My first impressions of State Of Emergency were favorable. At the time, I was still being amazed with everything Grand Theft Auto III (GTA3) had to offer and the idea of a game similar (or so I thought) to Rockstar's crime simulator in which the main theme would revolve around riots rather than car thefts seemed promising and original. Unfortunately, one problem in particular brought all my positive expectations to an abrupt end: having actually played the game.
Although State Of Emergency appears to offer many of the elements that made GTA3 a hit, it fails to present them as well. An example of this would be, as Caleb mentioned, State Of Emergency's environments. Although he refers to them as "modest in size", I believe "inadequately small" would be more appropriate. Anyone having spent his or her elementary school recesses in a playground surrounded by wire fencing will most likely feel the same sense of confinement here. It becomes obvious that this game does not offer nearly as much space as GTA3's Liberty City did. Granted, a large mass of people running around hysterically will easily eat away the Playstation 2's memory capacity. However, this does not overshadow the fact that players are given environments clearly limited in size.
The actual riots, oddly enough, also serve to disadvantage the game. One would assume that a crowd running wild in all directions would help draw players into the action. Instead, it doesn't take long to realize that the constant flow of masses gone crazy is just that: constant. People just run around like brainless zombies high on caffeine and after a while it had me thinking "Does it ever stop?" Not only is it non-stop, but the chaos-causing rioters also appear to be an inexhaustible resource in this game. Killing everyone in sight will in no way diminish the number of people running around. In this manner, State Of Emergency portrays the rioters as a pack of rats which will always be around, no matter how many of them might be killed.
As far as violence in this game is concerned, Caleb was absolutely right. State Of Emergency, for lack of originality, does not give players much to do aside from indulging in ceaseless carnage, which gets tiresome fairly quickly. At its core, this game is nothing more than a killing free-for-all. In fact, it could be argued that it surpasses even GTA3's amount of gratuitous violence. This point can be easily demonstrated after implementing a specific in-game code that allows players to unlock a mode in which punching a person will result in him or her being instantly decapitated. Not to mention of course that the victims severed head can then be used as a weapon itself. As Caleb indicated, the cartoonish nature of the on-screen characters just makes it more troubling, as it seems to minimize the impact such actions have on gamers.
State Of Emergency would probably be better off as an arcade game, should there ever be an arcade daring enough to offer such a violent title. This is one of those games that aims at giving players immediate gratification, something that was clear after half an hour of doing rather dull and fast missions and blasting my way through the crowd. It is a shame that the technology to move a hundred characters at the same time, without any slowdown, was put to use in this game only as a way of increasing the number of simultaneous kills. The games concept is original without a doubt, but is it as worthy of praise as GTA3? Not a chance.
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