The premise of 25 To Life
had me intrigued. In fact, I was excited after reading the box and parts of the instruction manual. The fact is that youíll take on the role of three characters. The first is a gang member who no longer wants in on the action. As you try to get out of the gang, youíll encounter cops and gang members alike, just waiting to off you. The second is that of a police officer, trying to uphold the law. And the third is a gang leader, and the firstís best friend.
But as soon as the first bad cut scene was displayed on my PSOne ... errrr ... PS2, I realized that I was in for some disappointment. "Okay," I thought. "Just because a cut scene isnít the best in the world, the gameplay could still make this game worth recommending." Well, unlike many politicians out there, I am here to admit when Iím wrong. But, while I never side with the political types who are anti-video games, I have to say that I wish they had stopped this horrible game from hitting the streets, and inevitably, consumersí hands. It is nothing but a force-fed portion of bad language (including the VERY Mature-rated soundtrack) and cop-killing, with no real substantial gameplay support.
So, once the gameplay starts, youíll see first-hand how bad this game can be. First and foremost, any game developer who doesnít realize that a bullet to the head will kill all but about 0.001% of men needs to get a reality check. Okay, so even if it takes two shots, simply because your aim maybe wasnít the greatest... I could accept that once in a while. But when you cannot dispatch an enemy EVER with a single shot to the head, itís time to tweak the collision detection or the statistical information in the game engine. This is arguably the most frustrating aspect of the game, because even at point blank range from behind, you cannot kill people realistically in what is supposed to be a semi-realistic simulation of the street life of gang-bangers. (NOTE: I once counted six shots to what appeared to be the head of a stationary cop.) Oh, did I mention that the enemy A.I. has just the opposite ability? Thatís right, while youíre popping cap after cap into their bionic bodies, theyíll be returning fire with pinpoint accuracy, all without a flinch.
Hostage, what? While youíre playing the side of the gang members, you can actually sneak up behind civilians and hold them hostage. But just because that would give you a fighting chance in the real world to escape a situation, in 25 To Life, even the police show no mercy. They will typically hold their fire for a while, and then apparently decide that innocent human life is meaningless, as they drop lead into you, killing your hostage too. Americaís finest, my ass.
The basic point is that the gameplay of 25 To Life just doesnít do it for me. Thank goodness you can create a gang online (or play over a LAN)... up to 16 players... or so the manual says. In my attempts to shoot it out online, my experience was a bust. It took many attempts and a lot of patience to finally be able to fire my first virtual bullet via the Internet because the Quick Match feature really didnít work, or there werenít enough people online. You need to sit and wait for a host of players, and that can just take a very long time in general. Once online, the level layout was basic at best. Regardless, it was a disappointing experience all around.