E3 Preview: Urban Chaos


Urban Chaos

Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Release Date: 06/14/2006

ESRB: M

Genre: shooter
Setting: military
Riot police are cool. There is simply no arguing this point. They only get called in when things are really rough. They have all sorts of cool weapons and equipment, including the riot-shield. Urban Chaos: Riot Response, the new first person shooter from Eidos, gives you the chance to play as one of these tough as nails heroes in a city turned into a war-zone. You play as Nick Mason, a member of the elite T-Zero law enforcement branch. T-Zero is a paramilitary branch of the police force created to combat the threat of the Burners, a gang of “homicidal pyromaniacs.”

Every hero needs a trademark move, and Nick Mason is no different. As Nick Mason, you are armed with an indestructible riot-shield. You can take cover behind the shield with a button press and you will be protected from any projectiles. You can also use the shield as a weapon, bludgeoning your enemies while remaining protected behind it. While it may seem that this would make things a little too easy, there are two things that prevent constant use of the shield. The first is the little plexiglas window you see through. The window becomes obscured with blood and scuff marks the more you use it, until it eventually becomes opaque, leaving you blind behind it. The second thing is that the shield only protects you against projectiles coming directly from the front. If enemies get around the sides you are still vulnerable. When fighting against a gang called the Burners, you know that they’ll be using molotov cocktails. The shield won’t protect you against those either as the fire will just lap around the sides.

The game has twelve main levels, representing a Burner attack in every month of the year. In addition to the essential missions in a level there are also five additional bonus missions. These goals can be a variety of things, from capturing a specific target or performing certain combat tasks. Two of the most common ones in each level are to make a certain number of headshots for the sharpshooter missions and take a number of enemies down using non-lethal methods. By achieving these goals you will unlock a variety of bonus content. Unlike most games where the bonus material are things like artwork or behind the scenes materials, every un-lockable in Urban Chaos: Riot Response is usable in the game. You can unlock larger clips for guns, new types of guns, and even bonus levels where you can unlock even more new material.

At many points throughout the game you will have to team up with other people, like firefighters or paramedics. You may have to escort them safely through an area, rescue them from Burners, or help them accomplish some other task. You can give them simple orders like follow or stay and other situational commands. For example, the fireman can help by holding open heavy garage doors so you can climb in or use his axe to break down doors that are blocking your path. Unlike most first person shooters, there are no med-packs in the levels. If you are injured the only way to recover your health is by finding a paramedic. They will be able to treat your wounds a certain number of times before they run out of supplies.

As you can probably guess when fighting a gang called the Burners, fire comes up quite often. A lot of work has been done on the fire effects in Urban Chaos: Riot Response. The fires themselves look great, but the extras are the most impressive part. Burning embers fill the air, and the amount of heat distortion displayed is truly impressive. Being a first person shooter Urban Chaos: Riot Response does not shy away from violence. Each enemies death is uniquely generated dependent on the hit detection. During the preview I was shown the player was disappointed because he only managed to blast one enemy out the window, the other hit a support column between the two windows and stayed in the room. This effect can make for some very dramatic combats as enemies are blown backwards in slow motion.

Eight-person multiplayer will also be included. You will be placed on a team of either T-Zero police officers or a team of Burners. Eidos wanted to stay away from the standard death match multiplayer game that is the usual for a first person shooter. Instead, all of the multiplayer are levels objective based. I find this to be a very interesting approach.

One of the things that really impressed me in the preview I saw was the unique way they chose to start the levels. Each of the levels is introduced by a newscast. To provide an interesting boost to the realism, an actual newscaster from the Los Angeles area reports the events. I was really impressed by the creativity shown in this aspect of the game.

Urban Chaos: Riot Response is set for a mid June release. If you’re looking for an action filled first person that lets you be the hero, give it a shot. It’s gonna be hot.

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About the Author, Jake Burket (A.K.A Diesel)

I’ve always loved video games. I don’t know why, but they’ve always fascinated me. When I was younger, if I visited someone who had an Atari, that was all I wanted to do. It was a glorious day when I finally got my very own Nintendo.

I like a wide variety of games. I’m great at action and rpg games. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist with first person shooters and stealth games. I’ll spend 20 minutes in a level, only to reset it the first time a guard sees me. Platformers aren’t really my thing, I think the technology has better things to offer than that now. And I don’t do sports games.

I love games with a good story. I’ll play for hours just trying to get to the next plot twist. In a perfect world, I’d be writing my own video games someday