Most games have you violently dismembering aliens, nazis or some other easily identifiable foe. Some games like to get subtle with who you’re supposed to kill, as with Spec Ops: The Line. Other games make you feel like a horrible person for doing what you do (a particularly gruesome scene from GTA 5 comes to mind). This game isn’t trying to be like any of those games, instead it’s trying to provide a sense of empathy and connection to disembodied voices over a phone and it really does work.
From a gameplay perspective, listening to people over a phone line is boring and so there is a game here. Send your squadrons of cops, ambulances and fire trucks around cities (impressively, with map data pulled from actual maps) to take care of various issues. A slew of vehicles are available for you to use, equipment to put onto your workers and even the workers themselves have statistics that affect how well they do their jobs. The tasks that come up can be as benign as saving a cat from a tree or as frightening as a robbery gone wrong that became a shootout with the police. While these events pop up organically around the map, you’ll also get phone calls from people calling 911. That’s where the meat of your game breaks up.
From distraught fathers who have found the dead body of their daughter to concerned neighbors calling about street fights, the main thing the game is trying to preach is empathy and a cool head. Identifying if an issue is actually an emergency (sore stomach, did it start within the hour or is the caller complaining about a weeks old issue they should have already seen a doctor about?) and deciding how to send emergency services to help them fastest.
Overall it’s a pretty good game, solid mechanics and just enough of something different to hold interest. Beating it (completing each city) took a little over 6 or 7 hours, but with free play allowing you to use almost any city in the world there is a lot of replayability here if you enjoy the game. Additionally there is a small dlc to add some additional vehicles, equipment and events for variety but the game can absolutely be enjoyed without it!