Rocksteady Made One Other Great Game Too...
Sure, Batman: Arkham Asylum is great.
But what you might not know is that the game's develper, London-based Rocksteady, cut their teeth on an obscure title that happened to be one of my favorite games of 2006: Urban Chaos: Riot Response.
Terrible name, I know. Bear with me here.
The game stars Nick Mason, a member of a special task force designated to rid the city of a group of mask-wearing terrorist-boobs. Initially, it seems like Urban Chaos is heading down the path of a hundred other banal first-person-shooters: Bad guys appear. You shoot them. Repeat.
Then the game introduces a nifty Riot Shield mechanic. Press the right trigger on the controller, and your Riot Shield pops up on screen and begins absorbing enemy gunfire.The shield not only looks great as it absorbs bullets, it also has the effect of making gun battles feel exponentially more cerebral and dramatic.
Better still, the game requires you to work with good samaritans like fire fighters, police officers, and EMTs in order to accomplish certain objectives and save people. Yes, there's a feel-good, post 9/11 subtext here that I personally really appreciated.
But what made the game so absurdly addictive for me were the laundry lists of sub-objectives that accompanied each levels. Sure, you could just go through the level, and move on with your life. Or, you could try to meet these sub-objectives. I chose the latter. Sub-objectives required you to perform above and beyond the call of duty. Examples: Get five headshots in the level, or find the location of four hidden items, or complete the level without using any checkpoint saves, or don't kill the level's final boss but Taser him (yes, there's a Taser in the game) instead and arrest him.
For a brief period of time during the muggy, New York summer of 2006, I became more than a little obsessed with this game. Toss the used-and-the-damned bins at your local gamestore. You can probably pick this up for pennies at this point. (It's available for the PS2 and the now-seemingly-ancient Xbox.) And you're 100-percent more likely to have more fun playing this than you will playing Halo 3: ODST.