25 to Life is set in the urban inner city jungle where you can choose to be either a law enforcer or law-breaker. In single-player mode, you follow the storyline of young Freeze who is trying to survive in the hood and protect his family, or that of Shaun Calderon, a gang leader who had to escape to Mexico. On the other side of the law, you can play the cop Lester Williams whose department is swamped by corruption.
Whatever you choose, the bulk of the game has to walk through the cities, hide behind corners and then bust out and shoot people. As always, you have an arsenal of weapons and moves at your disposal.
You can also play online with several people, fighting against each other in teams.
The game received some publicized outrage from police groups such the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund who called for a boycott of it prior to its release due to the objective of killing cops while playing as a thug and the ability to use humans as shields. Eidos did delay its release for a few months, partly to polish up game play but also to tone down "kill moves".