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911 Operator Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . For as much fun as I had with 911 Operator, I will freely admit that this is not for everybody. Chances are you already know if you're into based on what you see here. It never turns into an action game or tell a compelling story, but what it does is both fun and addictive. Successfully managing the city's emergency vehicles is surprisingly satisfying, and I had a huge smile on my face most of the time. Well, except for a few of the emotional calls, but that comes with the territory when you're a 911 operator. Rating: 78%
911 Operator
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
The cool thing about video games is that you can make just about any occupation fun. The appropriately named 911 Operator is a perfectly example of this, as it puts you in control of a city's emergency crews. It's a real-time strategy game where you have to juggle the police, medics and fire teams as they rush around saving people's lives. This may sound overwhelming, but it turns out to be an incredibly engaging simulator that is all about choosing priorities and keeping the city safe.

911 Operator is the debut title from Polish developer Jutsu Games, who trades flashy graphics for a scaled back design with an easy interface. You view the action from a map, putting you in the shoes of the man on the other end of a 911 call. You can see where all of the different emergency crews are located, so you'll want to pair the right teams with each event.


Sometimes you'll need to send the police to break up a domestic disturbance, while other times you'll have to get the fire trucks and ambulances involved to deal with a blaze. You'll have to send the motorcycle cops to chase down speeders and get the medics to a heart attack victim before he dies. It's basically everything you would expect from a job as a dispatcher, only now you earn reputation points and money to upgrade your emergency crews.

It's these hooks that will keep you coming back. Before each round starts, you'll need to go over your staff, equipment and vehicles to make sure you have what you need. You can buy new guns and body armor for your cops, as well as load up the fire teams with different vehicles. When somebody gets injured in the field, you'll have to cycle through the possible candidates and hire a replacement. A lot of this reminds me of XCOM, though don't expect to run into any Sectoids or Thin Men on this adventure.

As you might expect, a lot of your job involves answering 911 calls. These are handled through graphic adventure-style dialog options, complete with full voice acting and conversations. Not all of the calls are as straight forward as you might expect, with some being false alarms and others requiring more than one emergency team. You'll have to decide how best to handle each situation, while constantly juggling only a few emergency crews. And you better not let anybody die, because the game will take away reputation points for every wrong decision.

911 Operator (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

There isn't really a story here, so you'll go into each shift not knowing what to expect. The goal, beyond keeping everybody safe, is to earn enough reputation points to unlock the different cities. We start out in Kapolei, Hawaii, and then move on to Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and New York City. Each location has new types of emergencies to deal with, including some based on popular TV shows and movies. I knew there was going to be a Breaking Bad situation in Albuquerque, and the game threw it at me within the first few minutes. For as serious as all this is handled, there is a level of cheekiness to some of the emergencies.

Perhaps the coolest aspect of the game involves playing in the town you live in. Assuming you live in a large enough city, you'll be able to download a local map and pretend you're helping your community. While it doesn't radically change the way the game's played, I would be lying if I said I wasn't into monitoring my hometown. It's neat seeing familiar streets and locations pop up, even if it's completely fictional.

When it comes to the downsides, I found that 911 Operator became a bit repetitive after a while. Even when you switch locations, you're still dealing with a lot of the same issues. In fact, you'll deal with many of the same callers multiple times. Granted, this is likely no more repetitive than being a real 911 operator, but the sameness did get to me after a while.

911 Operator (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's also worth mentioning that there's day one downloadable content, which some people may not be thrilled by. For an additional $4, you'll unlock eight special emergency vehicles, six new types of equipment and more than a dozen new event types. This DLC was initially a Kickstarter incentive, so it makes sense why this stuff is sold separately. That said, it's hard not to feel like you're buying an incomplete product, especially when some of the additions change the way the game is played.

For as much fun as I had with 911 Operator, I will freely admit that this is not for everybody. Chances are you already know if you're into based on what you see here. It never turns into an action game or tell a compelling story, but what it does is both fun and addictive. Successfully managing the city's emergency vehicles is surprisingly satisfying, and I had a huge smile on my face most of the time. Well, except for a few of the emotional calls, but that comes with the territory when you're a 911 operator.
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