If you were one of the lucky many who missed out on a little budget-priced PC first-person shooter from last year titled Mob Enforcer, then congratulations, you did yourself a spectacular favor. Now do yourself another favor and skip Chicago Enforcer for the Xbox too. You see, despite a clever attempt to fool you into thinking the two games are actually different products via a half-baked name change, lo and behold, Mob Enforcer and Chicago Enforcer are one and the same, brought to you by the same developer, Touchdown Entertainment. The only difference is that the original game's largely terrible single-player campaign has been joined by a similarly bad multiplayer mode. In fact, the only thing you can say in Chicago Enforcer's defense is that it truly manages to re-create what it must be like to be on the wrong end of a mob shakedown, because by the end of the experience, you'll pretty much feel like you've had your head caved in with a lead pipe.
The setup for Chicago Enforcer is simple: You're a lowly thug looking to come up through the ranks of Al Capone's Chi Town criminal racket in the 1930s. To do this, you'll have to murder a lot of gangsters, murder a lot of crooked cops, avoid killing civilians for some reason, and occasionally perform a few mundane tasks that have little relevance to any of what is supposedly going on in the game.
The premise itself isn't terrible, but the game never does a thing with it. It's just one dull, repetitive mission after another. You're charged with killing a mob informant in the first mission, but before you can, you have to wander aimlessly through the streets (which apparently are populated only with enemy gangsters, cops, and one or two civilians whom, again, you can't kill, or the game is over for some reason), mowing down enemies, and then you eventually get to the hotel, mow through some more gangsters, climb a few flights of stairs, realize you need a key to unlock the door to the last floor, run back down the stairs, mowing down even more enemies in the process, and run back up--well, you can see where this is going. Now envision this kind of drudgery spread across 10 chapters, each with multiple sections, peppered only with a few other objectives, like lousy locked-door puzzles and occasional bomb-planting assignments, and you've got the gist of what this game offers.
You might be able to forgive the dreadful missions if the shooting in the game were any fun. Then again, if the shooting were any fun, we wouldn't be calling this game terrible. The AI is either overpowered or underpowered to the point of screaming frustration (including cops that you couldn't bring down with a Sherman tank), with no gray area in between. The list of unsatisfying weapons includes, among other things, a shotgun that works wonders at picking off enemies from hundreds of feet away despite the fact that even the game's manual tells you it's supposed to work well only at close range, a sniper rifle that's almost useless because of the two-second delay between when you press the shoot button and when the gun fires, and a makeshift rocket launcher that's actually a novelty-sized bottle rocket, complete with multicolored sparks. Even the weapons that aren't ridiculous or broken aren't any fun, thanks to the obnoxious AI and the awful, clunky shooting mechanics.
This all carries over into the game's multiplayer mode in spades. You've got deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, as well as a couple of gangster-themed variations on king of the hill and capture the flag games. Sounds dandy, right? Not so much. The maps the game provides you with are pathetically bad versions of levels from the game. Some are open street areas with sprinklings of indoor areas you can occasionally hide in, and others are narrow, ugly, thoroughly unpleasant indoor maps with no real room to move around. All your weapon upgrades and health pickups come in the form of big blue circles floating around each environment, which look more than a little out of place. But the most fundamental flaw is, again, that the shooting just isn't fun, and shoving more players into the mix doesn't fix that. All that will accomplish is getting up to eight people to hate the game with you.
Chicago Enforcer also fails to present itself in any positive fashion. The game uses a graphics engine that looks like it has been trapped in a time capsule for the last five years. It features horribly bland textures, blocky character models that animate about as well as animatronic robots with broken limbs, and environments so sparsely populated with proper scenery or the aforementioned terrible character models that you would think you had entered some kind of postnuclear wasteland, where venturing outside was equal to certain doom. And yet despite the horribly archaic graphics, the game takes forever to load up a mission. It takes 30 seconds to a minute for any mission to load, and any time you die, you have to sit through another horrendous load time. The audio is equally minimalist, with practically no music whatsoever, badly generic sound effects that you've heard in about a thousand other games, and very little in the way of voice acting. What little voice acting is included is the only high point of the presentation. It's mostly made up of the sort of cheeseball gangsterisms you might hear in a made-for-TV biopic about Chicago organized-crime lords, but it's delivered well enough. It's a shame there isn't very much of it.
It really ought to be clear as crystal at this point what you should do in the case of Chicago Enforcer. Real-life mobsters have been given cement shoes and a one-way ticket off a pier for less than what Chicago Enforcer tries to get away with, so to actually go out and pay money for this pile of junk would be an absolute mistake. Please, just stay away.