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State of Emergency 2 (PlayStation 2) artwork

State of Emergency 2 (PlayStation 2) review


"After I played the first few levels of State of Emergency 2, I sat down and thought about the game. I came to the conclusion that from a Spider-Man perspective (goofy but fun), I kind of liked the game. Then I decided to read through the attached press releases that came included with my review copy of the game. They called the game’s storyline “gripping” and made it out to be as serious as cancer. From this more Schindler’s List perspective (serious and depressing), the gam..."



After I played the first few levels of State of Emergency 2, I sat down and thought about the game. I came to the conclusion that from a Spider-Man perspective (goofy but fun), I kind of liked the game. Then I decided to read through the attached press releases that came included with my review copy of the game. They called the game’s storyline “gripping” and made it out to be as serious as cancer. From this more Schindler’s List perspective (serious and depressing), the game is trash. I think the PR department that sent me this game is out of the loop of a huge joke. In this case, I’m going to ignore their ideas and just review State of Emergency 2 for what I think it is: a campy, low-budget action game that’s heavy on gore and light on brains.

I played a bit of the original State of Emergency when it was published by Rockstar. The fundamental idea of a riot simulator was solid, but unfortunately the game was just too overhyped. No matter how good it turned out to be it still would have disappointed everyone. With this sequel, the publishing hands have changed and the game has undergone a much-needed expansion, which now includes a campy storyline about bringing down the "Corporation" that’s oppressing everyone’s rights and a few new gameplay modes that add some length to the game. The results are a sequel that attempts to improve, but it is still imperfect.

One of the things that I’ve hated most about video games and movies since the rise of The Matrix is the proliferation of technojargon. Any character rambling on about “level six encryptions” and “syntaxes” needs to stop. State of Emergency 2 is full of this shit. I’m curious if the developers and creators of these games and movies know that we know that they’re full of shit because I sometimes think they’re serious about it. State of Emergency 2 opens up with one of the most late-1990s cutscenes I have ever seen. A young, stiffly animated thief repels down the side of a building, right over the heads of the guards below. She enters a room, which houses a single computer and not much more, breaks into it and sends the blueprints to a hacker friend who spews out the previously discussed technojargon like a power plant spews out pollution. During this INTENSE COMPUTER HACKING, the thief stumbles across some sort of secret document, but before she can send it, she’s captured!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, shocking plot developments abound!

The game doesn’t kick in until you take control of a character from the previous game that’s on death row for inciting riots against the Corporation. Through his friends, which include our hacker and thief, he gets his hands on an SMG and lays dozens of generic goons to waste on national television. Once freed from the execution chamber, he’s sent off to escape the prison and rally some convicts to help fight against the Corporation along the way. No one really explains why the convicts are armed with blunt objects in their cells, especially considering the hard stance of the corporation, but no matter: they come out of their cells swinging and they’re on your side, so you can’t really complain.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward. You just run from point A to point B and along the way you blow the hell out of anyone that stands in your way. Armed with pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles and submachine guns, your bullets have the ability to rip massive chunks of flesh from your foes. If you should send a shotgun blast at an enemy, blood and guts will take to the air, which from start-to-finish of this twelve level romp is always satisfying. Of course, you can also shoot arms and legs off, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as leaving a victim with just a bloody stump after a perfectly aimed headshot.

All of this hard violence would be a little more disturbing if the graphics engine was more realistic, but it's like something out of a cartoon in State of Emergency 2. I would normally have a problem with such a “last-generation” looking game, but for what I think State of Emergency 2 is going for, it works pretty damn well. The third-person cartoon look makes the violence seem goofier and I was much more willing to accept the over-the-top violence because of that. The voice acting is inexcusably bad. If you can put up with random technojargon being spewed out and characters with terribly fake accents you might like it, but you’ll probably find it a bit easier to turn the game down and not listen to it at all.

Violence: that's what State of Emergency 2 is all about. It attempts to create an entirely violent game and they succeeded. It doesn’t have a plausible storyline, or a great graphics engine, or even decent voice acting. I really don’t believe that they were going for anything more than a goofy action title that’s heavy on violence, and in that aspect the developers did what they were trying to do. Your enemies aren’t usually the most intelligent creatures around, but they exist solely to be destroyed. State of Emergency 2 isn’t a good game, but it does what it is billed to do and I can’t fault it too strongly because of that.

Rating: 6/10

asherdeus's avatar
Community review by asherdeus (February 27, 2006)

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