Reviewed by Tinnanski - 02.07.06
Eidos takes a shot at the gangster gaming market with their run and gun action game, 25 To Life. The premise of playing as three different characters in a mature rated gangster game had me pumped. The so called GTA meets Socom would be enough to snag any gamer. Read on as I take a look at the newest gang banging gaming outing 25 To Life to see if it lives up to the hype.
After a fuzzy opening cut scene, you are put into the shoes of Freeze a drug dealer who wants out of the dealing game. It doesn't take long for 25 to Life to get to the content of the game which is a straight forward run and gun shoot everything that moves game. 25 To Life is being compared to Max Payne, but this is only because you run around in a 3 rd person view, dual wielding guns. Other then that 25 to Life can not hold up to Max Payne, or even Dead to Rights. 25 to Life is a pointless as they come, which could be shrugged off if only the games mechanics where up to par.
25 To Life is a short game which can be tackled in about six to eight hours depending if you complete all the objectives. There are a total of twelve missions and each one takes on average 20-40 minutes to complete. The levels themselves are linear with little options besides go forward and shoot.
One area which 25 to Life gains a little respect is in the selection of weapons. I already mentioned the targeting is horrible, but they seemed to get the weapons right. There are handguns, shotguns, sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades and the always basic Molotov cocktails. Then you also have some blunt weapons like the knife, baseball bat, and tire iron. Finally the tire iron! Is this a first?! Overall there are over 40 weapons to use during the game which is impressive that's why it is unfortunate that the game is bugged with bad targeting and accuracy.
The AI is equally as bugged as the rest of the game and won't be any challenge. The AI seems to have decent aiming abilities because it seems they can get from any distance. Even though they might get a few cheap shots in you can always outsmart them easily. I noticed this right off the bat during the first level where I was shooting some cops in the legs under a big rigs trailer. The officers just ran around like headless chickens, even though they could easily found their way around the trailer. It's not too shocking that they didn't.
To get the most out of 25 To Life you will have to take the battle online, which is more fun then the single player missions. The online features are actually pretty robust from building clans, customizable characters, unlockable gear and a variety of game modes. I was surprised with the online portion and enjoyed the brief time I played Raid (Police vs. Criminals), and WAR (deathmatch). I'm happy with the offering online, and now I see why it's being called Socom in the Hood. I guess it resembles the military boys in Socom, but it's strictly because of the online side of the fence.
Graphically 25 to Life seems a little out of place on the Xbox in its last year running. The environments, to characters models are lacking in variation are become repetitive dulling the effect of the game. 25 to Life really border on a budget title visuals, which doesn't jive with the price sticker on the box.
The audio is pretty average like the graphics with the highlights being the cut scene voice overs and the soundtrack. The soundtrack is filled with a list of underground hip hop tracks to some mainstream artists. Some of the artists featured are unknowns like Tukmouth, Jackpot and UTP Playas, and then more familiar talents like 2Pac, Krs-One, Xzibit, and DMX. You really have to like rap music to enjoy the soundtrack of 25 to Life, of course they needed rap overtop of this gangster cop slaying game and even though it's the cliché' gangster stereotype it does helps the atmosphere in 25 to Life.
Oh man, 25 to Life. Am I in jail?! I was actually looking forward to some simplistic gangster killing gaming with 25 to Life, as you can guess those thoughts where crushed as soon as the disc started spinning in my Xbox. There is no mojo loving for 25 to Life, and even simple gaming joys like shooting police in the head seemed dull and unsatisfying. I'm glad I could go online with this one, now I can hear whisperings of a jailbreak.
25 To Life is a game that has already been forgotten, unless you a fan of online gaming. Giving all the other mediocre gangster shooters that have been emerging we really didn't need another one to be added to the pile. Sadly besides the online portion 25 to Life is a dated effort that seems too generic, and overall dull.
Game: 5, Graphics/Sound: 5, Innovation: 4, Mojo: 4 Final: 4.5 / 10