Shortly after Rockstar Games gained mainstream interest with the success of “Grand Theft Auto 3,” they released another disturbingly violent game called “State of Emergency.”
Though “State of Emergency” offered sub-par game-play and was a failure with both critics and gameplayers, it was memorable for its vibrant graphics and the unique “mall during a riot” setting.
Now, four years later, a lot has changed for this series. Aside from having a completely different development team behind it, “State of Emergency 2” now looks almost unrecognizable.
The most apparent changes at first are the darker art style and setting.
This actually comes as a slight disappointment because, though nothing about the original was particularly great, its art direction was actually pretty interesting. “State of Emergency 2” now boasts a more natural look, albeit with cartoon-like characters. Also, its drab settings, such as a prison compound at night, don’t allow the game much opportunity to stand out visually.
The most significant change, however, is how the game plays. The open-ended play style of the original has been changed to a more linear third person shooter style game. The game controls well enough now, but it is still plagued by some other problems.
For starters, it feels as if there was no attempt at making the game have a fair difficulty curve. The game starts off with a level full of cheap kills, and ultimately the best way to progress is to take advantage of the poor enemy A.I. and pick off enemies while standing out of sight.
Sure, it may seem like a plausible solution, but it is hard not to question the enemies’ thought processes when they tend not to
notice their friends dropping like flies around them. This type of A.I. problem is a common annoyance throughout the game.
“State of Emergency 2” does have its moments, however. The occasional stealth-based sections of the game are actually pretty enjoyable, and using vehicles as a way to cause more havoc is a fun diversion from the on-foot missions.
Unfortunately, even when the game is at its best, it is still a poorly executed game. It is hard to look past the fact that hundreds of games have played similarly and often better than “State of Emergency 2.”
When all is said and done, “State of Emergency 2” is no better or worse than the original game – it’s just different.
Matthew Loriso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.