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M (Mature)



Q1 2003



- Drop in and tune out
- Constant motion and activity
- Multiplayer a good way to spend some party hours
- A tribute to old school punch ‘em ups
- 100+ missions…



- … but only four levels
- Camera flings around sometimes
- Not much variation from the violence



Review: State of Emergency (PS2)

Review: X-Com - Enforcer (PC)

Review: Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)



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State of Emergency

Score: 6.6 / 10


state of emergency xbox review          state of emergency xbox review


Everyone has those tough days. Days you’d like to forget but can’t because it’s left a savage imprint of stress three kilometers wide across your body and soul. Any day that ends with, “I can’t wait to have a cold one when I get home,” counts as one of those days. This is exactly what State of Emergency (SOE) was made for and at $20US is cheaper, in the long run, than any beverage.

SOE appeared first on the Playstation 2 almost one year ago and the Xbox version isn’t drastically different. The frame rate seems to be better but the essentials are practically identical.

SOE’s story mode, Revolution, in a time not so far away when a totalitarian regime reigns supreme, pits you against a veritable army of Corporation goons and gang




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members. As an operative of Freedom it’s your task to carry out multiple missions to further Freedom’s cause and bring down the evil Corporation. The missions are doled out by other Freedom operatives and range from search and destroy, escort duty, stopping public executions, recovering specific items to taking out gang members but the overriding theme is mayhem, with a capital



The missions can feel a bit repetitive because, although there are 100+ missions, they take place over a mere 4 levels.

Multiplayer and Chaos modes is likely where you'll spend much of your time.

Chaos mode sports a number of sub-modes but the goals are largely the same: collect points by causing as much carnage as possible. And with a pick-up arsenal that includes shotguns, flamethrowers, grenades, rocket launchers, machine guns and garbage cans, creating pandemonium is not difficult. Just see what kind of mayhem you can create by standing at the end of a street and heating up a mini-gun. (Don’t worry about civilians though, they’ll keep coming no matter what). There is, of course, the old stand-by of your fists and feet that can do a good amount of damage too. Chaos is the mode you'll most want to play after a rough day -- the weapons are copious and the targets numerous. Blast and blow up everything! This motto wavers little with the multiplayer games.

SOE’s greatest claim to fame is the number of on-screen non-player characters (NPCs) at any given moment. Rockstar claims up to 250 (!) NPCs can be on-screen. Although there is no practical way to verify this claim since I can’t count that fast, I’ll accept it as fact. Regardless of this, the environments absolutely seethe with NPCs – an unrelenting horde of looters, civilians and Corporation “peace” keepers. Some reviews of the Playstation 2 version pointed an angry finger at the detail level of the NPCs, which is low. (Just an aside, these are people who have never been part of a mob – when faces become blurred and who you’re stepping over to get to the exit or off the street is insignificant. Besides the low-detail of the NPCs helps keep the framerates up.) Some missions are complicated by this very fact. If you have to run down a Corporation target, spotting him in a crowd can be very difficult (even though they’re highlighted). It’s at these times you’ll feel the need to “thin” the crowd.


state of emergency xbox review          state of emergency xbox review

If you haven’t picked up on the fact that SOE is a violent game, maybe the idea of a power-up that lets you decapitate enemies with one punch will. There aren’t any missions I can think of that require tact – the most tact involved is who to blast first.

Targeting and laying waste to Corporation enforcers is hit and miss. Depending on how they attack you’ll be scrambling to stay alive. The camera gets blocked at times, especially when you travel around corners. The right stick controls the camera but because you have to use your thumb to perform the main functions you’ll likely use the right trigger to just center the camera and leave it at that. The view feels loose most of the time even if it does move smoothly. Sometimes you’ll hit a sweet spot where you’re in the perfect position (and view) when a major attack occurs but this doesn’t happen often. Admittedly, the ability to strafe can alleviate some of this and the quick controls help SOE from being a write-off. (There’s no lock-on capability, but with so many targets, it would be impractical anyway.)

Like most beers, State of Emergency is empty calories (but with really loud explosions) and far more fun with friends. That doesn’t make it any less of a way to vent your feelings of frustrations at the world (and saves on therapy bills) but it does bring down the score since it’s too one dimensional – violence being the answer to all the Revolution missions without a stealth objection or changing environments to consider. Multiplayer is a great addition for when friends are over but ultimately, SOE can’t muster the staying power of a must-own title if it was a "full price" game. However, at $20US it may be a viable game to spend your money on.

- Omni
(April 12, 2003)


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