Welcome to life as an emergency service dispatcher. Prepare for the unexpected fire, the somewhat delusional citizen and a crisis that is brewing to overflow as the city you know and love show its true colours. Welcome to 112 Operator.
When you call the emergency services, your thoughts would be on the situation at hand and the operator who is instructing you and taking your details. This time 112 Operator flips the roles over and makes you fill the shoes of the dispatcher. What you do next is entirely up to you. Do you send the fire service to cat up a tree when there a small fire going? That decision is yours.
When you start, you have the option of either starting a campaign game or play in the free mode. The campaign will let you select a major city from around Europe and you are taking on control straight away. In free mode, you get to pick anywhere in the world. Straight away, I loved the fact I could put my home city and start running the show from my front door (kind of).
With any game mode, you have the difficulties of easy all the way to expert. Easy is a great start as this will let you understand the basics without incurring any penalties. It also provides fewer incidents and weaker criminals. Expert however is a whole new ball game and is what you should be aiming for. There is no in-game pausing, penalties for missing incidents and up to 40% more incidents than previous difficulties.
When starting, you will see the map of the world broken down into its ‘districts’. For example, London will have its boroughs as ‘districts’ and you will acquire those districts with career points. Some districts require more career points than others. Your residential and industrial type of areas will cost more career points as they will provide you with more activity. You will need to take into consideration that if you have a fire station down the road from your actual house, it will show up in game as well. May even be staffed when you start the game?
Which moves me on to units. Starting on easier the difficulties, you may start with the basic units. Patrol cars, ambulances and fire engines will fill some if not all the emergency service stations in that district. However, if you start in a major city like London, you won’t fill every station as there is so many in a populated area like that. The AI normally does a good enough job in spreading out your resources.
There also specialist units that are required for particular call outs. Technical fire engines are used for mechanical emergencies like a fallen tree or a lift that has become stuck. Whereas your large water tenders would be needed for the larger fires that will keep the fire at bay and probably extinguish faster. This goes for the Police as well who have SWAT teams and Undercover cars. While Ambulances have fly cars, which are much faster and can attend incidents ahead of the slower paramedic units. These are only a few examples and the list goes on and there is plenty to choose from while you take on more responsibility as an operator.
Incidents will appear on the map as they happen to make you have to decide what resources should go where. Keeping in mind that over dedicating to an incident could leave you vulnerable when another incident appears. This could be when one of the 60 unique calls come in. These are ‘live’ situations that come from either a member of the public or an operator. These calls will need to be listened to and dealt with. You may even have to provide life or death support and advice. But one wrong decision can make an incident where there is one person at risk to dozens needing treatment and assistance. Learning from the loading screens that provide basic first aid and scenario advice will help you in these calls.
I have come across something that I’d like to critique. Regardless of the location, they all share the same police, ambulance and fir service. What I mean is that the police in the UK do not traditionally carry firearms (apart from the firearms unit), but in game all units carry firearms. It would have been nice to have had a unique experience with other countries tri-services. It feels very much like an easy copy and paste from the previous instalment, 911 Operator. I did also come across a bug that halted all my units in the campaign mode. Although this was found while I was using the beta of the game, I am sure this will have been fixed for its April 24th release.
It is an improvement on 911 Operator with it being twenty five times bigger and boasting a nice 3D view of the map. You can employ additional operators to support you while you hold down multiple districts and try to keep a lid on things. With the addition of a weather cycle, incidents can appear unique to the time of the year and can prevent some vehicles from even operating due to the harsh conditions, taking note of this before starting your duty is vital to be an efficient dispatcher. Natural disasters will show up out of nowhere and will devastate your city and demand most of your attention and units. This will also apply to when horrible incidents occur that can happen absolutely randomly or like mentioned before, by your hand.
I did thoroughly enjoy the game. It is a great real time simulator that will keep you thinking and improve your decision making skills. Hell, you might even learn a few things on CPR and what happens when someone has an epileptic seizure and what you must do to prevent them from hurting themselves further. I hope it can implement localizing depending on the country, as I feel this would give a realistic edge to the experience. I look forward to the changes and what’s new coming out in the future.
112 Operator is out April 24th on Steam.