State of Emergency 2 Preview
By: Andy Levine

Following up on the original State of Emergency that was released a few years back, the second title in the series continues the Freedom movement against the oppressive Corporation. To prevent the slaughter of thousands of civilians during a global enslavement, you need to take control of several different characters across a bloody 12 mission campaign. Including the new abilities to control gangs and pilot vehicles, State of Emergency 2 is shaping up to be a satisfyingly violent third person shooter.

The single player campaign takes place tens year from when we first left out, and the world is in utter ruins. Since the uprising of the evil Corporation, the streets have been filled with nothing but chaos and anarchy. Enforcers have put tens of thousands of civilians to death for acting out against their rule, and they won’t stop until everybody is under their control.

We join the main character moments before his execution, but luckily a few friends managed to hook up with a gas mask and a sub-machinegun to help him escape from the gas chamber. At this point, the action begins to escalate and you really begin to see what this game is all about; pure violence. The control scheme is very easy to get a feel for. The typical dual analog setup is used for movement, while the top L and R buttons are used for various firing options. Scrolling through your weapons can easily be done by pressing triangle. Pressing up or down on the D-pad will navigate through your arsenal with precision and can be a little more time consuming, but it allows you to scroll back if you’ve gone too far. Movement feels a little on the clunky side, and the character seems to drift to the side after the analog stick has been released. Instead of having a lock-on system all aiming is done with the right stick, and again it’s hard to have the reticule stop exactly where you want it to. X is the interaction button, which comes in handy whether you need to open up prison gates or break a lock. Characters can be switched during missions on the fly, and certain people must be used for context-specific scenarios.

The actual gameplay of SoE2 is frantic and violent, making this game blast to play. Whether you’ve just incited a prison riot or if you’re roaming the streets of an unruly ghetto, the levels are always overflowing with enemies and civilians. Using weapons from grenade and rocket launchers to assault rifles and snipers, the vast arsenal prevents the experience from becoming too monotonous. The environments are filled with highly explosive objects, so you can fire at toxic barrels or a car’s gas tank to kill anything remotely close. Controlling a gangs isn’t too hard to do and can be very effective when facing swarms of Enforcers at once. The computer AI isn’t all that sophisticated on either side though, so a majority of the firefights will involve you mowing down everyone in sight. A few gameplay twists are present, however, including one covert mission in which you need to shoot out turrets by ducking around corners. The combination of stealth with run-and-gun tactics made this level especially entertaining. Once all of the objectives have been completed, the chapter is completed and you receive a level ranking. The number of enemies killed, how much destruction was caused, and the number of civilians killed can all affect how you are ranked, and there are plenty of unlockables to encourage you to do your best.

Aside from the main campaign, arcade challenges offer fast paced action and the multiplayer modes offer some great split screen moments. Each arcade challenge has a bronze, silver, and gold medal challenge and its own high score table. Kaos challenges set you in a chaotic environment filled with scrambling civilians and brutal Enforcers, and the objective here is to kill anything that gets in your way. Bonus points can be earned for killing many enemies in succession or by blowing cars to pieces. Weapon specific challenges like the sniper shootouts and rocket launcher standoffs can surely satisfy anyone’s blood lust. Up to 4 players (split screen or with bots) can be present in a multiplayer game. Typical game modes like deathmatch and capture the flag are always nice to have. Unconventional modes like Last Man Standing where hundreds of Enforcers are pumped full of lead are also loads of fun. Overall, there is plenty of fun to be had outside of the main campaign.

State of Emergency 2 is definitely going to be a notable release this February. With its involved single player campaign and blasphemous gameplay style, anyone with a pulse is going to be able to get a kick out of this maniacal title.