25 to Life Review
25 to Life is yet another hip-hop, urban gangsta action game that tries to use loud rap music, excessive cursing, and non-stop gun violence to mask the fact that the gameplay is really lame. So lame, in fact, that ten minutes into it you’ll want to sentence the developers to 25 to life for releasing this mess of a game…
The game opens with you playing as Andre “Freeze” Francis, a gangster who has promised his wife that he will leave the gangster life behind after finishing one last job. The job, of course, goes horribly wrong and Freeze finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his family. Yes, it’s as derivative as it sounds and it doesn’t get any better as the game goes on. Later in the game you’ll also play as another gangster looking to set-up operations in Tijuana and a good cop surrounded by bad cops. The three generic and meandering storylines are supposedly related, but it’s really not worth the effort on your part to attempt to make sense of the whole thing – especially since your goal in each mission is always essentially the same: kill just about everyone in sight.
25 to Life is about as linear a game as they come. Move into a new area or room, kill everyone, move to next room, repeat. It is indeed as monotonous as it sounds, and is made even more so by the game’s terrible controls. It is far too difficult to aim your weapon in the game and more often than not you’ll just have to unleash a barrage of bullets in the general vicinity of your target in the hope that some will randomly hit their mark. Making matters worse, enemies are ridiculously tough to take down. You’ll have to hit them over and over again to take them out – it even takes three or more headshots to drop an enemy – and they’ll act like nothing is wrong up until the very moment they drop dead. Then in a brilliant touch of realism, they’ll utter a long dying phrase after they’ve already expired. The thing that makes this mess of a combat system go from just-plain-frustrating to throw-your-controller-across-the-room frustrating is that your enemies are dead-eye shots at all distances and it only takes a few hits to kill you. Even though the AI is so brain-dead that its primary form of attack is to run right up to you and then run in a circle around you while shooting, every enemy is such a good shot that you will die constantly. Get used to seeing the cutscene of you lying in an expanding pool of your own blood because you will see it over and over again.
The rest of the controls are just as bad as the aiming controls. You can lean out from behind cover to shoot, but your field of fire is so small that you’ll need to come out from cover to get a shot at your enemies. Your turn rate is so slow that you won’t be able to swing your gun around a corner in time to get off the first shot on an enemy or to keep up with one of those enemies running in a circle around you. It’s all simply a frustrating mess.