If I judged this game on the first half hour I played it, it'd get a l.o. The required tutorials at the beginning are frustrating and ridiculously useless (they don't teach you how to use any advanced techniques). The actual game is like GTA, only you're on the side of the law. Control is incredibly jerky and the game locks onto baddies automatically (you can switch around, but it's difficult to tell who you've switched to). If you're up against a group of any more than two enemies and any of them have guns--you're screwed. Controlling vehicles in UC is like driving a bumper car. The graphics are nothing to write home about either. Ambient garbage blowing around is nice to look at, but it would've been better to see more detailed environments. What city has catwalks on top of buildings over streets? One good thing is that the level and mission design are topnotch--lots of 'em and a wide variety. Plus you can retry missions for time--a nice touch. It's cool that you can go anywhere you want to explore a level, but Mucky Foot did little to create a presentation that's at all compelling. There's no music to speak of, the characters are plain, dialogue appears as lines of text at the top of the screen (very "PC-ish"), characters are stereotypes, and there's little reward or visible outcome after completing missions except "good work, Stern!" UC has some good things going for it, but they're hidden under its clunky interface.
Outside of the sloppy controls and the first generation graphics, Urban Chaos isn't all bad. The hard part is getting past the crap to find the good stuff. The positives include a good overall theme (hunting down criminals in a free-roaming environment) and some entertaining scenarios. Even though I hated the control (especially when using the vehicles) I kept running around looking for more baddies. It's sort of addictive that way. Even so, I encountered a lot of things I didn't like. For instance, many of the clues are vague and confusing. Plus it would've been nice to have a mission reminder menu. The best I can recommend for Urban Chaos is a one-night rental.
Whenever publishers ship a title before sending us a review copy like this it usually means the game is total crap, and Urban Chaos certainly has its share of problems. The graphics are piss-poor--blocky and glitch-o-rific, with noticeable draw-in, and the stiff controls aren't much better. But it's not all bad; the game design (mixing driving, fighting, and Tomb Raider-style action/exploration) is a fresh variation on the stale 3D action formula, and the adult story is definitely a nice change. There's some really cool missions you are sent on too. It's just too bad that the game's look and feel aren't up to the same level as the exciting gameplay ideas.
Download Urban Chaos
Developer Mucky Foot is made up of a bunch of ex-Bullfrog guys, and the head-honcho on the project, Mike Diskett is the man who brought the world Syndicate Wars. A hefty pedigree to live up to indeed, but Urban Chaos looks like it might be something special. A 3D action adventure title with a difference, what really sets the game apart is the graphics engine. There is an inordinate amount of detail in the way the thing looks. You'll be surprised it's running on a PlayStation. From Eidos this fall.