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June 8, 2006
Urban Chaos: Riot Response - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
19/5/2006AtariRocksteady Studios1, 8 MA15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
90KBDolby PLIIYesYesNoneYes

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One of the gang members.
Let me say this from the start. If you don't like violent video games then this isn't the game for you. If you don't approve of swearing, then look away now. This game is full of both (hence the MA15+ rating) - but it suits the game perfectly. If you're after a first person shooter, with a couple of neat twists then Urban Chaos: Riot Response (which was originally announced years ago as Roll Call) may just be for you.

In Urban Chaos: Riot Response you play as Nick Mason, a member of the elite T-Zero, and anti gang unit and the last line in urban defense. The city is crumbling into a lawless society with gangs ruling the streets, and anyone from police to firefighters and paramedics all a target. Your job is to clear the streets and make them safe again - at any cost.

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There's plenty of blood in the game.
Essentially this game is a first person shooter spread across 11 main missions, and several smaller 'timed' missions. You have a wide range of weapons from pistols, to shotguns, and even meat cleavers at your disposals.

There are several neat twists in the game. Firstly you are equipped with a riot shield which not only protects you from incoming objects such as machetes and molotov cocktails, but also bullets and fires. By using the shield you can also get close to gang leaders in order to use the stun gun to incapacitate rather then kill them. The game also includes several hostage situations where you have to lay in wait behind your riot shield for an opportunity to take a shot at the hostage taker.

Throughout the levels you will have to fight alongside and often protect members of the Police Department, Fire Dept, and Emergency Medical Services. You can also issue orders to these characters. Firefighters will put out fires or break down doors while the medical staff will patch up your injuries. As you progress through the levels you earn rewards according to your performance such as the number of headshots or capturing gang leaders alive. Do well enough and you will be equipped with new weapons and upgraded items.

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Riot in the city...
Physics in the game is handled with the Havok 3 engine and it's probably the best use of the engine on Playstation 2 to date. Characters get shot and thanks to the rag doll physics crumple and fall in any number of ways.

Multi-player is also included in Urban Chaos with support for up to 8-players at once. We didn't really get to test this mode too much as there were virtually no other players online however if you've played any FPS online recently then you'll probably know what to expect.

One of the issues I had with this game is the levels where you have to rely on infra-red goggles. Unfortunately they don't quite help you see the levels. Sure, you can breathe but then you end up fumbling around the buildings looking for the right doorway or hostage to rescue. While I also commend the way in which you can order people to perform actions such as put out fires, or break down doors we have to question why you can't do this yourself as well. I, for one, would have loved to put out some of the fires in the game as well. Finally the game could have done with more variety in enemies.

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Using the riot shield.
Visually Urban Chaos: Riot Response is very impressive. While character detail is solid this game is really set apart by the stunning fire effects. With such a heavy use of fire throughout the game it's clear the developers have spent some time creating some of the best effects seen on the PS2 to date. Also impressive is the amount of gore in the game. When you take out an enemy in a gruesome way - perhaps a headshot from your gun - the game flicks to a close-up slow-mo show to show all the gruesome detail. It can become a little repetitive however this can be skipped if you feel like it. The game runs at a fair speed even with all the effects and enemies on screen.

The games story is told through a series of Channel 7 news styled cut scenes - no, not the Channel 7 on Australian TV - with some extremely impressive editing and footage being used throughout. This is probably one of the best uses of FMV in a current-generation video game. At times, though, the video footage could have been cut down a bit as it runs a bit long.

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Firefighters will help you at times.
As we mentioned in the opening of this review there's plenty of swearing in the game, particularly from the gang members roaming the streets. The effects are certainly meaty enough - in particular the gunshots and explosions which will have your ears ringing. The music is atmospheric enough with the entire game helped with the inclusion of Dolby Pro Logic II support.

For a game which received almost no hype prior to release it was quite enjoyable to finally spend some time with Rocksteady Studios' final code. Urban Chaos: Riot Response is engrossing, includes some original elements, and is likely to keep action game fans happy.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSSome of the best graphics on the PS2, the Havok 3 enginerocks.
SOUNDGood voicework and music with Dolby PLII make this an aural treat.
GAMEPLAYBasically a FPS, but with some extra frills such as the riot shield.
VALUEQuite enjoyable, but multi-player is tacked on. Game could be longer.
OVERALLUrban Chaos: Riot Response wasn't a game I was expecting much from but it turned out to be quite an entertaining title. If you like your action games, and don't mind swearing or violence then this is worth checking out.

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