First Impressions: This is what happens if you have your pudding when you don't eat your meat.
You've got to hand it to Nick Mason. When he isn't drumming for Pink Floyd or racing vintage roadsters, he's out on the streets of the big city with a shotgun and blowing the heads off of chainsaw-wielding terrorists. Hmm, I suppose you have to keep yourself busy somehow until your fellow Floydians start work on another album.
Well, at least I think
that's what the famous British prog rock drummer does in his spare time. After all, the main character in Urban Chaos: Riot Response has the same name and it's being developed by Rocksteady, who also happens to be based in the UK. Coincidence? I think not!
Urban Chaos is Rocksteady's freshman project and was formerly known as Zero Tolerance ? which itself was formerly known as Roll Call. This upcoming gritty ultra-violent FPS will take place in a large urban city that is being terrorized by the twisted Burners gang who, as their name suggests, are pyromaniacal psychopaths (you can tell they're psychopaths because they wear hockey masks) with a fetish for Molotov cocktails. You will play as Nick Mason, the drummer ? er, leader of the T-Zero or Zero Tolerance squad, a government sanctioned group of vigilantes who protect the law by acting above it. No word on whether you'll be able to beat some sense into Roger Waters, though.
The story will unfold through pre-rendered cutscenes and live action news reports, but appears to be your basic FPS plot: kill every enemy in sight. To help you do that, you will be equipped with the latest weaponry law enforcement has to offer, including pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and a cool Counter-Strike-like riot shield that is impervious to knives, bullets, fire and even RPGs. (That must mean it's made of fruitcake, the most indestructible substance known to man!) Anyway, in addition to protecting you, you will also be able to use the shield to whack enemies onto their butt. The downside is that you will not be able to use a weapon while holding the shield but fortunately, switching between the shield and a weapon seems to be quick and seamless.
You will also have a taser that can knock out enemies but that's only if you want to be nice. If you hold the trigger down long enough, the electric buildup will set enemies on fire. Psycho barbecue, anyone?
The Burners will have their own unique assortment of weapons, including cleavers (which can be thrown), chainsaws, a wide variety of guns and naturally, lots and lots of Molotovs. You will be able to pick up and use any weapon so you will be able to give the Burners a taste of their own medicine if you like.
The game is extremely violent; pull off a headshot and the game will temporarily go into dramatic slow motion so you can enjoy watching the head explode like balloon full of cranberry juice. The urban environments are appropriately very gritty and dirty as you hunt down the evil enemy in crumbling burned-out buildings. Each of the 12 single player levels will take place in a different calendar month, so expect to encounter weather effects like snow and rain. At the end of each level, you will be given detailed stats on your performance, including shots fired, favorite weapon, damage dealt and taken, number of head/body/limb shots and so on.
It all sounds like a standard run-of-the-mill FPS, but it won't all be run-and-gun; you will also have to work closely with NPC paramedics, firemen, police and others who are trying to help the innocent citizens and get the city under control. Keeping them alive will often be a mission requirement but regardless, you will want them around since they can lend a helping hand; for example, Paramedics can heal you.
You will also be able to earn achievement medals for feats like performing a certain number of headshots, arresting bad guys instead of killing them, shooting Molotovs out of the air, collecting Burner masks and so on. Earning medals will unlock bonuses like new weapons and six ?Emergency Situation? missions, where you must complete timed objectives like rescuing a hostage; upon successful completion you will be awarded yet another bonus like a new weapon. There will be a whopping 240 medals in all; yes, it's an obvious attempt to enhance replayability but some people just can't go to bed at night unless they earn that coveted 100% completion.
Of course, the best way to ensure your game stays in the tray is to give players a kick ass multiplayer ? and it looks like we might just get that. Urban Chaos will support up to eight players over Xbox Live competing in one of three objective-based missions: rescue or hold hostages, control a contested area, and destroy or defend an objective.
Not surprisingly, you will be able to play as the T-Zero or the Burners, each with their own set of weapons that mirrors their single player arsenal. For example, the T-Zero team will have the riot shield (which, unlike the single player version, will not be fireproof), tasers, flash grenades, modern assault rifles and Magnums, while the Burners have their throwable cleavers, sawed-off shotguns, Uzis (which can be dual-wielded) and their beloved Molotovs.
Gameplay will be fast, furious and extremely bloody. Although there is quite a variation between the two teams' weapon sets, everything seems to be quite well balanced. The nine multiplayer maps reflect the dirty, gritty urban landscape of the single player campaign, with lots of cover, tight chokepoints and dangerously wide-open courtyards.