I can remember when blood, gore, and violence were what drew gamers to play. Games like Mortal Kombat, Doom, and the like were made famous by their violent appeal and destructive natures. This was a sad time in gaming history as no one cared about game play or play mechanics, they just wanted gore, and lots of it! This led developers into a sort of dark age where their main focus was on giving the “mass” audience what they wanted. Thankfully that period faded and more in-depth games were unleashed upon the gaming world and people kind of forgot about the whole kill everyone mentality that almost sent the gaming industry the way of the dinosaur. Now Rockstar has decided to rekindle an old wound so to speak with it’s trilogy of terror, first Max Payne, then Grand Theft Auto 3, and now State of Emergency. Violence is in style again.
Let me start off by saying that violence and gore do not make a game bad, it is the fact that when the main focus is pissing off some senators or liberals that it becomes a problem. More thought goes into making the game as un-acceptable as possible than the actual game play itself. Hence SOE’s main aspect, causing a riot and destroying as much as possible in the process. Underneath this carnage is a decent old school beat ’em up flavor that brings back memories of such classics as Final Fight, Streets of Rage and the TMNT games. I for one absolutely love brawlers, some of my favorite games include such classics, but when a game uses this as it’s building block and concentrates more on the “wow” factor it makes for a sour experience.
Visually the game isn’t all that impressive, in fact I would like to call it ugly. The problem is that the game has so many characters on screen at once (sometimes in the hundreds) you can not complain about the detail on each one. Not to mention that the frame rate is rock solid 100% of the time. What I wonder is if the PS2 is so powerful why not take the time and really push it to it’s limits, add more detail to each character, or is this the PS2’s limits? It makes you wonder does it not? The levels are quite large and the interactivity is very good. You can pick up loose items scattered throughout the levels and beat the living shit out of people with them, nice touch eh?
The game play is where I bring up my problems. The control system is not that responsive, how can I whoop three guys at the same time if I can’t keep my player facing the right direction? The camera also gets in my way always focusing round the action and causing me to lose my character in a crowd of people. The aiming system seems ported over from GTA 3, and that is NOT a good thing. You can’t aim for shit in this game. It is disappointing to see such a good idea wasted on shoddy game play, I know most are thinking I have some sort of vendetta against this game. I do not, I am just insulted as a hardcore gamer that this game will outsell better titles such as Drakan and Jak and Daxter solely based on it’s violence factor.
What we are left with is a disappointing attempt at cashing in. They use a great idea such as a beat ’em up game placed in the middle of a riot and let it fall short of greatness just to satisfy a few mindless casual gamers their need for killing. I must say I was leery of this title since I first heard about it, and now I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint me. Minus a few saving notions this game is a weekend rental at best so save your 50 bucks and get a good, solid title. GTA 3 this is not but it does have what made GTA 3 so popular with the casual gamer…mindless game play and intense violence. BAH back to some great gaming.