Dark Light

2022 has been hard on the indie scene. With heavy hitters like Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, and finally, God of War Ragnarok, the only indie title that managed to make a considerably huge impact this year, was Stray, and for purrfectly good reasons!

Sadly, in the case of Police Simulator: Patrol Officers, what we have here is nothing as enticing as Stray. On top of that, it’s a simulator. And mind you, while there’s driving in it, it’s no police driving simulator either. You are better off driving a real car in real life than driving here. Thankfully, there’s much more than driving in its entirety. What we have here is the exact opposite of Grand Theft Auto games and if you want to bail, now is the time.

Developed on Unreal Engine 4 by Aesir Interactive and published by Astragon Entertainment, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers was released on October 18, 2022, on PlayStation and Xbox following its Steam Early Access release on PC last year.

Setting Standards

The game starts off by asking you to select your patrol officers based on your preferences and then you start your shift at a precinct as a Traffic Police Warden. The first thing the game asks you to do is to issue parking tickets and be on the lookout for automobiles with excessive emissions. As for the inventory, you don’t get to drive a car right away but you do get a Glock and a taser. From there on out you patrol the streets like any usual cop and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. Overall it’s a 5-15 minutes patrol that ends up feeling like more than an hour.

And Since this is a simulator of sorts, your goal is to be an ideal cop. That means no forced arrests, no civilian shootings, no rash driving, and the list just doesn’t stop there. All of this may seem great or ideal in a real-life scenario, but for god’s sake, this is a frickin’ video game. It just sticks too close to its simulator persona that I am not even sure if its casual difficulty can even qualify as an arcade mode for the casuals like me. While concept-wise, there isn’t anything wrong with the game technically, from a pacing perspective it could definitely use a more surreal world with great pacing instead of being a sloppy chore bogged down by dead-ass NPC pedestrians and drivers alike.


Tools of Justice

Despite its rather slow progression system and hellishly harsh driving experience, the game does manage to redeem itself in its core aspects. This is quite evident in the game’s rules and regulations defined for everyone. Things like vehicle emissions, license and registration, speed limits, vehicle parking, and orientation have been covered quite well and the thresholds for warnings, accusations, and arrests are quite well-defined.

Despite its defined rulings of what’s wrong and what’s right, it can be quite troublesome for a cop to make the right call at the right time. Imposing accusations, infractions, frisking/investigating without any established evidence and most importantly wrongful arrests would lose your precious cop experience points and even cost you your career.

To overcome this, you will have to put your policing skills to the test. You can use speed guns to check if the vehicles are running under the speed limit, and use tasers to incapacitate suspects without causing any casualties. And if it ever comes to the worst, you still have to exercise caution while pulling the trigger.


Pointing Fingers At a Dead World

Despite all the policing tools at your disposal, for a lot of the decision-making, you will have to take the call solely relying on your primitive senses, and unlike other AAA titles where developers drop subtle clues and dialogues to guide you on your path, there’s hardly anything to work with here. Despite a ton of hustle and bustle, the surroundings largely feel dead along with the people in it. Every infraction and every assault feels like a staged act rather than an unexpected occurrence.

This is largely due to the fact that the NPC AIs are not that polished enough to have a sense of realism in their behavioral pattern. A more vibrant and dynamic world along with a refined AI system would greatly benefit this title and with the announced Q2 2023 Roadmap, I have high hopes for this one.


Real Talk

Being a Simulator of sorts, Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is not for everyone. It shines in highlighting the general norms of rules and regulations. From infractions to investigations it draws a clear line between the good and the bad when it comes to the right way of policing the public. But a lot of its good aspects are overshadowed by its slow-paced campaign activities and an inanimate world. Thankfully all hope is not lost as the devs do have a promising Q2 2023 roadmap to address most of these issues. But as it stands in its current state, you should only get it if you have a knack for Simulators or wait for a sale.


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