Valve just updated A list of the best new releases on Steam for November. There are the usual suspects Crysis 2 and 3, Spider-Man: Miles Moralesand Sonic Frontiers. There’s also my favorite single-player game of the year, Repentanceand that neat little pixely removal shooter came to our attention a few months ago Zero Sievert. But one of the top 20 best-selling Steam games last month was, of all things, a damn police sim.
Released last month, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers It takes place in the fictional city of Brighton, USA. The game asks you to “pick up the badge” as a cop, which essentially means going after citizens with traffic citations, arresting them for drug possession, “chasing graffiti sprayers” and other police work. It is currently in “very positive” review status, with several activists and former law enforcement officers joining the comments, and others not threatening people who were abused as children.
A reviewer summarizes a typical experience Police simulator. Written like a poem (and you should read it like this):
I started my first shift.
I saw a woman walking so I stopped her.
He seemed nervous, so I asked him for his ID.
Then I decided to look for it.
He ran away.
I shot him with my rifle.
I found a key blade and human teeth, so I arrested him.
I called back and they threw it on the patty wagon.
Cleaning the streets, one man.
I mean, where do you even begin with this? Honestly, it does that Call of Duty the last game level look submissive. But what are human teeth? Do the creators assume that people carry such things around, and that ordinary street cops spend most of their time preventing murders with a passion for picking teeth? “I found the first human teeth I was looking for. 10/10” reads another reviewer.
Other reviews suggest that this is a pretty basic, somewhat confusing and feature-less civilian duty sim card. Such a boring job, apparently, does not live up to everyone’s expectations. Another Steam review says:
Professionals[sic]: Become a policeman.
Cons[sic]: Can’t be a bad cop.
The first thing I did was pull out my gun and shoot the woman running away, and I was fired. I couldn’t even get the 16 bullets left in my mag before reloading and yelled at it to stop moving.
Fun game, but a little unrealistic.
7/10 – worth it to beat your police car [sic] to randoms and fleeing the scene.
“Take the first conversation later,” reads another reviewer. “This game was pretty fun at first,” complains the negative review, “but unlike the LSPDFR mod Grand Theft Auto V, you have to play with real police duties. You have no real freedom to talk nonsense.’
I’ve played a ton GTAa game where you do terrible things to people on a regular basis, but this seems a bit odd to me. I probably shouldn’t throw stonesand there are other doubtful examples noise-free use of police footage in games. But it’s hard not to read the comments of people complaining about it a game designed to simulate everyday police work basically, boring civil offenses like traffic violations aren’t exciting enough because they don’t provide enough opportunities to hit people.