IGN Review of State of Emergency 2
The original State of Emergency came out under some odd preconceptions. Rockstar published the game hot on the heals of its ultra smash-hit Grand Theft Auto 3, so many folks assumed it would be a similar open city sort of experience but featuring crowds of hundreds to fight. While the crowds were present, the experience was anything but what people had assumed. For whatever reason, the sequel sees both a different publisher and development studio, SouthPeak Interactive and DC Studios, respectively, and the result is something almost entirely unlike the first game.
That's not entirely bad, but it isn't very good, either. State of Emergency 2 forgoes some of the original ideas in the first game and bases much of its gameplay on third-person shooter standards. While it's a slightly more solid game on the whole than the original, maybe, it's also extremely generic in almost every way possible. At its best, it's rather mediocre.
The game now uses a standard third-person shooter control scheme utilizing a freelook system, along the lines of something like Max Payne. For the most part, the controls do feel reasonably well tuned, maybe not the smoothest thing ever, but they do work well. So, the controls are not the issue, but it's the scenarios that you'll fight through, the AI of those you're fighting and basically everything else in State of Emergency 2 that's rather lackluster.
For starters, the AI is really dumb. Flat out dumb. You can shoot a guard standing 10 feet from another one with a sniper rifle, and so long as the second guard didn't see or hear you, you're in the clear. In other words, they essentially pay no attention to each other's state, unless they're running around and calling in backup. They'll somewhat attempt to use cover, but they do it more like how a dog runs after a random object you throw without knowing exactly why it's headed there or what advantage it'll serve. Running around the side of said cover leaves them totally open and they don't bother to try to better their placement, for example.
Speaking of placement, some enemies are set up in rather unfair spots. You'll find guys situated in areas that can simply be attributed to poor game design, like right at the top of a ladder. If you're standing in just the right spot, you can pick them off with a sniper rifle before you get there, but otherwise you're effed. In other cases, you'll find multiple guys sitting high atop balconies in the distance, and as soon as you enter the area they open fire on you. You can snipe them, but as you're trying to get into position they're whittling away at your health.
For most of the enemies in the game, you'll encounter them as they fly around corners or out of an alleyway once you've crossed a trigger of some sort. Then they'll do random things like lie on the ground or stand out in the open while you gun them down. Really, every time you fight it's simply a test of how fast you can hit the targets before you die, sorta like one of those air gun games at the state fair.
There are some sections of the game where you're doing something other than killing guys on foot. For example, one section has you play as Spanky and man a machinegun turret, while another has you take over as Libra as she repels down the side of a building while soldiers pop out through windows. You'll also find helicopter, boat and tank missions. While these game type changes are cool in theory, none of them end up being fun in practice. Some of the controls, like the helicopter, feel slightly awkward, while sections like the machinegun turret are as mundane as holding down the fire button while you cap everyone, almost invulnerable to any attack.
One semi-cool thing that helps extend the game's playability a bit is its Arcade mode. You'll find various challenges like the Mounted Gun Challenge, Workers' Zone Chaos or the Rocket Challenge. You basically just need to rack up a certain amount of points or whatever, but it can be fun for a bit. These challenges are actually at least as good as the main game itself since you don't really care about progression and are simply blowing things up, but even still, you're playing within the confines of an entirely contrived game.
There are a handful of multiplayer modes, consisting of the Battle mode, Last Man Standing, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Flag Attack. The latter three can be played with a number of bots while all but Last Man Standing can be played with up to four players via splitscreen. For whatever reason, Last Man Standing is only a two-player ordeal, which is really a shame and rather nonsensical. Like the Arcade challenges, the multiplayer modes are OK for a bit, but there are far better multiplayer games out there.
Visually, State of Emergency 2 is, like the actual content in the game, OK at best. Character models and the general art style are somewhat cartoonish in nature, along the lines of the first game. Everything runs well for the most part, but I can't help but feel that the game looks like a 2002 release. It works, but it's by no means a technical marvel.
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