It's no where near as bad as most reviews say. It is a fun game that just suffers from some short comings.
The manual is very nice. If the person playing hasn't seen the show yet the manual will get you up to speed with the characters and story. It does a good job of explaining how to perform anything that will need to be done. The cut scenes are very well done and look very good. The story is great for the most part but it has it's problems. Without spoiling anything I can tell you it is evry unsatisfactory. Also there are at least one continuity error I can think of. Overall though it really retains the feel of the show. There is a video at the start of the story mode that recaps what has happened from seasons one to three (this game takes place in between season 3 and 4). I would of liked more video options as you only get to tinker with AA and detail, totaling maybe 3 things. There is a decent number of game options outside of graphics though.
The best part of the Shield is the character models of the cast members. Any regular character on The Shield is done beautifaly and looks almost exactly as they do when watching it on TV. That is about where my praise of the graphics end. Weapon models are pretty bad, especially the pistol which is hideous. There are some clipping errors in which bullet holes and blood are going off of an object and hanging in mid air. When you are exiting the Barn the view of the outside world looks like some guy took a picture of a car in a parking lot and they used that. The animiation of Vic searching anything, whether it be a person or couch, look fake and bad. I didn't notice any real glitches aside form the clipping and the game only crashed on me once. The framerate is solid and I had no lag at all.
The Shield sound sucked to say the least. The voice acting was good, with the exception of Margos and Claudette, who were both voiced by people who sounded nothing like CCH Pounder or Kurt Sutter. Furthurmore the dialogue was usually really bad, expesially the soundbytes. Everyone overuses their few soundbytes earlier and just keep doing it. Shane yells "Quit screwing around Vic" or "Cover me" so often I want to shoot him myself. The only good parts is the few parts where Vic and Shane are making fun of Dutch because they captured the spirit of the show there perfectly. The background music is nice, the first few minutes and quickly gets annoying after that. Hearing the same guitar riff every time Vic gets in a fight is not fun.
Who doesn't like to beat people up in games, here theres lots of fun ways to do so. You can burn peoples faces off of stoves, dunk their heads in toilets, ram their heads into walls, punch, beat a guy with a phonebook, and much more. This is the meat and potatoes of the game, if you don't like that, you truly won't like the game at all. The AI could of been smarter, Shane just runs into harms way a lot, most AI can't shoot for s***, but it isn't so bad I threw the game down and stopped. One thing I hated was that enemies could shoot through doors but I couldn't. They are using the same type of gun as me (there is only one pistol in the game) but I guess they are using armor piercing or something.The mini game in which you search things is not hard like some have said, I mastered it in 2 minutes. Same goes for the mini game to handcuff a suspect. The shooting in this game is done nicely and feels good. So is the cover function. This can be a fun game if you give it a chance.
This is a downside, there isn't much lasting appeal. The game can be beaten in about 8-10 hours and thats with completing all optional missions and unlocking everything. Now about those unlockables, they're worthless. They are just weird pictures that really have no purpose or meaning. Some die hard fans will want to play through all difficulty settings, I know I might, but there's no real reason to. The gameplay is fun, but it will be the same levels over again, no surprises.