Review by Fireblade179
"Finally, a chance to be a real cop."
Walking through my local game store, I've seen Urban Chaos: Riot Response sitting on the shelves for quite some time. The idea of playing a cop, or in this case a Riot cop, has always been an appealing idea, although most police games are either tactical squad based, or "How the heck do I tell my squad to attack?!?! Oops, too late." squad based. This game has finally broken that terrible chain to deliver something extremely pleasing. Let me begin by saying that this game has absolutely no relation to a previous Urban Chaos game, also released by Eidos, a number of years back; nor does it have relation to anything squad based. This, my friends, is like Black, minus half of the mindless shooting, with a healthy handful of atmosphere, tactics, and interesting and fun ways of enforcing the law.
The premise behind UC: RR finds the player in the role of Nick Mason, a soldier returned home to find his city in absolute ruin, overrun by gangs all intent on flipping the whole place upside its own head. Mason's father, having been a police officer himself, was set alight while the gangs held off rescue services, all so they could watch him burn. Mason returns home, obviously pretty annoyed by his father's death, to exact revenge on the gangs responsible. The way? By joining the brand new T-Zero (Zero Tolerance) riot response squad.
UC: RR is completely first-person. You begin each mission with a news report detailing the latest crisis gripping the city. Not only does this act as a briefing, this also adds the feel that he city really depends on you for it's survival. This alone is far more appealing than simple scrolling text detailing your next mission.
Your arsenal consists of many standard issue police weaponry. The pistol is an exremely effective weapon, especially in delivering headshots (which all count towards earning medals, the game's equivalents of achievements). You also have a riot shield which can be immensely helpful in controlling dangerous situations. The only problem with relying on the riot shield too much is the chance that gang members will swarm and dogpile you while you're not looking, although that only happens if you sit there for too long behind it. You can unlock other weapons such as a Shotgun, and pick up gang weapons such as Molotov cocktails, Cleavers (think "big butcher knife") and sawn off shotguns. Not only that, but you are encouraged to use your stun gun not only for non-lethal takedown achievements, but apprehending a gang leader alive will also net you access to a special level where you can further upgrade your weapons and unlock more medals. The arsenal is definitely impressive and fun to play with, and really makes you feel like a seriously badass riot officer.
The gameplay is absolutely wonderful. Going through levels, you'll have people to save, gang members to put down, and situations to diffuse. Hostage situation will arise; a gang member will use a hostage as a human shield while firing off shots at you. When he stops to reload, you go into bullet-time mode, wih a few seconds to take a shot at his head. With enough shots, he'll usually go down in a VERY satisfying way, and you'll have yourself a safe hostage. Health is restored by finding medics along the way, so you're never usually short of health.
The graphics, as far as Xbox go, are NOT bad. I honestly believe that if the graphics had to be pushed further, then we would be stuck with some serious slowdown. While not the most graphically impressive game on the Xbox, it's far from bad.
The sound is... well, it's fine really. Some of the special services you play with do sound a little scripted, but otherwise the sound is damn fine.
As far as Replay value goes, this is the only game I've ever felt like going back and playing missions again, because maybe I could do some thing a little better, or get more medals. I don't know why, but I still feel like playing the first mission over and over again. There is also, from what I'm told, a multiplayer element, however I have no access to Live! so can't comment.
Now, for the complaints. Although I am far from completing the game, I can complain about very little so far. Once or twice, the game has felt a little sluggish, like the game was actually meant for the Xbox 360 but found itself sitting on last-gen hardware. It's by no means laggy, but can feel like the Xbox is being overwhelmed by things it was never meant to process. Otherwise... that's it really.
Overall: 8/10. (I would happily give this 8.5/10 if decimals were allowed)
Last words: This game is something you HAVE to play. I'll honestly say this is an incredibly, incredibly enjoyable and addictive game. Not only that, but it's truly unique in the way it presents itself. For once, we're no longer talking about sending squad mates in to diffuse situations - the time for that is over. Now, we need to take back the city by force. We need to run in there and eliminate the threat by any means necessary. Sometimes, a bullet to the head is far more effective than flanking and flashbangs, although if that's what you choose to do, this game lets you.
As for me, I'm going back to playing, and wondering why I didn't give it a 9/10.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/28/06
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