Genre: First-person Shooter
Developer: Touchdown Entertainment
Release Date: Q4 2004
Budget titles are hard titles to gauge in terms of how worthy they are of your purchase, because while for the most part budget titles are significantly lesser quality than other titles they also cost about half as much. Chicago Enforcer has already been released on the PC as Mob Enforcer, which also shares the budget category, and is slated to hit the Xbox early next year. Given that Chicago Enforcer is a direct port there isn’t likely to be a whole lot of change in content between its current preview state and the time it hits shelves, so certain lines can already be drawn as to what the final game will really entail.
In Chicago Enforcer you play as an enforcer working for a powerful mob family in the 1920’s who is often sent in to do the dirty work of the family, including standard mob fare such as killing squealers and wiping out smaller groups who are trying to move in on the family’s territory. The game is played from the first-person perspective and uses the LithTech engine as seen in Monolith’s Noone Lives Forever 2, both to fairly good effect and as a crutch.
You see, many of the sound effects, animations, objects, and potentially even some of the textures are the exact same ones as seen in NOLF2, making the title feel less like an original budget-priced title and more like paying for a mod to a title that is over two years old. For a budget title though the weapons and characters look fairly detailed, with some of the high points being the way the light plays off of the smooth metal on guns and some nice particle effects that accompany the explosions. The player can use a variety of classic mobster weapons in Chicago Enforcer such as Tommy guns and Colt 1911s, which all have their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the lead pipe will drop just about anyone in one or two hits, but you really don’t want to rush an enemy who knows you are coming with it in your hand.
One thing that Chicago Enforcer seems to be really lacking at this stage in development is originality. Missions are often limited to merely “Go here, pick up this, go back to here” objectives which are more busywork and tediousness than much of a challenge. There are good features in place that aren’t used to much extent yet, such as the police drawing their weapons and firing at you when you have any weapon unholstered. One of the bigger negative aspects of the title that one hopes will be fixed before release is the AI.
In Chicago Enforcer the enemies you face will either be standing upright and still, only pursuing you when you leave their range or line of sight, or being driven by scripted actions such as running at you from afar or from around a corner. The worst though are the sound effects used in game, which literally sound like what would be considered good eight years ago, and the almost utter lack of any form of music. If Touchdown Entertainment takes a bit more time to get a new set of sound effects in and maybe throw some vintage 1920’s music in all qualms will be solved, but as it stands now the sound in Chicago Enforcer is pretty bad, even for a budget title.
Chicago Enforcer does promise multiplayer both via System Link and Xbox Live which could prove to be fun, but was unable to try out in the preview build. Multiplayer could foreseeably be a lot of fun considering the titles price range, but the key factor is obviously if enough gamers will pick up the title to make Xbox Live populated given that budget titles don’t have a whole lot of respect behind them.
Given that Chicago Enforcer is a budget-priced title currently in development it’s tough to call it either way. Compared against full-priced titles Chicago Enforcer pales, but on the other hand it is also probably one of the better budget titles for the Xbox seen so far. Given that other budget titles such as Serious Sam have been absolutely awesome for such a small retail price there is hope that Chicago Enforcer will at least hit store shelves as a decent purchase for someone looking for a Xbox mobster game on the cheap. Look for more on the title as it gets closer to its ship date.