911 Operator – Xbox One Review

Developer Jutsu Games have brought us a unique strategy/ simulation game in the form of 911 Operator, where you play the role of an emergency services operator, managing your units and making tough choices, but does title require urgent playable attention or do you ignore the call for this?

The minute I loaded up the game, I was faced with a surprising option of something to download. The game had asked me if I was playing in the city of Kingston upon Hull and if I would like to download the map for this city. I was immediately impressed, even though I had no idea what was waiting for me once I started the game, but nevertheless I grinningly downloaded the map, because after all, everything is better when it’s personalised.

Before I could play in my home city, I had to undertake a tutorial, which can be skipped if you wish, but it is highly recommended that you go through with it. Considering it’s a strategy title to some degree, it’s a relatively simple one at that. Before you begin the game, you have a budget in which you must allocate any medical, fire or police units that will be patrolling your city on a GPS-style grid. You then must place those units around the map, taking into consideration all the roads that can be used for your units to travel along. Police units move the fastest whereas fire units are the slowest, so placement is key. Once you’re ready, you can start operating.

911 operator 4

You’ll get random ‘response’ calls where it will detail the type of emergency, including the colour of which unit will be required (blue for police, white for ambulance and red for fire engine) and it’s up to you to determine whether you send any vehicles out to the incident or simply ignore. After all, you only have a limited amount of resources at your disposal and sending a fire engine to get a cat out of a tree could mean that you won’t have any fire units to send out to a real fire, with possible lives in danger. It’s at this moment you realise just how hard it must be for an actual emergency response operator to make these tough decisions.

On top of that, you get calls from people where you must deduce the type of unit required, if any unit is even required at all that is. For example, a situation I came across involved a woman ringing for pizza and the observant side of me noticed some muffling in the background. You’re given several options in which you can respond with and I decided to go with the “Are you in danger and cannot talk?” response. This resulted in her waffling on about ordering pizza, whilst I was asking her the all-important questions which resulted in me sending out a police unit along with an ambulance and lo and behold, I think I saved her life. However, I also received a call from a young boy asking a ‘math’ question (it’s maths not math!) so again, I asked him if he was alright and he simply replied “Yes I just need to know what ten plus four is”. After helping the poor kid out, his mother came on the phone and apologised and the call was ended – no units needed to be sent out. This also makes you realise again the decisions faced by these real-life operators, when in reality the operator would’ve pointed out the importance of these calls. It’s certainly changed my view on emergency operators – the amount of stressful calls they would need to deal with on a daily basis, let alone an hour playing this game was stressful enough.

I must say though that it was certainly amusing to be sending out units to areas of recognition, especially sending out police to a house disturbance in an area of Hull already known for these kinds of incidents. Having said that, this is the same ‘rinse and repeat’ game and after a few hours of playing, you will probably have heard all the calls there is to be heard, the only change being the location of those incidents. It is a great game and definitely a thought-provoking one to some extent, that will keep you entertained for a short while, but nothing long-term here, unless they decide to include some DLC in the future.

 

911 Operator is available to download on the Xbox Store from 8th November, ringing in at £11.99.

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