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At the end of the day, 25 To Life just isn't worth it. It's a full priced game that feels rushed and is lacking in many important areas which I've outlined above. Even if you're all about the online play, the offline mode suckage is turning people off faster than you can say "really bad word of mouth" which means it isn't going to get any easier finding people to play against. Eidos has released some worthy products recently (Total Overdose, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, Project Snowblind, Lego Star Wars) but this is more along the lines of that stinkbomb Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness. If you're curious, by God man, rent as headshots and gore do not a good game make!
In the end, 25 to Life succeeds in some key areas, and falters in others. If you don?t have Xbox Live, you?re not missing anything since the single player stuff is just not worth playing. If you have Live, this can be an incredibly enjoyable game once you get used to the profane and immature nature of players that frequent the lobbies. Looking past its control problems takes time, but when that happens, you find a fun game that can be enjoyed if you want to enjoy it. It?s a shame that it got so much crap for having ?offensive? content. I was more offended by the sloppy control and not even one-dimensional characters than I was by any of the violence. I wish that more of the delay time had gone towards fine-tuning the game, but as it stands, this is still an enjoyable game worthy of a Live-owner?s time and money when it drops to a more reasonable price.
Controversy aside, if you're the kind of gamer who doesn't really care about fresh ideas, the kind that would much sooner rent some simple shooting action than drop $50 on it, then perhaps 25 to Life is right up your alley. Those with more discerning palettes should avoid it. And if you only know coke as a beverage, then yes, maybe you're a little to young to be playing it at all.
The gameplay is a butchered take on the by-now overdone Max Payne-style first-person/third-person point-and-shoot mechanics. Throw in a few gimmicks that would have been impressive four years ago, like multiple playable characters and the ability to take human shields, and voila! You've got a freshly baked crapcake! Yes, it's got online, this is true, and we all know that misery loves company.
Throughout the early and mid '90s, there was a boom in movies that took place in "the hood." This urban-themed movie trend really kicked off due to the success of John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood. After that, the "me too" phenomenon kicked in, and there was suddenly a glut of gangsta movies--the quality of each steadily declining the further in you got. The same phenomenon is happening with games. While games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas stand out as Boyz n the Hood or Juice equivalents, we're also getting our video game equivalents of junk like Tales From the Hood or (shudder) Phat Beach. 25 to Life is the latest in line, and this third-person shooter is, in a word, dumb.
25 To Life is technically not a quick-cash in game riding the coattails of GTA: San Andreas because of all its delays, but the ugly graphics, boring gameplay, and an uninspired story certainly make it look like one. Despite a decent online offering, it’s not enough to save one sorry game. Avoid this game like the plague.
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.
It's always depressing when a product comes out that is clearly meant to capitalize on the "latest craze." (Anybody remember the Spice Girls game?) 25 to Life is the kind of hideous trash that damages gaming's reputation, resulting in the genesis of the Jack Thompsons of the world. I need to go play Pokemon or something, to get this awful taste out of my mouth.
Our story begins following Andre Freeze Francis as he returns home to his wife and child only to be met by a poorly acted spat between he and the lovely Mrs. Francis. She thinks he needs to get out of “the game,” which is gangsta-speak for the world of drugs and violence that follows around common gang members, and he keeps protesting that it’s impossible to pickup and leave the life of crime that he has been a part of for so long. As the game progresses new characters appear on both sides of the law, some straddle the fence between good and evil but thankfully the game makes no attempts at being smart or clever by throwing in a few plot twists. The story plods along, providing very few instances of intrigue or suspense and giving us instead a cut-scene before each new chapter that spells out exactly what is taking place in our character’s life.
This urban shooter plays like Max Payne without the story, the scenery, or the drama--in other words, like a tedious 3D shooting gallery. The developers cut corners everywhere, from the clunky controls to the single-player missions, which are drab and short; just as you get into the rhythm of blasting your way down the alleys of Tijuana, the level's over. Even the story is a paint-by-numbers hackwork about a drug deal gone wrong, and for no clear reason, you play it from three different perspectives, including a naïve cop, a two-bit criminal who's out for one last score, and a rip-off of Al Pacino's Scarface. Which one's the hero? The one who teaches his son how to smoke the pigs, of course.
For anyone looking for the definitive cops vs. robbers style of action game, this isn't it. In fact, it's not even close, though that applies mostly to the single-player campaign. Like Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance and Crime Life: Gang Wars, 25 to Life is another gritty, gory title with plenty of foul language and pointless killing. In it, you'll play as three different characters: the gangster Shaun Calderon, Detective Lester Williams and Andre Freeze Francis. The game starts out following Freeze as he comes to the decision that he no longer wants to be involved with the criminal world. As soon as he tries to leave, though, he's pulled right back in as his family is kidnapped and he's forced to fight to escape the life he strives to put behind him.
A theme that has been popping up lately on the game scene are the "gangsta"-style violent games. The trend started with a game that wasn't actually that bad to begin with, Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. But lately, the genre has been derailed with the likes of crappy games such as Konami's abysmally weak Crime Life: Gang Wars and 50 Cent's take on the gaming world, Bulletproof. Well, despite the lack of quality, the sales of Fitty's game has moved into the one million mark (I can hear Buffa groaning to himself now), so something tells me the trend won't stop. Oh, well...can we at least see something with substance and not just bling?
It's not that 25 to Life is offensively bad (which it assuredly is), it's that one would be pressed to think of a recent game that is more unnecessary. Pandering to every college student and aspiring rap artist's deep-seated Scarface fantasies, 25 to Life is a 3D action-shooter that not only fails to innovate on any level, but rolls back design and technological advancements to the early PSone era.
Aside from the soundtrack, there is no reason to buy this game. The only challenge lies in a design flaw and it offers up no fun at all. It really shouldn't have been made, and if nothing else, Eidos shouldn't have published it. 25 to Life is almost like a dirty joke -- You're laughing at how bad it is and feeling guilty at the same time. Don't waste your time or money on this game, it'll make your think-bone hurt.
Without question, the gangsta third-person shooter 25 to Life should be required playing at those new videogame design schools as a quintessential example of how not to make a game. You can pick almost anything at random to gripe about in this "one more job, then I'm leaving 'the life' for the good of my family" clichéd mess that's not fit to shine Max Payne's shoes, but the most serious infraction of all is the AI.
25 to Life isn't excused because it's based on video game logic. It fails because it has no logic at all. The hard-edged attempt to be serious only makes things stick out more. If the scoring system used on this site allowed a nicely rounded 0, that's what it would get. As for the controversy, if we have people in this country who would actually take this seriously, that's the fault of our education system failing to teach kids at a young age that floating, spinning first aid kits will not refill their health meters in the midst of a gang war.