Review by BloodGod65

"The Streets are Alive… With Gunfire!"

Riot Response snuck onto the market a few years back with little fuss or clamor. No doubt it was passed over by many due to the simple fact they hadn't heard of it. However, it's never too late to go back and check out what you missed. And if you've got a taste for old-school shooters packed with nonstop action, so much the better.

Riot Response revolves around a hard-line police force that goes by the name of T-Zero (which stands for Zero Tolerance). T-Zero is a new measure recently formed in order to fight a vicious gang known as the Burners, who have recently decided to wage war on the city, destroying anything and anyone they please. As golden boy, Nick Mason, it's up to you to end the gang violence by any means necessary. The story is primarily presented between missions, through live action news stories. As is to be expected, they're a bit cheesy, but not unbearably so and it's actually a surprisingly effective way of conveying the state of the city.

The bulk of the game is comprised of over a dozen missions which will have Mason doing everything from playing hostage negotiator, arresting gang leaders, helping emergency workers through an area to do their job or just blasting anything that moves.

Emergency workers are a unique element of Riot Response. At times Mason will be working side by side with the police, EMS personnel and firefighters. Medics usually need Mason to lead them to an injured civilian, and can give him a health boost if his health gets low. Firefighters will follow Mason into burning buildings, and can put out small fires and chop down doors.

Most missions are filled with action, and surviving takes a quick trigger finger. Mason has a huge arsenal, and unlike today's wimpy heroes who can only carry a few weapons at a time, he can carry everything he owns at one time. True, it's unrealistic and means you'll never have to think for more than a few seconds about what's right for the job, but it means the action never slows down. Amongst his arsenal is a special issue shotgun, pistol and assault rifle complete with a fancy scope. He also packs a taser for those non-violent takedowns, along with grenades for the extremely violent takedowns. As he kills Burners, he can even pick up their weapons, which consists of stuff like cleavers, electric saws and Molotov cocktails. However, his most important weapon is the riot shield. This defensive weapon can be raised at the press of a button and will deflect anything that is thrown at it, bullets, cleavers or even explosives. If you get close enough to an enemy it can even be used to deliver a playful smack across the head, which usually results in death for whoever is on the other side.

All this weaponry is actually fun to use thanks to spot-on shooting mechanics. Nailing headshots is almost disgusting easy (though it never fails to amuse). Once players unlock the scoped rifle, the game becomes a clinic in single shot annihilation.

For me, there's an element to Riot Response that borders on miraculous. It actually gives players incentive to replay levels. Each and every mission in the game comes with a set of secondary objectives which involve getting a certain number of headshots, non-violent takedowns, not dying and other things. Complete any of these objectives and Mason is awarded medals. These medals will unlock extra stuff such as better weapon damage, large ammo capacity and even new weapons. These objectives can also be completed on a higher difficulty level for more medals.

Riot Response has a very dark and rough atmosphere. Missions take place on war-torn streets filled with small blazes and overturned cars, others in burning buildings. Enemies look pretty brutal, as most of them wear hockey masks and are covered in blood. As for the technical aspects of the graphics, the game isn't the best looking shooter on the PS2, but it has its own style and there aren't any areas that are blatantly ugly. Frame rate also stays smooth throughout the game.

One interesting touch is how the game makes use of slow motion kills, which typically highlight all the unusual ways in which you dispose of your enemies. Shooting an enemy perched above ground will usually show him staggering and falling off. A point blank shotgun blast will almost always result in a slo-mo view of an enemy flying backwards in a blood mist.

The accompanying audio is merely average, as guns don't seem very loud. Voice acting is passable, but enemy lines are repeated often. The best aspect I found was with the slow motion kills, where an enemy's skull colliding with a wall or the ground produced a nice “thunk”.

THE VERDICT
Riot Response isn't a revolutionary shooter, but it is a good experience for those who like their shooters frantic and violent. The game also has a distinctly old-school vibe, what with its non-regenerating health system and the ability to carry all your weapons at one time. Action fans might want to go hunt this one down.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/09

Game Release: Urban Chaos: Riot Response (US, 06/13/06)


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