STAFF REVIEW of Police Stories (Xbox One)

Saturday, September 18, 2021.
by Daniel Paddy

Police Stories Box art Police Stories instantly reminded me of old classic Grand Theft Auto games with its top down camera viewpoint. Police Stories aims to bring this experience to your home console, telling the gritty story of two policemen, John Rimes and Rick Jones, as they battle criminals and uncover some sinister goings on in their own yard.

I think it’s fair to say that despite the title, it’s not the stories that will help this game stand out from the crowd. It’s a pretty stereotypical tale of dishonesty, danger and dirty dealings. The tales are told retrospectively to a journalist through a series of flashbacks which make up the eighteen mission campaign. It’s not especially gripping, and some of the dialogue is pretty corny, however, this plays second fiddle to the more intriguing element, that being how you play the game as a cop.

The basic plot follows two partners on the police force, John and Rick, the former of which just begins his career as an officer. Without giving much away, they are sent out on various calls throughout the game that will have you raiding gang hideouts, rushing into a hospital to defuse a bomb or locating and securing targets. There is a B-story set sometime into the future, where an investigator is recording a testimony from an older Rick, who replays their experiences.

The story has a really basic premise but it had a lot of potential to be really engaging. Sadly, it didn't turn out great. Not to say the story was that bad, it was paced at a decent length and had tons of action and twists and mystery, but what hurts this plot the most is the dialogue and the character interactions. The dialogue in particular is the biggest issue, as the quality of the writing simply didn't what I had hoped for.

Characters repeat dialogue a lot and they don't really talk like police officers. FBI agents and other cops also speak really occasionally in a way that took me out of the story. Next, there was a real lack of character interaction. I like the visual designs of John and Rick, and that a feature of the game is team work between the two, but there really isn't anything in the story that has elements of that, nor is there much banter or general discussion either, its mostly just them musing over their mission objectives.

This game does have local co-op for two players, which I would highly recommend, because your AI partner is pretty inconsistent. Solo, you can tell your partner to perform various commands, barge into a room and attack, throw a flash-bang into the room, use C4 or arrest criminals and pick up evidence.

This is all great, but the big issue is that your partner can be the biggest idiot sometimes. He can block your path in cramped rooms, sometimes he will shoot at a door blocking the way if there's an enemy behind it, or just not shoot anyone at all. But then sometimes, he has the most godlike reflexes on the planet and will instantly take down enemies if they get into his line of sight. The experience, as someone who just played single player, will be enhanced way more if you have a buddy to play alongside you on the couch.

Don't let my antics of the story make it seem like the game is bad, there's lots more to talk about, and what I will say is that this game's focus is not really the story, but rather its addictive gameplay. I would like to see more than eighteen missions given how fast the game was you can be done Police Stories within a few hours if you try.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.5 / 10


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