrenaline-fuelled experience, and the repeated actions might bore some. For me, it was entertaining enough, and the dynamic city makes it feel lived in. It’s out of Early Access now, but PS5 and Xbox Series X owners can nab it for their system (this review was based on the PS5 version. If you hadn’t guessed).