21/11/2020

๐Ÿš“ Autobahn Police Simulator 2 | Review | XBOX | "Some great ideas and moments hamstrung by severe technical issues" ๐Ÿš“ @zsoftware #GameDev #IndieGames

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Game Title: Autobahn Police Simulator 2

Platform reviewed: XBOX ONE

Rating 4/10

Whilst the score I’m giving Autobahn Police Simulator 2 isn’t numerically high, I want to come out of the gate by stating that I enjoyed my time with the game and really look forward to seeing where the series goes next. Under the myriad of problems that exist, there is a really tasty game here, begging to be let out.

In Autobahn Police Simulator 2, you play the role of a new officer on his first day at a police station that exists purely to police a section of the famous German Autobahn (I can’t type that word without thinking about The Big Lebowski) highways. 

A third-person police procedural that takes place on foot and in vehicles, you may think that you’ll be spending time handing out speeding offences and patrolling the beat…well, think again! This game is full of suicide, drugs, shootings…and rubber duck collecting (natch).

As you head out on various missions at the behest of your commander, a lot of things will be instantly noticeable and the majority of them are bad. The frame rate is rarely stable and constantly fluctuates, the character animations and models look almost PS2 quality, the voice acting is variable (beyond the main character), the camera is infuriating and various glitches (mostly graphical in nature) will make themselves known constantly throughout your run. 

Effectively, if we were to look at the game on a purely technical level it’s fair to say that this review would be far, far harsher.

Will all that out of the way, however, I really liked Autobahn Police Simulator 2. There was a real charm to the jankiness that saw me play through the entire 5-6 hour campaign and complete several side objectives and not in a ‘shrieking-Twitch-streamer-ha-ha-look-at-this’ way, I was genuinely enjoying making my way through the game and its idiosyncrasies, all the while wishing that the whole thing was just a far smoother experience.

There’s something oddly wholesome about playing a video game where you are a policeman bound to his duty. Every time I rolled up to a traffic collision or pulled someone over, I enjoyed going through the standard checks of putting out traffic cones, taking statements from those involved (British voice actors dropping into German when speaking names like Konrad Schneider)and taking pictures of the incident to put together an ‘accident sketch’ before hopping back into my car – always accompanied by my silent partner, Hans - and heading off to the next call that comes over the constantly chattering radio. 

The ropey quick time events that make up key points aside, the mini-games are well (if jankily) implemented and fit the game world; Breathalysing, the accident sketches, matching up driver licenses with vehicles, unlocking extras etc. I found them all oddly satisfying although I do wish that the dialogue choices and subsequent impact were used a bit more often although, again, this I assume was down to budgetary restraints. 

At this juncture, I’d also like to mention the rating of the game, although it is stated to be suitable for players aged 7 and over, the majority of the campaign deals with drugs, suicide (one of which you are hinted as being directly responsible for, due to a prior choice in the game) and even human trafficking, so….maybe not one for little Timmy.

The meat of the game is spent zipping around the titular Autobahn in your police cruiser, dodging traffic and trying not to reach 100% on your ‘chaos meter’. Effectively, this meter is a percentage gauge of how much havoc you are causing on the roads and, if it does reach 100% you reset to the last save point. 

Luckily, the game uses a sort of regenerating health model where the percentage slows drops after a few seconds of not smashing into anything. Fewf. I’d also like to point out that the distance markers to objectives aren’t entirely accurate. You may only have to drive three kilometres to your next port of call…but you may be on the other side of the motorway and I’d quite often have to drive five kilometres past it to turn over a bridge and back down the other side, this is especially grating on the time-sensitive missions but,  frame-rate issues aside, I really enjoyed the driving in the game and definitely recommend playing in the first-person mode to get the full effect of hurtling between lorries and screeching around corners.

It’s odd that, like my recently reviewed Cloudpunk, in the space of only a week I’ve played two games that really clicked with me but have been limited by fundamental technical issues to the point that a lot of people will probably be put off. 

Whilst Autobahn Police Simulator 2 is a tough one to recommend due to the above-mentioned issues, I really hope that a third game comes out and has more time spent on the basics such as camera work, animation, controls and overall smoothness. 

Clearly a budget title, the game really has promise and a lot of heart. If the game is somehow patched and the frame rate evened out, it would help a lot but there are so many niggles throughout that I don’t think it will ever be fully stable. 

That said, I really enjoyed my time with Autobahn Police Simulator 2 and wish the developers the best of luck, this may not be a game for the ages but I’m definitely a fan and will keep up with their future releases. 

Over and out.


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