State of Emergency
Review of State of Emergency
Once again, big business has emerged as a controlling force in the world. Not content with merely enjoying a thriving global economy, corporations have taken it upon themselves to not only control business but to supercede the democratic process and enforce their total domination of the population and interfere with their everyday lives…their very existence.
Not satisfied with being treated like mindless drones, resistance groups have sprouted up in an effort to fight the big corporations. This naturally enrages the people in charge and they retaliate with a strong hand by placing security forces everywhere that have the authority to strike down all of those that defy the corporate directive.
This friction throws the world into a condition of chaos and forces the leaders to declare a State of Emergency. This is where you step in…as a new recruit for a resistance organization called the Freedom Fighters. Working outside of the law, it will be your responsibility to bring the corporate rule to ruins. Through a massive series of missions, gamers will eventually be able to infiltrate and ultimately topple the iron grip of big business…or die trying…
State of Emergency arrives on the scene with the promise of offering gamers the opportunity to experience a somewhat interactive environment that is filled to the brim with frantic people running about. Players get to take part in a world that is ruled by corrupted big business, which has thrown things into complete and total anarchy.
The two main games that are available from the start are Chaos and Revolution. Revolution is the primary game with 175 missions available to complete in a semi-linear manner. The first series of missions begins in a Shopping Mall in a place called Capitol City. There are five characters to choose from with only two being available initially. As you complete the location missions, another character is unlocked. Once you pick a character, you get introduced to the games first contact and begin to receive your first task.
Of course the first thing you will notice are all of the people running frantically to and fro in the mall. There is a mass riot going on with some people merely running for cover, while others are looting everything that isn’t bolted down. Just take a look around and you will see people carrying cash registers, stereos, boom boxes, kegs of beer (cool!), TV’s, etc. The developers claim to put 250 plus characters on the screen at one time, each with separate AI algorithms. While I could never quite verify this massive number, I could honestly say that there are a shitload of people on the screen at one time. As for unique characters “types” I counted off around 10 or so (specific body, facial, clothing style).
The people will react to your characters actions in several different ways. Start pummeling a person and you will see groups of people ducking down and trembling with fear while other try to make a fast getaway. Some people will put up their fists waiting to defend themselves while others will just ignore you and go about their merry way robbing and looting. If you really want to make people scatter though, fire off a rocket or grenade launcher. Take about total chaos (hehehe).
There are roughly 50 missions to complete in each location before you can move onto the next area (there are 4 total locations). The missions consist of recovering documents, escorting agents to safe houses, protecting storefronts and tracking down people to kill them.
While I found the missions to be broken up and dispersed quite nicely, I also found myself getting bored rather quickly and wanting to move to the next area before I had to finish all of the missions in my current location.
The fighting IS a lot of fun and the characters have a good cache of moves like kicking, punching, combos, strafing (with weapons), 360 spins, etc. Pulling off the moves is a bit sloppy at first, but once I become accustomed to the layout and general character control I was able to progress rapidly through the missions.
The game offers a ton of weapons that can be used from bats and clubs to M16 assault rifles and rocket launchers. It was also possible to use various body parts from people that got blown up by bombs or grenades. You will find these stumps of meat littered about the impact area. It is also possible to pick up virtually anything you find lying about like tables, chairs, signs, etc. The areas are nicely interactive in this manner. Heck, players can even run around and smash all of the windows in the stores if the mood fits.
SoE keeps track of your total number of kills and breaks them down into gang members, corporation members and then lumps the “innocents” into the total death toll amount. The one thing I didn’t much appreciate though was the fact that when I would save a game in progress and go back to it later all of my kills were wiped clean…the only statistic left intact was the percentage of missions that I had completed. After racking up body counts in the triple digits, I was totally pissed that I lost this count every time I restarted the game.
Like I said, the gameplay is pretty cool and the fact that so much chaos, death and destruction could be divvied out was appealing to me…the game just seemed to lack that certain spark to hold my interest for any great length of time. There was just so many wanton acts of violence that I could commit before things started to get old.
Now Chaos on the other hand is a different beast entirely. Chaos is a neat little jaunt that will have you thrown initially into the shopping mall (more locations are opened later) with a set amount of time to deliver as much destruction as possible. The action is a pure arcade adrenaline rush. Weapons are littered all over the place and just beg to be used. The object is to run around and destroy as much as you can in the allotted time. To add to the action, an announcer will occasionally come on and call out ways for gamers to obtain score multipliers. Smashing windows, tipping cars, etc. are all ways to spike up your score. Gamers will also have to be observant as every once in a while a news flash will pop up indicting that innocents should not be killed. When this happens, every bystander that gets whacked will deduct points from your overall score. Meeting/exceeding predetermined scores will unlock new locations and addition gameplay variations. My favorite was called Last Clone Standing where the object was to mow down Corporation clones as fast as possible.
Graphically, State of Emergency is a mixed bag. The sheer amount of onscreen action and characters is almost mind-blowing, but then you realize that the characters are of relatively low polygon count and the overall texturing leaves a bit to be desired. Still, the overall visuals of the game are mighty impressive.
Character animations appear to be rather simplistic and straightforward, but they are fluid. Players are limited to running or sprinting…god how I would have loved the ability to jump. What I really enjoyed were the animations for the already dead bodies when you repeatedly pummel them. They kind of flop around on the ground like a flounder with blood spurting out of them.
There really isn’t much more to say about the game graphically except for the fact that everything is displayed nice crisp, the frame rate is rock solid and the draw distance is just fine. The overall appearance is comic in nature…I guess because of the content; they didn’t things to look too real.
The sounds in SoE really make an impact. For all of the onscreen action occurring, appropriate sound effects correspond in complete unison. We are treated to people screaming bloody murder, officers yelling commands, all sorts of crashes, explosions, etc…it sounds as frantic as it looks.
There is really no memorable background music to mention…except for the harried pleas of help or pain…which was really music enough to my ears anyway.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'State of Emergency' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 20 State of Emergency in-game screenshot slideshow
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