I’ve been extremely eager to get stuck into the Alpha build for 112 Operator after having delved into its predecessor, 911 Operator.
When I first got into 911 Operator, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Was I just going to be looking at a map? Or just taking calls? Well, it turns out it was both. Which initially, doesn’t sound like very tantalizing gameplay by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s more than that, and it’s deceptively more immersive than you would think. 112 Operator, even at this early stage, is also no pushover. Even though I’ve not been able to play too much of the Alpha, it’s already starting to size up very well, and improve on practically every single feature from the previous game.
I don’t want to prattle on too much about 911 Operator, when I should be trying to tell you as much about 112 Operator as I can. But, for comparison’s sake, it’s worth delving into it a bit for some extra context.
For starters, 112 Operator takes essentially every single element from 911 Operator and improves upon it. I can’t think of any features in the Alpha build so far that are lacking or are only on par with the previous installment. Even the miniscule details have been improved upon, the first of which I took notice of almost instantly, was the variety in phone calls. A cavalcade of different types of voice actors, some with wildly crazy-yet-believable problems. Okay, maybe some are situations from the previous game. Cat stuck in a tree? Yeah, that’s still going to happen. But having someone ring in about finding a corpse, and then pressing them only to discover they become increasingly irate and confusing, only for you to find out that they are the one to have done the killing? Better send some police with that ambulance.
As well as new and intriguing telephone calls, there are plenty of new scenarios too. Even the little things help to make a more varied and immersive style of play. But as I got through consecutive shifts, I was prompted to a whole new scenario entirely, one that will require a lot of resources and concentration – Big fires. Wildfires! Depending on the map you’ve chosen, although most of the starter maps have access to large parks of some description, and now that we also have access to predict the weather for your commencing shift, you have got to make sure you keep an eye out. Once a big fire starts, it will start to spread rapidly, making itself aware on your screen as the flame move and slowly start to reach inhabited areas. Send your fire crews, maybe even all of them, to tackle the situation as quickly as possible. (Those cats can stay stuck in trees a little bit longer, eh?) If you don’t tackle a large blaze quickly enough, you might have to send police to the nearby inhabitants to get people to evacuate, which can really jeopardize your playthrough and suck up all your resources.
Even though you could argue that 911 Operator wasn’t that visually impressive, you cannot say the same for 112 Operator. Even though it’s still a view looking down on the map, everything is a lot more sleek and cleaner, and a bit more modern too, particularly when zooming in, in case you have several cases going on in a small area. Everything about 112 Operator just feels a lot fresher and easier on the eyes. It doesn’t need to have top of the line graphics anyway, as that’s not what this game is about, but it is nice to see that the look has been updated along with its gameplay.
Okay, maybe one aspect of the game hasn’t changed entirely. The management of your emergency services teams has largely stayed the same, although we do have new additions of vehicles for each service, giving you the option to have some very different layouts to tackle different shifts. Word of the wise though, maybe don’t replace all your police cars with police horses. Whilst they are cheaper, they are not so amazing at pursuing criminals. Whilst there are new additions overall for each service, this aspect of the game has largely stayed the same for now. But really, it has not needed to change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
One aspect of the gameplay has changed, at least for now, and that’s the maps. One of my favourite features of 911 Operator was how, if you lived in a city at least, you could download the layout of your city and use it for your playthroughs. Hopefully they will still bring this feature back for the release, but for the time being we are given access to some of the world-famous cities to do our playthroughs on. One of the differences this time around however is that rather than just being given the entire city, it’s been scoped out better and instead, after successful shifts, you are granted to other districts of the city (as well as some new vehicles being granted to you) so you gradually gain more and more territory to operate over. I really enjoyed this feature, thinking how it was going to increase in difficulty overall, but be a much more interesting challenge overall in the endgame. Although, as this is still the Alpha build, it only allowed me access to a few districts. But knowing this will change is an exciting aspect, to see how well I’ll be able to manage to entirety of London, rather than just a small chunk.
I’m excited for the beta stage of 112 Operator. I’m even more excited for the final release! But for now, I’ll have to get my kicks out of playing 911 Operator, which I now have on PC and Nintendo Switch. Whilst it’s fun to play now, I eagerly await the future of the series in its next full installment. Everything is improved upon, and I’ll be there for it when it releases in full, in all its emergency management glory.
You can wishlist 112 Operator on Steam.