As the game opens, our hero, US Marine Nick Mason, is abroad. He’s been getting mail from his policeman dad back in good old New York City telling him about how riotous gangs are taking over the city. The mayor has had it, and demands a new task force be created to combat this evil. Then, one day, Nick gets a letter that goes something like this:
How’s the horror of war going for you? Things are great here. I saw the new Adam Sandler movie. Ha ha, it was so funny. Oh, and Jenny got her hair cut. Looks pretty, I think. There was something else…oh fuck! Right! Your father was torched alive by this new group called the Burners. Anywho, the mayor’s got a new force, wants you to come back, put down the evil gang, blah blah blah. So come on home and fight these hundreds of criminals mostly single-handed. See ya soon.
P.S. Also, your dog Sparky was run over by your girlfriend, who then was so distraught that she wiped out the rest of your family with an uzi, then herfamily and finally herself. The only thing she said before she died was, “Tell Nick…this was all…somehow his fault….
OK, OK, the note from Brad was made-up, but the rest is the actual story. You ARE Nick Mason, elite member of T-Zero (or Zero Tolerance), a group of anti-terrorist Special Forces officers that have to save the city from the Burners, some assholes that hate America, and New York City especially. I mean, they don’t want to just take it over; they want to tear that motherfucker down. And they’re all wearing hockey masks, which makes them doubly menacing. Have you seen Friday the 13th? Was Jason scarier with or without the mask? I rest my case.
This game is like Rambo. It’s so retardely pro-American that it actually goes past insulting me for stereotyping our entire country to making me reconsider petitioning every bakery in the world to start making apple pie in the shape of Urban Chaos. But it was made by British developer Rocksteady! What? How does that work? The only thing I can figure is this: Imagine you’re making a game based on an idea of a country and all you have to work on is every stereotype you’ve ever heard. I watched the opening movie expecting Chuck Norris to jump out of my TV and stab me in the heart with an American Flag while singing the Star Spangled Banner. It didn’t happen, but it should have.
I think it’s the little things that make this so great. Let’s start with the riot shield. At any point, you can hit the left trigger to pull it up. Since this is a first-person shooter, you actually see your riot shield as it pops up in front of you. How sweet is that? As you take fire, bullet holes appear on said shield, as do scratches from meat cleavers and debris and whatnot. You can also just charge somebody with it and slam them into a wall. It’s just awesome. You also have the option to taser the enemy, but I chose to shoot them in the face nine times out of 10. Because, honestly, it’s more fun to shoot people than taser them. It usually went something like this:
Me: Stop setting things on fire with those Molotov bombs and put down your weapon you goddamn scumbag!
Bad Guy: Hey, OK man! I’m just union here, no need for that. See, I’m putting down my meat cleaver. Let’s just stay cal—
In between each level, we’re treated to a fake newscast letting us know how much of the city has been destroyed and how many innocent civilians were brutally murdered. They use a real newscaster, and I still can’t decide if this was the goddamn dumbest idea ever or a complete stroke of genius. Come to think of it, I feel that way about this entire game.
Another great thing (that some people just hate) is all of the scripted events. As you’re making your way through the city, buildings will explode, walls will fall over right in front of you, major events just happen right around wherever you’re at. It’s like some batshit crazy city planner made the entire place out of napalm.
Next, let’s talk about our NPCs. At several points during the game, you’ll have a firefighter or cop or paramedic by your side. This sounds stupid, but honestly, it works out very well. The firefighter knocks down locked doors, the cop gives you cover, the medic heals you. It works. I’m just as shocked as you are. For a first-time developer, this game screams polish. I’m just sorry they had to go with such a generic sounding title. The original title was Zero Tolerance, which sounds so much cooler than Urban Chaos.
Ahhh, but the cursing! The blood letting! This game has “M” written all over it. If I shoot somebody in the head, I expect there to be some carnage. I remember the last time I got shot in the head, and there was blood everywhere. It was disgusting. I’m just glad to see that some companies are still putting games our on the Xbox. Sorry, but some of us still can’t afford $400 for a next-gen system. Oh lord above do I want one. So bad. *ahem!* Anyways…
If you enjoy the whole shooting genre, then by all means buy this game. It really is a blast to play. If for no other reason, the whole “Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. the world” story line is so over-the-top you can’t help but laugh. Seriously, I racked up somewhere around 150 bodies by the time I was done.
So, let’s recap:
- This game is rated “M” for a goddamn reason. It’s for adults. If you’re twelve and reading this, go play the game based on the Madagascar movie.
- The riot shield rocks your face.
- NPCs actually help you, and don’t get in your way. I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 4.
- The storyline is so absurdly over-done you can’t help but chuckle.
- The storyline is so absurdly over-done you can’t help but groan.
- I guess after shooting 150 people I’m going to need therapy.
The replay value is also really good. You’re awarded medals for certain things during each level, like head-shots, no kills (using just the taser), saving lives. It opens up more content and makes the game very replayable. Bottom line is that this game cold-cocked me, coming seemingly out of nowhere. I hadn’t heard of developer Rocksteady before this game, but I’ll sure as shit be looking for their name in the future. Basically, they hit a grand-slam homer right outta the park. Bravo.