25 to Life

An urban third person shooter that aimed to be 50 Cent Bulletproof but fell closer to Triggerman territory.

Let’s list those two games quickly for reference;

Trigger Man (18%)

What was said about it:

In my time of dying I will know very quickly if I am going to hell because this game is the first thing I’ll see.

May 6th 2021

50 Cent Bulletproof (87%)

What was said about it:

The story is bananas, violent and over the top with enough self awareness and humor sprinkled through to remind gamers that this isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

July 13th 2022

25 to Life exists somewhere in between these two polar extremes in what I like to refer to as NARC territory.

For starters, 25 to Life puts the capital, “G” in guilty pleasure. Saying this game is poorly written would be a gross understatement. With a story that has more stereotypes than a Jeff Dunham special, the plot somehow tries to take itself so seriously that it is absolutely cringe-worthy. Exploiting dumb racial stereotypes, this game even caught flak in 2006! 2006 was the Wild West! The video game industry a cultural potpourri of cringe and shock. Radio stations were even still hiring shock jocks to piss people off on the morning commute.

So put briefly – it’s a trash game written by seemingly two thirteen year old boys that lived in the Suburbs and stayed up past their bedtime once and watched fifteen minutes of a Spike Lee joint.

Freeze, one of three playable protagonists

To be completely honest, I normally would just assume that the game’s plot is just too fucking stupid to even be offensive but I have been surprised before, Twitter. ( Every couple of months I like to plug an article that I was, “forbidden” to publish again by some cry baby I could give a fuck about)

With that said, let’s get into the basics of the aforementioned plot which prides itself on allowing players to “Play both sides.” The online mode allowed for a team Deathmatch mode of, “Cops Vs Robbers” which from what I’ve read in older reviews was new well received either.

The single player campaign starts with, Freeze, a small time robber who after confronted by his wife to be a better role model for their young son decides he wants out of the game. He tells his partner in crime, Shaun Calderone that he wants out but Shaun isn’t having it. He demands he do one more job to pay his way out. The job goes to hell as it looks like the men were setup. After fighting gang members and police all night, Freeze returns to his apartment only to realize Calderone took his girlfriend and son hostage until he gets Freeze’s cut from their botched job. Freeze goes out for one more heist to make the money and is arrested and charged with Murder. One count despite the thousands of police officers you’ve gunned down by now.

After Freeze is sentenced to life in prison the narrative switchs to the law enforcement side, with the absolutely eye-rolling character of Detective Maria Mendoza and Officer Williams (who is like the, “I’m too old for this shit” cop from Lethal Weapon.)

Detective Maria Mendoza

We should probably discuss the character of Maria Mendoza, briefly. In what brief screen time she does get, some of the most cringeworthy material comes from her. But this was also 2006, a year where nerdy white programmers were trying their best to empower female minorities in games by just indirectly exploiting the shit out of them.

Maria Mendoza mentions at least twice to your character that she could, “fuck you faster than she could kill you. Which isn’t a bad pick up line. She also reminds you that your dick isn’t big enough to do anything for her repeatedly as well, not such a solid pick up line. Or maybe they’re just all bad pick up lines. Anyways, she’s a handful. Moving on.

You don’t get to play as the spark plug, Mendoza, infiltrating Calderone’s club as Officer Williams. You get a nice upgrade of guns and trap Calderone in a subway. But alas he gets away. I won’t tell you how because I’d hate to spoil this, fifteen year old game that IGN.Com simply called, “Awful”. But rules are rules.

Moving forward with the plot you get to take over Calderone’s character and get to hear and see every awful stereotype of different cultures in Spanish now. You single candidly kill nearly everyone in a Cartel and billions of Mexican police officers because why not at this point and take over the entire country of Mexico.

I say this every time I leave a room.

More shit happens but it’s all really moot at this point. Now for the most polarizing part about this entire experience: despite the terrible voice acting, storyboards, lame ass writing and cringeworthy ignorance, the gameplay is super fun.

They certainty didn’t reinvent the wheel but it’s passable. It controls well enough, it feels good. Its closer to Hitman mechanics than the balsa wood integrity of other budget Run n’ Guns like, Trigger Man and Narc.

The graphics are hideous but the game doesn’t overstay its welcome and makes for a fun yet absolutely adolescent and ludicrous experience.

Overall: 74%

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