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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(July 27, 2006)
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