The Highway Patrol Expansion, the first major DLC for Astragon’s Police Simulator: Patrol Officers, brings a breath of fresh air to the familiar and fictional streets of Brighton. It expands the playable area significantly with the addition of the Brighton Highway district, a sprawling network of roads that invites players to engage in high-speed chases and tactical maneuvers like the PIT maneuver and roadblock requests. However, while this expansion offers a wealth of new content and features, it also stumbles in some key areas, resulting in a mixed bag of an experience.

The most notable addition in the Highway Patrol Expansion is undoubtedly the Brighton Highway itself. Cruising down the open road in a new police cruiser, siren blaring, is undeniably exhilarating. The expanded environment adds a much-needed sense of scale and variety to the game, providing a new playground for players to explore and enforce the law. The addition of new missions, such as cargo checks and highway assistance calls, further enhances the variety of gameplay, injecting a welcome dose of unpredictability into each patrol shift.

However, the expansion’s flaws quickly become apparent. The AI, both for drivers and fellow officers, remains frustratingly inconsistent. Drivers often exhibit erratic behavior, making highway chases more chaotic than thrilling. Fellow “officers” like arrest transports as well as tow trucks, meanwhile, can be unreliable when responding to backup requests, leaving players to fend for themselves. These AI issues detract from the overall immersion and can lead to frustrating moments that break the illusion of a realistic police simulation.

Technically, the expansion suffers from the same problems that affected the base game. Bugs and glitches, ranging from minor graphical hiccups to more serious issues that can disrupt gameplay. Texture pop-in, object clipping, and erratic physics are just some of the technical problems that players can encounter. While some of these issues may be addressed in future patches, their presence at launch is disappointing and detracts from the overall polish of the experience.

Another area where the expansion falls short is in its lack of substantial gameplay innovation. While the new missions and features add some variety, the core gameplay loop remains largely unchanged from the base game. Players still spend most of their time issuing tickets, responding to minor incidents, and engaging in occasional pursuits. The addition of highway-specific tasks, such as checking cargo for illegal items, is a welcome change, but it doesn’t fundamentally alter the core gameplay experience.

Despite these shortcomings, the Highway Patrol Expansion still offers a decent amount of content for its price. The expanded environment, new missions, and additional features are enough to keep players engaged for a considerable amount of time. However, the technical issues, inconsistent AI, and lack of significant gameplay innovation prevent it from being a truly outstanding expansion.

Overall, the Highway Patrol Expansion is a mixed bag. It delivers on the promise of a larger and more varied environment, but it stumbles in several key areas. Players who are willing to overlook its flaws and are simply looking for more of the same Police Simulator experience will likely find enjoyment here. However, those hoping for a truly transformative expansion that addresses the base game’s shortcomings may be disappointed. Once Astragon releases some patches, I would elevate the overall rating we scored it by a full point.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

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