Review: Police Tactics: Imperio is a game that didn’t go far enough

A police simulator with good ideas that don't go as deep as a simulation fan would like

Platform: PC

Developer: Cyberphobx

Publisher: Astragon Entertainment

MSRP: $19.99


When I first saw Police Tactics: Imperio come across my email list, I thought, "Cool, a police simulation game!" I'm a big fan of simulation and strategy/tactics games. Police Tactics: Imperio seemed to have both. From the trailer, you find out the city is filled with organized crime and the new police chief aims to take it down.

It shows plenty of sweeping, strategy-game style shots along with police cars driving, helicopters and a few action shots of policemen at the scene of a crime. It looks like a pretty fun indie game for roughly $20.

Review: Police Tactics: Imperio is a game that didn't go far enough

Learning the ropes:

As simulation and strategy games often have, Police Tactics: Imperio has an extensive tutorial. It's pretty story-based and eases you into handling various crimes, so it isn't overwhelming. The first thing I noticed was that I should put in my resume to Astragon Entertainment as an editor because much of their voicework varied from the subtitles. Nothing too bad, but as a writer, it garnered an eye twitch every time.

As I took control of the precinct, I start with just one neighborhood. A business center of sorts where the rules of engagement are taught to me. I'm shown how to create patrols for police officers, how to set officers to vehicles, what different cars did, etc. There are also different paths law-enforcement officers can take. They all start as rookies, but can be trained to be regular patrol officers, CSI, detectives, riot cops, SWAT team and undercover agents.

Review: Police Tactics: Imperio is a game that didn't go far enough

Then you just kind of…. watch:

You're shown how each type of officer is used for handling different crimes. For example: when there's a robbery, you send an appropriate amount of officers to the scene and…you just watch them shoot at each other til one side goes down.

Okay, what about other types of officers? What does CSI do? Well, you send CSI to a crime scene where the perpetrator got away and investigate the crime scene? Are you taken to a screen where you have to find clues or play some mini-game that plays into the officer's skill level? No… you just watch a bar fill up as they stand around the scene. The detectives, though? Oh, here we go! Phoenix Wright style bystander question! Nope…you queue up different random civilians in the area to be talked to (aka just click on them and wait for the bar to fill). 

Now maybe I'm a bit spoiled with big-time developer's tactical/strategy games, but Police Tactics: Imperio left a lot to be desired. Perhaps there could have been a strategy layer similar to what already exists where the player builds their police headquarters, hires officers, chooses how to level and equip them, etc. But I would have loved if the crime scenes had their own gameplay to them, similar to XCOM. In XCOM, you plan and equip soldiers in a strategy layer, and when it's time for action, the player deploys the soldiers they prepare in the strategy layer and bring them into a tactical gameplay segment where the real action is. Police Tactics: Imperio, despite having the word "tactics" in the name, didn't have any tactics at all.

A missed opportunity for a cool premise:

I wanted to like this game because the concept of making a game based on real life heroes is fascinating to me, but the features are just too thin. It's not fun to watch a bar fill up or to see figures cycle through pre-determined animations until one side falls. That kind of thing works for strategy games like Starcraft because there's so much more going on, but Police Tactics: Imperio fell flat in that regard.

They even have the ability to pick between American police vehicles and German police vehicles, as the developer Cyberphobx is apparently a German company. A small feature, sure, but a cool one mixed in with an interesting premise and story that lacks the gameplay to hold it up.

The story was even interesting. Small-time crimes happened all the time to keep the player on their toes. Over time, well-placed patrols will reduce these crimes and give a sense of accomplishment to the player. Occasionally, story missions would happen involving the player character, the new police chief, going after the big crime boss that rules the underworld of the city. Every mission feels like you get closer and closer to catching him, and they've all got different situations going on. One time it was a bank robbery, another time a hideout was raided, etc. But again, the gameplay was just "pick cops, put in cars, click on crime, wait."

Review: Police Tactics: Imperio is a game that didn't go far enough


This game needs more. It feels like half a game, and the half we got isn't that bad, but by itself, it's very lackluster. What currently exists is tight, bug-free, and not hard to control, but boring.

If the game had something to do for each type of crime, this game would be getting so much more praise. I would honestly pass on this game and look elsewhere unless you need to scratch a cop itch. But I would also like to see what else Astragon could do with some constructive criticism for their next every-day-hero title.