Urban Chaos: Riot Response PS2 Review

There might come a day when a violent uprising hits the streets. It might be so bad, that buildings burn, crazy people in masks do crazy stuff and a new task force would be needed to deal with all the out of control rioting. Perhaps it won’t get this bad, but Urban Chaos sure does an admirable job at placing you in the middle of such a scenario.

Whilst there’s no real characters as such and a lack of realistic drama, the plot is still nicely done. It’s fed to you through news broadcasts, and sees T-Zero – a controversial new outfit – hit the streets to deal with a mad gang who like to burn stuff. T-Zero are formed to clean up the mess and rid the city of the aptly titled burners. The public are first uncertain of T-Zero with their methods often coming into question. Unsurprisingly you are a key member of this cleanup team.

Like EA’s BLACK, Urban Chaos is a FPS with plenty of attitude and is the gaming equivalent of a mega budget movie. Whilst you won’t be doing any redecorating with your guns, you’ll often find yourself in the middle of burning infernos that are unpredictable and impressive. It certainly looks the part, it’s just a shame that sudden and unexpected random events aren’t possible as the game is entirely scripted, still you won’t know what to expect the first time around, which is a good thing and is sure to lead to a few pant wetting moments.

The emergency services even play a part in proceedings, with paramedics helping out the injured and serving as your only source for health packs, firemen meanwhile break doors down (especially handy if there’s a fireball waiting to escape) carry people out of burning labyrinths and extinguish flames, finally there’s the police who assist you in some of the gunfights. No real surprises there, which isn’t so bad until you come to the realization that it’s really quite a poorly implemented feature. The game is so linear that instructing these lot feels almost entirely pointless, although it does make things that little more believable and sings the praises of the emergency services, something that isn’t exactly commonplace in games.

Urban Chaos is no realistic military style FPS, it’s more of a fun arcade type experience. You won’t be needing to scramble for cover, as a riot shield becomes yours early on and is available on demand with the press of a button. The shield obviously protects you from any incoming bullets or projectiles, but at the expense of a little speed and when it is hit with bullets it results in you being forcefully pushed backwards a step or two and even boasts some rather superb looking real-time damage.

There‘s quite a varied selection of things to do, sometimes you’ll be assisting the fire department in finding choked out civilians inside burning buildings, scoping out the injured for paramedics to tend to, putting a stop to hostage scenarios and just fighting your way through the crazy thugs with masks. There’s also secondary tasks, which earn you medals upon accomplishing them, these require you to take out a number of enemies with head shots, incapacitate them with your guiltily fun taser, and to avoid using any continues. Gang leaders are meanwhile best captured alive (if only to unlock a number of bonus missions!), and the use of a taser allows you to put enough electricity through their bodies to send them to the deck where they belong, just don‘t get too carried away, as not even a virtual human can withstand an overwhelming amount of volts.

It could have been superb online but the uptake hasn’t exactly been marvellous, going by the empty servers that we were met by upon attempting to get some broadband multiplayer time in. It’s a shame as there’s some good ideas here, such as protecting or blowing up vans, and rescuing or holding hostages. We experienced online with a mere individual (each game can provide spaces for up to 8 players) and enjoyed it, so we can only imagine how great it would be with four players on each team striving to complete their objectives.

Top marks must go to Rocksteady Studios for a mostly stellar set of urban levels, which fittingly look like some out of control lunatics have taken charge and caused a lot of damage, it’s certainly a good imagining of hell on earth.

Despite feeling a little underdeveloped in some areas, Urban Chaos is still a superb shooter. This only leaves us to say: “excuse us for the very much intended pun, but this game is a real riot!”