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911 Operator (Xbox)

Developed by Jutsu Games, 911 Operator was released on PC back in February (currently available for £10.99) and has now been released on Xbox One for £11.99!

911 Operator is an emergency dispatcher simulation game where you are tasked with the extremely pressured role of answering calls, deciphering trolls from legitimate callers and dispatching the correct services to the right addresses!

Visually 911 Operator is incredibly simplistic with its menu and maps and to be honest, it wouldn’t make sense to have any elaborate scenes or background images as they would just be horrendously distracting and to be honest, I think it’s just fine as it is.

For me, the sounds on 911 Operator are a little hit and miss. The music is a little loud compared to the rest of the game but thankfully it quietens down as soon as you start your shift and if it really bothers you then you can always turn it down in the options. The call handler’s voice does irritate me slightly as I find it sounds just a little condescending “mmm-kay”, maybe it's because, to me, he sounds a little bit like Nicholas Cage so I noticed it more. 

At the very beginning of the game when you are given a quick tutorial, they recommend using a headset and I honestly couldn't agree more, I've played the game with and without my headset on and it's so much more immersive wearing a headset. I wonder if there could be a way to actually use your mic to play the game because that would be amazing!

Controls are pretty simple to grasp, choose which emergency service you need, click A and then go to whichever emergency they’re needed at and press A to send them there. In all honesty, I feel that here is where 911 Operator is let down a little, the controller is quite slow to move around the map so I find myself missing some emergencies entirely which is obviously not a good thing. It definitely feels as if the game is better suited to a PC mouse as that would be far more responsive.

Gameplay is smooth and its incredibly easy to spend a very long time playing, especially in free mode. Incidents will show up as little icons dotted around the map as they occur and are colour coded along with the type of emergency services they require (sometimes more than one). By completing a day of dispatching services (your duties) you will earn money which will vary depending on how well you have answered all of the calls and situations. It can feel a little slow at times just watching the vehicles wander around the map but thankfully, there is the option of speeding up (or slowing down) the game with LB or RB which I made very good use of!

There are three difficulties; easy, medium and hard (for those of you who want to be challenged) and there are two game types one being “Career” mode which has two different modes within:
  • Unique Stories – from Kapolei to Washington, there are 6 cities for you to progress through with ever-increasing difficulty. In order to unlock the next city, you have to reach a positive reputation after each duty, which is easier said than done!

  • Daily Routines – a more realistic approach to a dispatcher’s job and will take a lot longer to progress through as you’ll have to get the specified amount of reputation points before being able to continue.

There is also a “Free Game” mode where you choose your own city and play however you want to without restrictions or requirements. I love how you can download and play on maps in this mode, you literally just search for somewhere and it will download it! I really didn’t expect it to even have my town because it’s fairly small but it was! I have to admit, there was something strangely satisfying about sending emergency services to the familiar streets of my hometown!

Earning cash will allow you to improve your teams by hiring better performing staff, buying better and more efficient vehicles as well as being able to buy equipment for all of your staff members which will improve their abilities. The equipment can range from assault rifles and bulletproof vests for the police officers, tactical equipment and masks for the firefighters and defibrillator kits for the paramedics! It is incredibly easy to earn money but it is equally easy to spend all of it, especially when you’re just getting started and have to essentially start from scratch.

You are scored on whether you ignore the right calls, solving calls correctly which could mean providing the correct first aid knowledge over the phone and you are deducted points when you miss situations. All of these incidents and crucially how you react to them, will add up to your total reputation for the day and reflect on how much you earn!

Some of the emergency calls received are quite chilling and others are funny or plain ridiculous. I wish that the calls and situations in 911 Operator could be a little more varied. Perhaps going forward, there may be patches to include a little more variety but I’ve found that when playing in free mode, day in day out the calls seem to be quite similar (some are exactly the same) which is a bit of a letdown as a game like this shouldn’t really be predictable. I really love how there are slides showing you helpful tips and information about things such as how to perform CPR, basic first aid and also what to do in the instance of a car accident. It is such a thoughtful addition to a game like this and it really hasn't gone unnoticed!

Overall, 911 Operator is one of a kind on Xbox at the moment and is a lot of fun to play, especially if you’re like me and have ever wondered what it’d be like to be an emergency services call handler. If I had to give the game a score it would be 7/10, a lot of fun if you like simulation games. Aside from a few grumbles I’ve had, there is still plenty of enjoyment to get out of this game!

911 Operator has 14 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. Although the achievement list is fairly short, the game is by no means a simple completion as the majority of the achievements will unlock after playing the whole game (understandably) as well as carrying out specific (and sometimes tricky) tasks which could take a while for the right circumstances to present themselves. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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