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Police Simulator: Patrol Officers Review (Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 & PC)

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Police Simulator: Patrol Officers Promotional Art

After several months of fastening a few loose bolts and embellishing an otherwise half-baked simulation experience, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers has finally launched on PC — and with a brand-new expansion, to boot. The question is, what has changed since its initial launch in Early Access? Or another question would be, is it worth slipping into, more so now that it has received the final fragments and the tender love and care from its curators?

In case you skipped out on its initial debut, all you need to know is this: Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is a third-person and first-person single-player and co-op game—a simulation adventure in which players take to the crime-riddled streets of Brighton, a US metropolis in which petty crime is commonplace, and the hammer of justice is the only thing keeping the economy from collapsing into a ravenous utopia for the morally bankrupt. With all of that said, this is not—I repeat not, a combat-centric action RPG; it involves a bit of admin work, too, and not to mention a significant amount of mindless patrolling and all-round go-getting. In other words, it’s a relatively accurate digital representation of the “real-life” on-the-job routine of a police officer — warts and all.

Since its induction into the field of simulation, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers has received a slew of fixes and updates, meaning, if there was ever a time to board the vessel and sport the badge, it would be now, at the height of the game’s homecoming season. Not quite convinced? In need of a few more details to help with that all-important decision of whether or not to blare the sirens and flash the holster? Don’t sweat it — here’s everything you need to know before slipping into the criminal justice profession.

On the Beat

Officer questioning suspect (Police Simulator: Patrol Officers)

Remember how I said that Police Simulator wasn’t just a mindless, battle-centric shooter? Well, I wasn’t lying; in fact, the game itself strikes a balance between two halves of universal policing, with one half being dedicated to the likes of chore core street work, and the other being more in line with general public order and admin duties. What I’m trying to say here is that, while police work can be a little daring at times, Police Simulator doesn’t always make it so, as it makes an effort to dilute the Hollywood-esque look to come across as something a little more, shall we say, realistic. Don’t get me wrong, action does exist in this corner of the world, but at no point does it dare to overshadow the authenticity of the bureau and the work that it does on a nine-to-five basis.

Like a lot of simulation games of its kind, Police Simulator offers a wealth of tasks to embark on, all of which stem directly from your trusty radio. In a nutshell, there are traffic duties to see to, collisions, breakdowns, and an entire range of fledgling crime scenes to analyze and report on. And that’s barely scratching the surface to this absolutely enormous sandbox of a world, to be fair. In addition to all of that, there are also items to purchase, upgrades to invest in, and an entire city to keep tabs on as you gradually shovel through the ranks and develop your skills and portfolio as not only a generic beat cop, but also a highway patrol officer, too. So like I said — there’s a lot to do, and there’s just as much paperwork to accompany it, rather annoyingly.

An Emulation of Law

Officer making an arrest (Police Simulator: Patrol Officers)

If I think back to the likes of True Crime LA—a police-centric third-person shooter in which players could both frisk and arrest citizens—I’m immediately reminded of how much I adored those types of features. And I’m grateful, really, that Police Simulator, like True Crime, implements a lot of these same practices. The only major difference here, of course, is that there are dozens, if not hundreds of extra layers to the design and overall process, so to speak. Aside from the fact that you can use your sirens to pull over potential suspects, you can also open various lines of questioning, as well as check IDs and scroll through various dialogue options and resolutions. Again, that’s barely nibbling the tip of the iceberg, too; it’s also chock-full of DLC and other extracurricular activities, all of which aim to emulate the work of a regular fresh-out-of-the-box officer on patrol.

In a typical day, you’ll board your vehicle—a hub, of sorts, that allows you to navigate an open-world setting and embark on various tasks—and respond to a series of requests, whether it’s interrogating an intoxicated driver, preventing a traffic collision, or questioning victims and other local folk about certain city-wide issues. And then there are other crimes—events that require a slightly more hands-on approach, whether it’s through the use of laying out cones to divide avenues of traffic, or cordoning off entire areas for the sake of analyzing a crime scene. Unsurprisingly, the list goes on, and it seems that, if there’s an actual chore that an officer is capable of doing, chances are it’ll be nestled somewhere in the long line of duties that flesh out Police Simulator. And that’s, you know, fine. Suffice it to say, this isn’t one for idle hands.

Policing for the Inquisitive

Officers laying down markers on crime scene (Police Simulator: Patrol Officers)

If you’re wondering whether or not Police Simulator is actually a fun game to play, I can safely say that, in short bursts, it is — thought it often depends on several factors, including whether or not the player in question has the patience and enough of a do-good mentality to endure a lot of the same challenges thrice over. Granted, it isn’t a chore core sort of gig—at least, not to the extent of being a Lawn Mower Simulator clone, anyway—but it does feature its own share of relatively mundane tasks, several of which require little to zero effort to complete. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t entirely monotonous work, but it isn’t without its flaws, that’s for sure. With that said, if you enjoy anything even remotely RP-based, then you’ll no doubt be able to gel with the narrative that Police Simulator brings to the canvas.

In the dozen or so hours that I poured into the hot seat of a fledgling officer, I caught wind of a lot of things — and even now, I’m still learning the ropes and discovering new ways to turn up the dial and capitalize on my ongoing affairs. I’m not a great cop, I’ll say that much — but my heart for the structural integrity of the law is there, and with each new patch that comes into play, that thirst for knowledge and power only grows even more intense. Suffice it to say, I won’t be giving up the badge and flashlight just yet, because when all’s said and done, I’ve still a wealth of cases to attend to. The fact that I have that urge to continue in this rather peculiar line of work, really, speaks volumes about its creator’s ability to cast a pretty compelling web.

Verdict

Officer placing traffic cones on road (Police Simulator: Patrol Officers)

I’d be lying if I said that Police Simulator: Patrol Officers hasn’t traveled leaps and bounds since its early launch on PC some ways back. In fact, it appears that the developers have made quite the effort to reinvent the wheel in time for its final iteration, and whilst there are still several technical errors in the design itself, there aren’t quite nearly as many as when it first came knocking a couple of years back — so that’s a good thing, for sure, and definitely a sign of the things to come in future updates, too.

Aesir Interactive has truly knuckled in on something special here, and whilst it isn’t the gun-toting action sim that I, like countless others, would’ve liked, it’s still a solid representative for the sandbox genre and its bottomless abyss of real-life emulations. Could it do with a bit more meat on the bones? Absolutely — and I’m still that’s all coming in due course. Could it do with a little extra TLC, if only to fix a few loose bolts embroidered in the code? Yes, and again, I’m sitting on high hopes that the devs will get to work on amending these issues over the coming weeks. Even still, for what it is—and it’s a pretty big “it”—it’s a friggin’ great start for what could potentially be one of the most enjoyable simulation games of the year. Well played, team.

Police Simulator: Patrol Officers Review (Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 & PC)

Cuffed to the Grind

Police Simulator: Patrol Officers, even when lauded by some relatively mundane tasks, has a surprising amount of engaging and quality content to offer its fledgling justice enforcers. It’s certainly come a long way since its inception, too, and so, if you are after a full-fledged simulation game that touts all of the bells and whistles of a modern emulation of a real-life occupation, then you are probably going to enjoy shoveling a few hours into this one.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.