Urban Chaos Riot Response


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


In a crowded market, Eidos' Urban Chaos Riot Response doesn't stand out through its gameplay. It's simple, generic, linear, and there little here we haven't played before. What Urban Chaos does do right is present this simply styled gameplay engine inside a high production value exterior, ridiculously high gore factor, and easy to grasp teammate system. It will become one of the sleeper hits this year.

urbanchaos1xbox.jpg (145030 bytes)Putting the player into the role of an overpriced crime unit T-Zero, you're stuck inside one of those classic crime ridden cities. It's a shoot or be shot scenario, and the amount of intelligence required here is hovering around the zero marker. Its level design is straightforward point A to point B.

Aside from the enemies (who are far too limited), Chaos features highly varied environments, and ensures the player doesn't spend hours wandering looking for a solution. The upgrade system is perfect for increasing the replay value. By performing certain tasks like incapacitating enemies instead of killing them, you're given new weapons. They're incredibly effective, and make playing through this one on its highest difficulty rewarding.

While escort missions are definitely too prevalent, they're handled in a way that they're not the usual burden on the player. With some limited control (stop, open doors, follow, etc.), they're smart enough to stay out of harms way and yell loud enough if the rioting street gangs begin an assault. It's not always escorting a secondary character, as they're typically needed to progress. Meeting up with cops, firemen, or paramedics generally increases the sheer chaos of the battlefield.

Urban Chaos brings other strong piece with it, and that's a riot shield. It turns an offensive minded genre into a defensive near-masterpiece. While it seems odd that this shield can stop anything, the way it's used during gameplay is the extra piece this game needed to be the success it is. While other characters won't be able to pass through a leaky, flaming pipe, you can by pulling up the shield and facing the hazard straight on.

With an intuitive weapon switching system, anything you need it easily accessed. Three of the face buttons select the three separate types of weapons (thrown, guns, and tazer). It's a shame there's no way to take health packs however. The only way to heal is to find a medic in the field and talk to her. If you're deep into a level, this is nothing more than a cheap inconvenience.

urbanchaos2xbox.jpg (134671 bytes)The graphics engine is on solid ground, and even when the gangs begin to overwhelm, the frame rate is able to keep up. Surprisingly, the FMV cinematics are not sloppy and cheap. They greatly increase the effectiveness of the story, and their professional quality is definitely above what we're used to seeing.

Xbox Live play is disappointingly limited. This FPS engine is faster paced than a standard shooter, and feels like its made for multi-player. Sadly, there's only one mode to play, an objective based team scenario. Even a basic deathmatch would have greatly increased this titles value.

Still, there's more than enough to handle in the single player. The challenge of trying to clear a level using almost nothing but headshots (made easier by superb hit detection) is a real challenge in later levels. The additional firepower is always worth the extra effort.

It's rare to see a FPS with such a strong single player focus anymore, but that allowed the developers to create an experience a few steps above what we're used to. The few innovations don't sound exciting when you're reading about them. It's their execution that will make you feel naked without them when you move onto something else. If you're not that concerned with online multi-player, this is one of the biggest surprises you'll find.


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Last updated: Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:11 PM