There once was a time when Batman and all licensed games were pretty much trash. Little did we know, the PlayStation 2 and Xbox era would see the first game come from a company synonymous with amazing licensed Batman games–Rocksteady Studios. Urban Chaos: Riot Response released on May 16, 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The GameCube missed out, but I’m sure Nintendo thought the story was too mature for their audience at the time. As I said prior, the game was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive.
Oddly enough, this is a first-person shooter where you take on the roll of T-Zero Enforcer, Nick Mason. A gang known as the Burners is destroying your city. It’s up to you and other members of the Force to re-take it. You begin at the embattled police station and fight your way through hoards of degenerate gang members. Once inside, you have to rescue support/civilians, kill remaining gang members, and pacify the gang boss for that raid. Pacifying the gang boss nets you valuable information for the game’s next levels. You can always kill them, though, which is a bit more satisfying to me. The story’s pretty thin, but it is nice to take back the city section by section from crazed anarchists.
The controls are pretty tight for a first-person shooter from this generation. I played Medal of Honor: Frontline recently and Urban Chaos has better controls than that Xbox 360 game. You aim with the left thumbstick and fire with the right trigger. Pressing the thumbstick provides a headshot zoom. The A button refills your ammunition. After finding the Riot Shield, the Left Trigger protects you from bullets and other obstacles.
Moving is a bit tricky, but it’s very easy once you get used to it. The Left Thumbstick only allows you to move forward and back. There’s no strafing. Instead, you have to use the Right Thumbstick to pick which direction you need to go. As you progress through levels, you will meet people that can help you. Medics heal you and firemen get you into otherwise inaccessible places. Nice guys, those firemen are.
It doesn’t look too bad for a 12 year-old game. I’m playing the original Xbox version through a Pound conversion cable so it actually looks pretty good on my 45-inch flat screen television. I was a bit leery about not connecting the HDMI cable to the 32-inch flat screen, but the OG Xbox was the powerhouse of that generation. While not perfect like God of War and such, it isn’t disgusting looking like poor old Metal Gear Solid.
The characters are all very similar looking. You can’t really tell Betty apart from Anne other than their hair color, but that has no baring on your enjoyment of the game. 90% of the enemies look similar, but shooting, blowing them up, and cutting them up with a cleaver is still a blast. The different levels don’t differ too much visually–lockers, burned out walls, and broken debris everywhere. The levels don’t stand out as much as the violence you dish out.
Being a huge fan of the Arkham games, it’s really nice to see how Rocksteady began. You can see what they took from this game and moved forward into their most famous of games–The Arkham Trilogy. I suggest it if the idea of fighting back an urban upheaval strikes your fancy. Huge Arkham Trilogy fans may also find interest in seeing where Rocksteady got started.
The PS2 version is getting a little pricey so I’d suggest the Xbox version. I have both versions because I’m crazy like that. The Xbox version looked just a smidge better seeing as it was the most powerful console of that generation. Whichever one you happen to find, I think you’ll enjoy taking these degenerates off the streets.
Urban Chaos: Riot Response
- Graphics aren't too shabby
- Controls are pretty good for an XBOX FPS
- You can see where Rocksteady cut their teeth
- Enemies all look alike
- Not a lot of variety to the missions