Urban Chaos Riot Response PS2 Review
Terrorists in games will always be controversial following events of recent years. In fact, it’s only really in the last couple of years that their presence has been even semi-acceptable, and by god a game had better give you the chance to play as the good guy blasting the hell out of them. In this respect, Urban Chaos Riot Response ticks all the right boxes. And it’s also a whole lot of fun! Is that politically correct? I don’t know, but I think enough time has now passed that we can begin to enjoy games simply for what they are.
At its heart, Urban Chaos is a relatively straight forward shooter that has an ace or two up it’s sleeve that makes it stand out from the crowd. You will play Nick Mason, a member of T-Zero: an elite Police Unit charged with cleaning up the city. The city needs cleansing as it has been all but taken over by a terrorist gang called The Burners, who have made the once safe streets into a war zone where it’s not safe to venture out in groups, let alone unaccompanied.
Graphically the game continues to show that the PS2 can hold it’s own amongst the next gen machines. Sure, it lacks a bit of the spit and polish of the XBox version and can’t match the 360 in terms of raw power, but this is an excellent looking game that has plenty enough in it’s graphical arsenal to immerse you in the ongoing battle. Character models are excellent, as are the ragdoll physics for the enemy’s deaths. These are particularly impressive in the automatic slow-mo that is turned on in the game by default. You can turn it off in the options, but I can see no reason why you would wish to do this. The city looks gritty and realistic with no noticeable slowdown or pop up.
As an elite member of T-Zero, you have been charged with taking the battle onto the streets and to The Burners’ backyard. The missions have various goals from simply slaughtering all enemies to catching the terrorists leader alive for interrogation. To aid you in your battles you will have access to all manner of high powered weaponry from assault rifles to shotguns to stun guns for taking prisoners in a non-lethal manner. In a nice touch, there are also unlockable bonus missions that, whilst not compulsory or necessary to finish the game, will reward you with prototype weapons that you can then take back with you into the main missions. These optional weapons are some of the most fun in the game, and you will want to complete the optional missions for the fun of using them against the enemy in the main storyline. Your progress in the game is monitored by news broadcasts from Channel 7 news, and these add a welcome layer of authenticity to the game.
One of the aces up the sleeve of Urban Chaos is the use of the ‘Riot Shield’. This is implemented superbly into the game, and it allows you to feel competitive against multiple enemies without making the game too easy. The shield will withstand most attacks, but you cannot use weapons effectively whilst using the shield. This means that you will undoubtedly use the shield to get into optimum position, but you will still have to rely on your own skills to take down the enemy. The shield can also be used as a close up weapon in its own right and is particularly effective in quickly immobilizing a troublesome adversary.
Thankfully, the game assists you in your task by way of some very tight controls that mean you always feel like your destiny is in your hands and not that you will die because of a faulty control mechanism. The controller layout is pretty typical for a shooter with the left analogue stick moving the character through the game world and the right stick being used to look around and aim. The d-pad is used to give instruction to the civilian forces that will accompany you in some missions. Firefighters can chop down locked doors, regular police officers will provide covering fire, and paramedics will heal your wounds. These non-playing characters have enough personality to make you care what happens to them and they really do add another level of immersion to the proceedings.
The game also rewards you for accuracy within your missions with a myriad of unlockables that completists will really want to work hard to achieve. The sound within the game is also impressive, although it must be said that the language used is extremely colourful. In fact, at this point I will remind you that the game is rated ‘M for Mature’ for a reason. There is a lot of swearing and extremely graphic violence contained within and this is certainly not a game to buy for the children in the family.
The main story will take you around 10 hours to complete, with the extra unlockables taking around 5 hours of additional play, meaning you will be getting somewhere in the region of 15 hours gameplay for your cash. This will be quite a ride as well, and is bolstered by a solid if unspectacular online option that sees 8-player team battles that occur with minimal lag. This is not a game to buy primarily for the online component – it is a single player game at heart, but the online option is certainly welcome for extended play.
Overall, Urban Chaos Riot Response is a worthy addition to the library of PS2 shooters, and one that does just enough differently to make it stand out from the crowd. It is not revolutionary by any means, but its combination of excellent graphics and sound, tight controls and interesting story make it certainly worth a play through. Replay value of the main game is limited to unlocking all secrets, but the online play will extend the longevity here significantly if you have the means to take your PS2 online. It is recommended then, but don’t expect any jaw-dropping innovation. What you will get is an interesting and comprehensive shooter that is a great swansong for the outgoing PS2.
An interesting and comprehensive shooter that is a great swansong for the outgoing PS2.