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112 Operator Review

112 Operator Review

When I was around 14-years-old, someone broke into my house when I was home alone playing Runescape. Before I could even react, they quickly scurried away once our home security system activated, but something has always stuck with me from that night. Hours later when my parents arrived home and we had moved on from the whole ordeal, a police officer came knocking on our door asking if everything was okay. I was angry at them because if that burglar would have stayed the situation could have been a lot worse, but 112 Operator has got me looking back at that event in a completely different light.

112 Operator is a simulation/strategy game where you embody the role of a dispatcher for emergency services (police department, fire department and hospitals) as you have to manage how and when to use your resources for numerous situations. Some of you may have played the predecessor 911 Operator, and from what I can gather, 112 Operator is essentially a more polished version of that. But for those who haven’t (such as myself), 112 Operator shows you how challenging the job of a dispatcher – and in reality, all emergency services – can be from the moment you hit start.

In the campaign, you have the option to be the dispatcher for numerous European cities such as Paris, Berlin, Rome and more, but there is a free mode where you can choose any city in the world if you reside elsewhere. With whichever option you choose, you’ll start with a small portion of the map. 112 Operator is a fairly straightforward game to grasp. As you start the day, you’ll immediately begin to see icons popping up on the map indicating the issue and who should be sent based on the colour of the icon. White icons are for hospitals, blue for the police department and red for the fire department, or there could be a combination of the three. To proceed further, you just drag the closest appropriate emergency service for the job to the location and wait for them to deal with it.

The actions of the emergency service workers can be seen in the call menu when they arrive and are represented by circles with colours that match the department they’re from. You can see how long it will take to handle the situation or check to see if they might need reinforcements. This is all there really is in terms of gameplay; 112 Operator is more about how to handle the situations the game throws at you as you are rated on if you can effectively manage your units to get the job done. This is where 112 Operator shined a new light on my childhood experience with the police.

The stress that 112 Operator invokes by having you choose between two or three different emergencies is tremendous and it only gets worse as the game proceeds. You get phone calls throughout with some surprisingly convincing voice-acted dialogue from your character and the caller. A number of these calls can be rather grim with some calling about an abusive partner or suicide attempts. But others call with things not as important such as their boyfriend attempting to drunk drive, a cat stuck in a tree, or burglary with no real danger (*cough cough*). To find out if it’s really worth your time, you have to question them with the five W’s along with others and make the call yourself if you plan on sending units their way. While the phone calls are engaging in the beginning, they become stale quickly due to repeating calls that take away from the simulation aspect.

There is no real story to 112 Operator; its ‘story’ are the big events that transpire as you get promotions and take over more districts. The events can be weather-related (tornados, fires), crime-related (gang wars, serial killers) or economy-related (concerts, rallies). You usually get a warning when these events are about to occur so you have time to plan accordingly, which is the other part of 112 Operator.

Before you begin the day of an emergency dispatcher, you have the chance to move each unit available wherever you want on the map. You can also buy additional units, hire more workers and buy new equipment for those workers as they are unlocked with the money you earn from each night. There are different types of vehicles and equipment for different tasks that get unlocked as the game progresses, but it was impossible to track who had what equipped when you’re on the job making the equipment somewhat useless. Money earned can additionally be used on operators at the halfway point to help you with districts when it becomes too chaotic. They aren’t as useful in the beginning, but when you end up controlling the entire city, it becomes impossible to do your job without them.

Other things can be done when not in dispatcher mode such as checking the weather to prepare for weather-related emergencies or reading emails from people you helped or didn’t help. Additionally, you can get emails for incoming rallies, concerts or escort jobs to prepare for those as well. The last tab contains crime statistics for each district so you can place the appropriate units in areas that need them. For example, if one region has a high chance of fires because of its forests, it would be wise to place more fire engines in that area.

Visually, 112 Operator isn’t trying to blow anyone away. You’re mostly just looking at the map of whichever city you chose for the entirety of the game with a couple of cutscenes for the bigger events. Despite its simplicity, there are still some issues. Towards the end of the game when you’ve unlocked most of the map, it turns into a mishmash of icons as you get hit with incident after incident. It becomes difficult to track what emergencies you have dealt with, which ones you’re dealing with and what units are doing what, but thankfully the dispatchers you hired can help.

Despite its repetitive call cycle and crowded map, 112 Operator is a stressful yet enjoyable simulation/strategy game that truly shows the hardships of working as an emergency service operator. Plus, it helped bring closure to a childhood event that I didn’t know I needed.

7.50/10 7½

112 Operator (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Despite its repetitive call cycle and crowded map, 112 Operator is a stressful yet enjoyable simulation/strategy game that truly shows the hardships of working as an emergency service operator. Plus, it helped bring closure to a childhood event that I didn’t know I needed.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Richard Shivdarsan

Richard Shivdarsan

Staff Writer

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