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It's near the end of The '90s, and recent Police Academy graduate John Rimes has joined the local precinct with his best friend and partner Rick Jones for his first day as a police officer. Together they take on crooks around the city, and gradually uncover a sinister conspiracy.
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...so sets the scene for Police Stories, a top down shooter developed by the Russian studio Mighty Morgan and published by HypeTrain Digital. It was funded on Kickstarter on July 2nd, 2017, and released on September 19th, 2019 for PC through Steam and for Nintendo Switch, with the versions for PS4 and Xbox One expected in the near future.

You control one of a two man team, responding to multiple crime scenes with armed perpetrators. Much like the SWAT series, however, you are expected to arrest suspects as a default course of action; multiple less-than-lethal items are at your disposal to take down more stubborn perps and civilians, and lethal force is only allowed as a last resort. Not that you'll want to get into an actual gunfight, because you can take a few bullets before dying, and in the close quarters distance the crooks' aim is about as good as yours. Combined with how the levels are re-randomized each time you die, the game makes for a terse, Nintendo Hard, experience...

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Not to be confused with Jackie Chan's classic Police Story.

This game provides examples of:

  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. A puddle of blood soon forms around the body of anyone shot to death. Stepping into it leaves bloodied footprints as well.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The CIA doesn't show up, but this is Averted by the FBI, who supply criminal gangs with weaponry and plant bombs on American soil all for the sake of "removing crime in the long run".
  • Downer Ending: Da Chief gets arrested for masterminding the events throughout the game, though both John and Rick know that he’s only a pawn of his FBI bosses who actually orchestrated the whole thing. In fact, they’re the only ones who end up knowing, because the FBI threatened them and their families if they ever talked. In any case, the Chief gets released after two years for “good behavior”. John Rimes, having become disillusioned with how powerless the police are, doesn’t show up to work the next day, and is never seen again. The only consolation is that 15 years after the fact, the true story is relayed by a now-old Rick Jones to a journalist, having “made peace with death, and hoping to bring the true story of what happened to light. Pretty damn depressing for a Cliché Storm story.
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  • Dynamic Entry: A possible, and oftentimes recommended manner to enter and clear a room, either via breaching charge or flash-bang.
  • Everyone Lives: Possible, but unlike SWAT4, where you can take a beanbag shotgun and a pepper-ball gun, in Police Stories you get a taser with 4 cartridges and a couple of grenades tops, (and if you’re playing coop, you get an actually useful teammate too, but he’s also limited to using the above gear,) making achieving this significantly harder and at times counterproductive. To get an A+, you will have to take everyone in alive though.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of each level you get a rank based on how well you did. To get an A+, not only do you have to take everyone in alive, and have neither John nor Rick take damage, but you’ll also have to be extremely quick, to the point where you’ll be forced to ditch standard room clearing doctrine in favor of sprinting everywhere like a madman.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: On bomb levels, you'll need to interrogate the criminals on site for the bomb code, either by smacking them with your gun's stock, or by pepper spraying them. Some criminals will instantly give up the code, some will take a few smacks to start talking, and a few will refuse to talk at all, and attempting to interrogate those people will result in you killing them. Everybody seems to instantly talk with pepper spray, though.
  • Magical Defibrillator: The “defibrillator” item can bring any person back to life, albeit only once, despite the fact that the only possible injuries you can suffer from in-game are bullets and shrapnel. So if you accidentally kill someone with unauthorized force, you can bring them back to life after the level ends to mitigate your score penalty.
  • Phone-Trace Race: Parodied, when John and Rick come across a ringing phone at the Stone & Roberts warehouse:
    Rick: I’ll get it.
    John: Wait, wait! We should try to trace the call!
    Rick: Great idea, Johnny! Now let me just go get the tracing equipment... Oh, right. I don’t have it with me, since we’re...you know, NOT in a TV show.
    • Of course, they still get enough info from the criminals on the other end blabbing a bit too much to find where the call came from anyway.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Each level has a minimum point counter, and points are gained in each level by following proper police procedure. So if you treat the game like a generic first person shooter and just shoot all the perpetrators, you will never unlock enough points to play the next levels.
    • A Tap on the Head isn't as non lethal as some games make it out to be. If you butt-stroke an enemy too many times, they'll die.
    • While the game clearly labels the civilians and the criminals, it also features "fake civilians", i.e. either civilians who are conceal carrying a pistol or criminals who are disguised as civilians. And if you're not paying attention, a "fake civilian" with malicious intent will kill you as fast as an armed criminal will.

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