Enter Nick Mason, an ex-marine back home from Iraq with a new goal in life. While you were away, your father was killed by gang members while he was on patrol as an officer of the law. Your city is under siege by a group of anarchists called the Burners. As the newest member of an elite task force called T-Zero, it is up to you to quell the unrest and avenge your father's death.
Luckily for you, you are given an extraordinary amount of leeway to restore order back to your city. If that means shocking a gang member with a stun gun until he bursts into flames, so be it.
Yes, the game is quite violent. Over the course of the game's dozen or so missions, you can use an arsenal of weapons to beat, shoot and hack your enemies to death. In addition, there is a nifty feature of "Urban Chaos" that you won't find in many FPSs. By simply pulling the left trigger of your Xbox controller, Mason can hide behind a riot shield, deflecting or absorbing anything from meat cleavers to bullets. If you get close enough to a gang member, you can even bash him to death with your almighty shield. The best defense may be a good offense.
There are ways to upgrade your weaponry as you make your way through the game. You receive medals for accomplishing certain tasks in each mission. For example, there are gang masks lying around in the city. If you collect enough, you get a medal. You're also rewarded for non-lethal takedowns and headshots, as well. Once you obtain a certain amount, your weapons, body armor and riot shield become stronger. This feature of the game enhances the replay value because you're able to go back to completed missions to get more medals.
You can even unlock bonus missions to get better guns. They usually require you to rescue a VIP and get him back to safety in a certain amount of time. These missions are quite enjoyable because you're forced into rushing in and blasting away at the bad guys. No time to think, just shoot and run.
But you won't be alone in your assault on the Burners. Throughout the game, firefighters, paramedics and fellow police officers will assist you in various ways. By using the D-pad on your controller, you can order a firefighter to douse a small fire, have a medic treat your wounds, and receive some backup from one of the boys in blue. They are quite helpful, but it can get pretty annoying when they start running around in the middle of a gunfight. It's your job to make sure they stay alive, but it's hard to do that when it looks like they're trying to catch bullets with their teeth. The AI could've been tweaked a little there.
Another issue gamers might have is with the Burners themselves. For the earlier missions, all you seem to encounter are meat cleaver and Molotov cocktail-chucking bad guys. All the Burners appear to look the same. It was hard to tell who the gang leaders were, and this was especially annoying because you receive a bonus for arresting them instead of simply pumping them full of lead. But to be fair — in the spirit of "Dynasty Warriors" — as long as you get to kill a large number of gang members in a short period of time, variety doesn't really matter.
"Urban Chaos" won't win any awards for innovation, but that doesn't mean it isn't entertaining. The layout of the game is simple and straightforward. You start from point A, shoot your way to point B, and then shoot your way to point C. It is what it is, but as long as you can accept that, you'll have a good time.
"Urban Chaos: Riot Response" is rated "M" for Mature (content suitable for ages 17 or older) and is available for the PS2 and Xbox game consoles.
By Cory Shim