For every decent indie release on Steam, there are at least a dozen ghastly offenders to avoid like the plague. One would think the introduction of user reviews would lead to better quality filtering, but Enforcer: Police Crime Action proves that’s not the case. Its overly positive user reception is deceiving. While not a complete disaster, Enforcer fails to carry out the simplest gameplay functions effectively. The poor execution may be tolerable for an Early Access title, but Enforcer retails as a complete product. It’s easy to assume a low budget alone is responsible for Enforcer’s clunkiness, but we’ve seen what small developers can accomplish. As many indie studios have proven over the years, with enough passion, motivation and talent, anything is possible.
Enforcer: Police Crime Action has potential, but its interesting concepts are buried beneath archaic graphics and broken gameplay. Its novel ideas surface periodically, but they’re not enough to justify the game’s poor design and complete lack of polish. There’s a fine line between ambition and understanding one’s limitations. If good voice actors aren’t available, don’t use voice-overs. If the budget doesn’t allow for vast open environments, create smaller worlds. This is what makes indie developers unique. They find creative solutions with limited resources. Brazilian developer Odin Game Studio doesn’t seem to understand that. Instead of creating a smaller, more engaging and refined world, Enforcer takes place over seven barren regions devoid of life and personality.
"Enforcer: Police Crime Action has potential, but its interesting concepts are buried beneath archaic graphics and broken gameplay."
Enforcer: Police Crime Action revolves around picking a male or female character and taking them through the life of a police officer. Its intriguing premise doesn’t extend beyond the description. The game opens with horrendous narration (whether playing as male or female) that sounds like it’s been recorded in a dungeon basement. Since the rest of the game handles dialogue via text, the introductory voice-over seems unnecessary.
Considering the GTA-style inspired foundation, Enforcer’s lack of gamepad support is unacceptable. The game is a nightmare to control. Character movement is sluggish and the shooting imprecise. Your vehicle is a ticking time bomb. Hitting a curb causes damage. Lightly bumping into other cars causes damage. Encouraging careful driving and emphasizing vehicle maintenance is appreciated, but when every minor turbulence requires repairs, it quickly turns into frustration. From the awkward third-person camera to the twitchy driving controls, Enforcer is a carpal tunnel syndrome waiting to happen.
"From the awkward third-person camera to the twitchy driving controls, Enforcer is a carpal tunnel syndrome waiting to happen."
The goal of Enforcer is to solve crimes and climb your way through different ranks. During each shift, you’re tasked with giving out parking tickets, catching speeding vehicles and responding to emergency calls. After answering a call, you have to drive to a small green blip on the map where you question generic, motionless AI characters about suspicious nearby activity. After learning a vague character description, you foolishly run in circles until you either spot the culprit or a red glowing marker indicates the suspect’s last seen position. When you close in, the suspect starts running, at which point you can either tase them or use your firearm. Yes, even if you’re pursuing some harmless vandals, shooting their knees seems acceptable. The game tells you that shooting someone without reason penalizes your performance, then hands you a perfect score for completing the mission. Is this supposed to be indicative of police corruption? It makes no sense.
A good variety of crimes happen throughout your shift. Sometimes you’re tasked with stopping armed robberies, other times you’re responding to domestic disturbances. Unfortunately, the formula rarely changes. Go to a location and run around until you locate the suspect. Take them down, then either call a van to arrest them or let an ambulance take them to a hospital. Maybe this should have been called Ferguson Simulator 2014 instead.
"Enforcer: Police Crime Action is precisely the kind of game Goat Simulator parodies. It’s barely functional and filled with bugs."
Enforcer: Police Crime Action certainly deserves credit for trying. When off duty, your character can roam around the city and visit friends and family. With enough earnings, you can purchase a new car and customize your home. Little things like eating food, sleeping to restore energy and getting gas for your vehicle give Enforcer a sense of realism. Unfortunately, the dubious sense of authenticity is only temporary. Many of these actions are just rabbit holes similar to the Sims.
Enforcer: Police Crime Action is precisely the kind of game Goat Simulator parodies. It’s barely functional and filled with bugs. Floating cars crowd drab environments that look like they’re constructed with bad stock-models. The amateurish gameplay is boring at best. I want to like Enforcer, but no matter how many times I venture through its confusing and defective world, I find it hard to recommend. Enforcer gets points for introducing interesting ideas, but sadly, an idea is useless without a competent execution.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC