== Urban Reign ==
Urban Reign is a game that has been developed by Namco who are famous for making several fighting games such as Soulcalibur and the Tekken series. I have always been a massive fan of Namco's fighting games because I feel they add lots of depth and variety in them. When this game was first released here in the UK I hadn't heard of it and after reading the back of the case and found out it was a Namco game I thought it was worth checking up on some more, mainly due to me always doing my research on a game before buying it. After researching the game I new then I would love it, however after going back to my local game shop they had sold out of it (I left it a few days) however luckily after browsing Amazon I found it and ordered it straight away. Upon receiving my game I was really happy and was looking forward to getting it on. After opening it up and putting it in my PS2, my first thoughts was that the disk was quite scratched for a used game that was in apparently Very Good condition after loading it my fears came reality and the game would keep crashing at the menu, so I had to send the game back and get another copy and roughly about a week later I finally got a copy that worked and I was very eager to get it on.
Finally its working!!! The basic story is pretty good. You take the role as a man named Brad Hawke who has been hired to find a kidnapped gang member. The person who hired you is a swordswoman named Shun Ying Lee. Brad finds himself teaming up with new members and also Shun Ying Lee to fight there way through various street gangs in the city of Green Harbor. As you progress with Brad and the team you find out new discoveries as you search for the answers to the whereabouts of the kidnapped gang member. Upon a few storyline's you receive a new mission which is take down the big bad gang member who leads them all to fight against you and your team. Question is can you conquer the game? The story is actually good and each mission gets straight to the point and builds upon the story on each mission briefing. Has some great missions and new storyline's throughout.
=== Gameplay ===
I was very impressed with the gameplay to Urban Reign as its not really similar to any other fighting games I have played and offers a whole range of variety to be cracking on with. In the game itself there are several modes, however there is only the story mode that is accessible for the time being as you need to finish that to unlock other game modes. In story mode you only plays as one character but when you have another character fighting in a mission with you it is possible to change to them and fight for a bit of variety. Also on story mode there is 100 missions/levels to complete. Now while this does sound like a hell of a lot, some can take as little as two minutes to do. In story mode you meet new characters and unlock new characters that can be used in future game modes and also each level you complete you acquire some skill points to upgrade your character Brad. You can upgrade skills such as special attacks, defence, attack, weapon power and many more. In the later missions you will find your fighting multiple enemies at once or you might even have different missions other than just beating them black and blue, like for example busting up someones lower body. After completing story mode you unlock a few other game modes, one is training which is just you doing what you want to another fighter. The other is a mode where you fight constant enemies to unlock more bits. In these modes you can pick a character other than Brad and there are 60 playable characters to choose from when you unlock them and do include two Tekken fighters, Marshall Law and Paul Phoenix. Also you can do multiplayer story mode if there is more than just Brad in a mission and also there is another 3 modes for 4 players games if you have a multitap for the PS2. The combos on the game are unlike combos I have ever seen on any fighting game, they are simply unreal, special and unique. You get the use of weapons if you can find them as well, you can grapple, kick, punch or by any way means necessary beat your opponents. The gameplay is something special.
=== Graphics ===
For a game thats was released in 2005 the graphics you would think would look pretty dated for a fighting game, however with Urban Reign this was not the case as the graphics are still actually really good. The layout of the places you fight the gangs and other enemies are really nicely designed and look exactly like they should do for rough areas. Places like alleyways, streets and car parks look brilliant and fit into this type of game almost perfectly. Now the design and graphics for the characters is really interesting, your normal enemies pretty much look average which to be fair is a good thing or your going to be thinking your fighting big bad bosses all the time. As for the other characters, well Brad Hawke is the guy the game revolves around and Namco have always been good at designing characters for fighting games and with Brad they had cracked the perfect main character to a game, even better than Pacman himself. Other characters are also very smartly designed and look incredible in the game, with their rough looks and actually looking like they could do some damage where as some games they don't. Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law look pretty much how they do on Tekken and to be fair this works to their advantage and the game probably sold more just for having this labelled on the back of the case. I was also deeply impressed with the weather effects and other aspects to the graphics, as when your fighting in rain it looks spectacular and also the sky, grass and buildings look smartly designed for an older game.
=== Sound ===
I was equally very impressed with the sound effects and the music to Urban Reign. The music actually fits really well into the game and it gives you a bit of adrenaline and makes you try harder to beat your opponents. Also the music is fitted in nicely to the game, with boss music, normal fight music and also the menu music smartly designed into the game. Now the sound effects were really special. I was firstly impressed that all the characters are voice activated which makes things so very very simple. Also the rain thrashing down as your running through puddles really do sound like how they would if it was me running through them. To be honest I thought the sound would be rather dated but they're not at all dated and still sound amazing. Also another part I was impressed was the ability to hear every strike you make on an opponent and hearing them scream. Other sound effects such as whacking someone with a lead pipe or drop kicking them into a wall or other objects actually do sound really good, I was very pleased with this aspect to the game.
=== Difficulty & Longevity ===
These two categories are the only two some gamers may find are the bad points to the game itself. The difficulty can be rather tricky at times even for the more experienced gamer like myself who has been playing all kinds of games from the age of 5. However it is a challenge at times but soon as you've gotten the hang of it your basically cooking with gas. The further you get in the game the harder the enemies become, also the further you get the stronger you get which does come at a price as your enemies seem to get much stronger and even stronger than you. Its quite simple on the two player modes so no problems there. To be good at this game you need to know when to block, when to counter and when to finish off your opponents, you can do this? then you'll be fine throughout the game. When I first played this a few years back I wasn't so good but now that I am a better gamer I zoomed through the game a second time just recently. Some characters are hard to beat as well but as I say practice makes perfect. As for the longevity of the game, back a few years ago I found myself racking up the hours of gameplay due to me being stuck on each level I came to, however recently it took me just over 5 hours to complete all 100 missions which I feel is a great achievement. Now that does sound rather short for a game with 100 missions but don't forget you unlock other modes which do rack the hours way up, so to me this isn't much of a disappointment at all.
=== Good Bits ===
*Over 100 missions in story mode make this a thrilling encounter against gangs.
*60 playable characters on multiplayer modes which is really intriguing.
*Urban Reign has some unbelievable combo moves and special attacks.
*Use weapons to beat your enemies to a bloody pulp.
*Team up with a friend to conquer story mode.
*Unlock lots of new things including characters, modes, new combos and skills.
=== Bad Bits ===
*Its a shame you can only play story mode as Brad Hawke.
*Took me 5 hours to complete the story mode but there are other modes,
*The fights can become very repetitive but its not really to bad a thing.
*Also the game can become annoying when stuck and also very addictive.
=== Final Bits ===
Urban Reign is possibly my all time favourite fighting game. It has a few modes that you get to experiment with and also a whole bunch of characters to do some Jackie Chan style action with. the layout of the levels are very impressive and make the game much more entertaining. I believe for everything you get with Urban Reign, I seriously do believe its great value for money, tons of characters, loads of missions, some great martial arts, lots of hidden bits and the ability to upgrade your main character Brad, I feel all these aspects make the game exactly what it is and thats brilliant. After finally getting my filthy hands on a copy of this Namco fighting game I was really pleased and the game cost me a total of bang on £10 from Amazon. I do believe for £10 your getting so much value for money as like me you can easily go back and play the game over and over again. Fighting games seem to be one of the only games where the outcome is always different, where as the story maybe the same, each fight will end completely different and in new ways. All in all this game has to go down as a very different fighting game with style and absolute brilliance. Namco have made this a truly special game. Urban Reign has a rating of 16+ and this is mainly due to violence throughout the game and some very strong language used. I would recommend Urban Reign to fans of Namco games and especially to fans of Dead Or Alive, Tekken, Soulcalibur and many other quality fighting games as this is up there with the very best of them. I would give Urban Reign a very commanding 9/10 almost perfect!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
From the makers of SOULCALIBUR and Tekken comes the next level in fighting action- Urban Reign. Gang life and street justice rule the inner city turning neighborhoods into war zones. One of the City's many gangs has hired you to protect their leader, plunging you into a war that involves corruption spanning from the streets all the way to the upper levels of city government.