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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Rocksteady

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2006

 

 

- Harkens back to the classic Sega shooter game such as Virtua Cop or House of the Dead II

- Plenty of hours of tense, action-filled shooting action

- Co-operative NPC firefighter and paramedic missions bring a nice wrinkle to the gameplay

 

 

- Online “urban streets” sparsely filled with gamers

- Graphically below average considering how far into the Xbox lifecycle we are

- “On-rail” linearity

 

 

Review: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (XB)

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Review: Call of Duty 2 (360)

 

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Urban Chaos: Riot Response

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

The urban jungle is aflame, as the city is burning to its very foundation. The Burner gang is the culprit, and it’s up to you, as T-Zero Elite Police Officer Nick Mason, to deep-freeze the Burners and save the city. That’s the premise for the surprisingly enjoyable shooter, Urban Chaos: Riot Response.

 

urban chaos riot response          urban chaos riot response

 

In a title that will remind many old-school gamers of classic Sega shooters such as Virtua Cop and House of the Dead II (and the recent sequel, House of the Dead III), Urban Chaos: Riot Response brings hours of tense, action-filled shooting to the Xbox, with some co-op NPC missions that break the monotony of playing through the single-player story mode’s typical “lone hero versus the horde of bad guys” action gaming fare. Despite a tepid online showing (due to a lack of quantity of opponents and a sometimes-ungodly wait just to begin an online match) and an on-rail linearity, Urban Chaos: Riot Response is a good respite from the usual first-person shooter.

 

As Nick Mason, your job is to put out the fire, so to speak, of the out-of-control Burners, who at first seem to be nothing more than a anarchistic, unorganized

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street gang who like things hot, hot, hot. The story is told using a mix of in-game cut-scenes along with unexpectedly good live-action newscasts that are probably better than what many folks see while watching their own local news program. As the game progresses, Mason uncovers that not only are the Burners organized in their spreading of urban 

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chaos, there’s a terrorist group behind them, with a much more destructive objective in mind: using a weapon of mass destruction to not just burn, but vaporize the city.

 

At first, gameplay seems to be like any other first-person shooter. But after a while, you’ll notice more similarities with Sega shooters Virtua Cop and House of the Dead II. Many Burner enemies come straight at you, sometimes brandishing deadly butcher’s knives or chainsaws, and in classic Sega shooter fashion, you’ll need to dispatch them before they get close enough to inflict some body bodily harm upon you. They’ll shoot at you from stationary positions, too, but the most common Burner strategy is to come running out at you to either shoot, slice or scorch (with Molotov cocktails) before you can calm their chaos.

 

While Urban Chaos: Riot Response’s co-op play only involves you and a NPC firefighter or paramedic, it is a very good addition to the game. With the firefighter, you’ll need him to use his fire axe to open doors and douse fires in your way with his extinguishing equipment. He’ll count on you to keep away all the Burners that threaten him while he’s fighting the flames. The paramedic, who also provides you with health kits throughout the game, needs to be escorted to injured civilians or other emergency services personnel. These co-op missions help alleviate the solitary hero gameplay that makes up the bulk of Urban Chaos: Riot Response.

 

Along with the standard shooting action, there are goals to accomplish that open up game bonuses. Bonuses can be had if you use your Taser and “arrest” a Burner instead of killing him, and there’s also a similar goal to “arrest” the leader of the particular Burner gang you’re battling at the time. However, it’s much easier (and much safer to your survival) to just kill them, although you’ll be scolded if you blow away the Burner leader. You won’t get the bonus, but you’ll get to the next level much quicker, although those wanting a taxing challenge should take on the Burners using just their Taser.

 

urban chaos riot response          urban chaos riot response

 

Weaponry to fight the Burners ranges from the usual suspects of pistols, automatic rifles and shotguns. Add the clichéd chainsaw and a butcher’s knife along with a few makeshift incendiary devices. One important item isn’t a weapon, but a valuable defensive item: your riot shield. The shield can protect you from gunfire, Molotov cocktails and even backdrafts in the firefighter co-op missions. One cool aspect visually is that the riot shield will actually reflect damage, and the more damage you suffer to the riot shield, the harder it will be to see through the shield. And seeing clearly through the shield is a necessity. Particularly when confronted with the many hostage situations you’ll encounter that require extensive usage of the shield to help assist you in freeing (by deadly force) the hostage.

 

That impressive shield visual, however, is one of the only areas where you’ll be awed with Urban Chaos: Riot Response’s graphical presentation. Considering how far this game was released in the Xbox’s lifecycle, Urban Chaos: Riot Response is a below-average title visually, although as mentioned before, the live-action footage employed by the developer is rather notable.

 

Urban Chaos: Riot Response does have an Xbox Live presence, although the cyberspace “streets” are generally sparsely filled. It also can take awhile for a game to actually begin once you get signed into a particular game session. Once you start playing online, Urban Chaos: Riot Response provides an average online experience; not bad, but not as well enjoyed as Halo 2, the benchmark for excellence in online Xbox Live play.

 

Despite not being a much-hyped title, Urban Chaos: Riot Response proves to be a hot, late summer title that will heat up your Xbox with its extremely heated shooter action. The online play doesn’t have the quality of Halo 2, but at worst, it’s an average online game. And if you get distracted enough from all the fiery blazes torching the city and Burners shooting at you, you’ll notice the on-rails linearity of Urban Chaos: Riot Response. But it more than makes up for that with a smoking-hot single-player adventure sure to provide one last summer sizzle on your Xbox.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(July 27, 2006)

 

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