911 Operator has an indistinct name, but it provides a memorable experience. 911 Operator, developed by Jutsu Games, immerses you in the daily life of a 911 operator, and does this amazingly well. When you start in the tutorial or career mode, you see your field of play: the map. This is not a graphically intense game. It’s just fancy squares, lines, and circles along a top-down map. 911 Operator does not need to be beautiful to impress. The wow factor is in the use of audio. There is a lot of dialogue, ambient noise, and sound effects.
In career mode, you start in the city of Kapolei which, it turns out, is in Hawaii. I learned something new! When you do well on each deployment, you score reputation points. That allows you to move on to bigger cities: from Albequerque, NM, to Chicago, IL, to San Francisco, CA. When you start your deployment, you will encounter two types of incidents: ones that just pop up on the map, and incidents you have to actively work out as an operator, talking to a caller. This is where the simulation gets very real. As soon as you take the call, the caller tells you their problem, and you have dialogue choices to make. If your attention wanes, the caller will wonder if you’re paying attention. You have to make a decision- the right one. The pressure increases when other incidents can pop up on the map as you take time gaining information from a caller. The calls are a bit of a puzzle, because there are times when the right question reveals new details. I wont give it away, but there is one incident I ran into that had a great plot twist. When I took that call the first time around, I did not learn this stunning info at all!
When not answering calls and directing units to scenes, you can manage the fire, medical, and police forces. Before you start a new day you can hire new staff, and buy vehicles and equipment for them. I found that I ran out of money quickly, because I wanted all my staff to have the equipment they should. I also wanted to have more vehicles to respond to calls, but each vehicle requires staff to be on them. So you have to spend wisely, or come up short.
I think that, although this is a fine game, 911 Operator can be tweaked here and there. The game saves your progress, but it would’ve been a better move to include a save indicator; it puts any fear of progress being lost to rest. I have also come across a glitch or two. When the work day has ended, I’ve had incidents that would not end. In trying to find a way to resolve the glitch on my own, I ended up getting fired, which means an instant game over. Speaking of a game over, I think that should also be tweaked. Who wants to lose the game so easily? In reality, you wouldn’t loose your job so quickly. They should create penalties, leading to a game over.
There is one DLC so far, and I don’t know how many will follow. The Special Resources DLC is a collection of additional weapons, units, and equipment for the main game. It’s basically an expansion pack, and costs £3.49 (€3.99, $3.99). I think a better DLC pack would be an incident pack including more calls, because the core of the game is in the phone call interactions. Having more in-game items feels like it would have been better served as an unlock.
911 Operator goes for £10.99 (€14.99, $14.99) on Steam, and is playable on PC, Mac, and Linux.
Reviewer: Vichus Smith