# of Players: 1
N Amer - 06/19/2007
Raw Danger Review
Imagine you’re a waiter in the swankiest hotel restaurant in a newly developed city that had, several years ago, experienced a natural disaster that leveled the city. You’re in the middle of an important evening for the Mayor of the city when disaster strikes again. Now imagine yourself in a battle for survival as you attempt to escape the hotel’s restaurant and the very city that is being destroyed by the bad weather patterns and faulty city engineering. Raw Danger for the PlayStation 2 is like playing a good natural disaster film complete with a flimsy story and plenty of action-packed moments that makes this such a unique game.
A sequel, of sorts, to Agetec’s other survival game called Disaster Report, Raw Danger puts you in the shoes of a young waiter named Joshua Harwell who happens to be working on the day a new natural disaster arrives during Christmas no less. To make matters worse, the Hudson River levee breaks and within mere minutes Del Ray City finds itself in the middle of a Katrina-styled catastrophe. Suddenly, the evening becomes a fight for survival as Joshua and his fellow co-worker Stephanie attempt to make it out of the hotel and reach a safe place out of the city while braving the elements and the crumbling city.
While you can jump straight to the game’s main story mode, I highly recommend you start the game with the Tutorial mode that not only serves as a good way to learn the game’s controls but you’ll also get a useful item to use during the main game if you perform the tasks well. While you start the game playing as Joshua, you’ll also be controlling up six other characters and not only viewing the disaster from a new set of eyes but also responding to situations that arise in different ways. You see, each character has his or her own different skills and thusly adds more variety to the gameplay. For example, Joshua’s talent allows him to warm up other characters by embracing them. While this doesn’t seem like much of a skill, you’ll quickly find out that in this game keeping your body’s core temperature in check means life or death.
You’ll also play an escape convict named Amber Brazil who manages to escape police custody when the levee breaks. Early in the game, Joshua and Stephanie cross paths with her and as a police officer is hot on her trail she tells you she’s innocent. Her portion of the game is actually requires stealth and the fact that she’s handcuffed. You then assume the role of a city cab driver, Isaac Schiller, in a portion of the game where you actually get to drive a taxicab. Isaac’s role in the game is actually a highlight of the game seeing as you come to the aid of a few other cast members. Play your cards right and you’ll even get to cross paths with one of the main protagonists of Disaster Report.
Aside from a great story are situations that do a great job of inserting you into the various survival scenarios. Each character responds to each situation differently but what one character does or says in the game affects what happens to the others when you get to control them. Joshua, for example, can store useful items in bins scattered throughout the series and other characters can pick up and use the items Joshua left behind much as you can do in the early Resident Evil games. You’ll also be given conversational choices that also change the events that occur later in the game. For example, as Joshua you can choose to tell the police officer where Amber is or you can keep quiet … the choice you make will change the outcome.
As a survival game, you’ll be tasked with a number of necessary yet arduous chores. While yes, it’s realistic to quickly dry off or change clothes after you were soaking in the cold water, you’ll have to be doing this often to the point that you’ll groan at the thought of trekking back to a bonfire, stove or saving point (which looks like a portable heater). If you don’t tend to your wet clothes quickly, your character will start to suffer and eventually just drop dead. There are also many fetch quests in the game that will have you backtracking for items. This becomes annoying since certain items take a lot of space. Yet with plenty of variety, it’s hard to really complain about the little things.
Then again, once you get a load of the game’s graphics you’ll be singing a different tune. The graphics in the game are just hideous and this is sad considering the fact that there are many jaw-dropping moments in the game where you’ll be taken by surprise by how the devastation is depicted in the game. There are moments where you’ll think about the movie The Day After Tomorrow. You’ll find some weak textures in the game and the character models look like they belong on the original PlayStation. Still, because of the various interesting moments in the game you’ll find yourself forgetting the awful graphics.
The game’s sound is also a major weak spot and disappointment for a game that does shows the effects of a natural disaster cinematically perfect. Unfortunately, the game’s music can hardly be heard during the cutscenes and the background noises aren’t as detailed as they should be during the most intense moments in the game. There is some decent voice acting in the game and while some characters sound fine, others sound downright cheesy.
In the end, Raw Danger is an emotional roller coaster of a game that places you in a disaster movie experience that’s very unforgettable despite its few flaws. You’ll find yourself deeply invested in the survival of the character you’ll get to control and the situations that arise because of a natural disaster and that are a good thing. While the graphics will remind you of the PSOne and some events will start feeling like work, the fight for survival couldn’t be any more interesting or enjoyable on the PS2. If you’re the type of gamer looking for something completely different, give this game a try.
Review Scoring Details for Raw Danger
From the opening hotel restaurant beginning to the journey through the major city areas, the game throws plenty of hairy situations throughout the experience. The different characters you’ll play add more variety to the gameplay, although no matter whom you play you’ll be asked to perform some rather daunting tasks along the way. Death by hypothermia is also a nice touch but also a real annoyance.
The game actually looks like a really graphically appealing PSOne game and for those who put graphics over gameplay will be seriously turned off by these awful visuals. Still, there are some pretty visual effects here and there and the city looks pretty good. The cutscenes work and so do the character models, though.
The barely-there soundtrack and the weak sound effects are very disappointing seeing as this game features various intense moments. The voice acting is decent but at times the rough translation makes certain characters sound cheesy.
Combating the elements while the environment crumbles all around you is, no doubt about it, the most challenging aspect of Raw Danger. There are a great number of challenging moments as Joshua and some difficult driving moments as the taxi driver.
Ok, the box cover art is sure to win the Most Crappiest Box Art Ever Award but it’s what’s inside that really counts. The natural disaster theme is handled beautifully in this game and the characters’ fight to stay alive will surely hook you. There’s also plenty of variety when you take control of the other characters in the game.
It’s hard to deny what a rich and deliciously unique experience Raw Danger is and, while the graphics are beyond hideous, the adventure the game introduces is a satisfying one. While some of the tasks feel outright chores, the game is able to produce a some seriously jaw-dropping disaster flick moments that are memorable and fun. Really, missing out on this one would be a real natural disaster.
In the end, Raw Danger is an emotional roller coaster of a game that places you in a disaster movie experience that’s very unforgettable despite its few flaws
Reviewer: Natalie Romano
Review Date: 07/02/2007