• Publisher: Namco
  • Release Date: Sep 13, 2005

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 44
  2. Negative: 10 out of 44
  1. 66
    There's no doubt that with its flexible fighting engine and various game modes that it has a lot of 'weekend rental' potential for those willing to overlook its short missions and bad balancing, but it could have been so much more than that.
  2. Unfortunately the game grows stale rather quickly and is hampered by a ridiculous difficulty level and repetitive gameplay.
  3. Yet another game to add to the list of brawlers we will inevitably forget.
  4. The only thing Urban Reign will provide you with is a realistic foreshadowing of what would actually happen to you if you ever ran into a few angry dudes in a dark alley late one night. If that sounds like fun by all means go for it.
  5. The developers have come up with an admirable gameplay engine for this brawler, one that provides the fluidity of a fighter, but with a streamlined control scheme that allows rookies to get in and have some fun beating down chumps. [Oct 2005, p.134]
  6. 70
    Even the slightest mistake can lead to an instant beat down from a swarm of CPU-controlled gang members. The aggressive A.I. is relentless in its attacks and, especially later in the game, will easily frustrate even the most hardcore fighting fans.
  7. The inclusion of some unlockable Tekken characters and a slightly more balanced multiplayer mode might be enough to give you a fix if you do absolutely nothing else in life but play beat-'em-ups and you've actually run out, but otherwise there's no reason to take an interest.
  8. 60
    Rather than melding together the best aspects of the games which obviously influenced it, Urban Reign instead only manages a watered down stew of fighting elements that taste more like an appetizer than a main course.
  9. The barely tolerable story mode does little to cover up the fact that Urban Reign is little more than pummeling goons in the face for three hours, and then bam, you're done.
  10. To be honest, if you were not sold in the first few words, classic beat’em up, then there is nothing here that will appeal to you as a gamer.
  11. Had it been given a little more depth pretty much everywhere, this may have been a sleeper hit. Instead, it’s just a sleeper.
  12. 35
    With its slick visual polish and ample bone-crunching sound-effects, Urban Reign could have come out on tip. But thanks to an endless series of increasingly maddening and increasingly boring stages, you'll find yourself saying "No thanks," and turning off your PS2 and bringing this game back to the store. Xbox owners, be thankful you were spared this agony.
  13. This is simply an underground fighter that is more of a diversion and a guilty pleasure for those who like brutal street fighting with a bit of martial arts elegance.
  14. 40
    Forcing the player to endure 100 repetitive missions just to unlock the meat of the game is an insult, as is the imbalanced fighting engine.
  15. Aside from its superior presentation, about the only really good thing that can be said for Urban Reign is that it is not available to offend on more than one console. That’s right PS2 owners, you can be proud you took the bullet for all gamerdom.
  16. For all those who gun Reign down for toying with its own rules and essentially cheating on the player at times it feels are appropriate, there'll hopefully be as many who recognise that such times are appropriate and and that even the dirtiest of its tricks can be bested. [Dec 2005, p.104]
  17. Be it frustration at the difficulty level or just boredom at the lack of variety, your Urban Reign is pretty much guaranteed to be a short-lived one.
  18. Despite some attempts at variety, the missions grow repetitive quickly thanks to a limited move set. [Oct 2005, p.67]
  19. There's no sense of progression, only a sickening sense of tedium as you're dropped into the next box of a level and take on another too easy minion, too tough boss, and the too bewildering camera.
  20. A textbook case of a good idea gone horribly wrong.
  21. A competent group beat 'em-up. The fast and violent fighting system works nicely. Too bad the arenas are flat and quite dull. [Mar 2006]
  22. 55
    Full of wasted potential. A disappointing effort from a developer that knows better.
  23. Namco's brawler does thrill, but misses out on the crucial online play and a decent story.
  24. There isn't a plot to speak of, nor any gameplay elements beyond the fighting. But the fighting really is exceptionally fun for novices and experts, which makes this game extremely successful on its own terms.
  25. 60
    It does look great and arguably has a certain gritty charm, but is severely let down by a combat system that is, frankly, not good enough. [Apr 2006, p.106]
  26. Better than "Beat Down." [Oct 2005, p.107]
  27. Those looking for a no-nonsense beat-em-up could find some enjoyment with the fluid combat system and frantic nature of the game, however Urban Reign makes very little attempt to bring the genre back to life - everybody else should check out Rockstar Games superior adaptation of The Warriors.
  28. The best urban brawler sine "Def Jam." [Nov 2005, p.86]
  29. Urban Reign’s audio is purely average. You could play the entire game on mute and not miss a thing. The voice acting ranges from decent to poor, and the weak plot and script don’t help matters much.
  30. Urban Reign succeeds because it does what it set out to do: it is a fun, engaging brawler. The fighting system is deep and intriguing, the voice-acting is thankfully on-spot, and the game has a lot to offer, particularly for anyone looking for a quick, aggressive free-for-all.
  31. Namco has created a capable fighter and dressed it in some especially uninspiring clothes. To put it plainly, Urban Reign appears to exist purely because it can. Despite its skill, no forward steps are taken or advancements made in the genre.
  32. You have great graphics, huge move sets, lots of characters, lots of stages. But then it drops the ball on game difficulty, difficult controls, weak storyline, and no online game play.
  33. You may be a glutton for punishment, and for that you may have a need for a quick rental, but even with the Tekken characters as unlockables, this is not a fighter worthy of the Namco name.
  34. If you’re after something to play with your mates after the pub, or are looking for a short burst of knuckle-cracking violence, Urban Reign might be worth looking at if found going cheap.
  35. A solid beat-'em-up. It's unbalanced and frustrating at times but, when the combat is flowing freely, Urban Reign is hard to beat. [PSM2]
  36. It looks good, the combat is easy on the thumbs and if you're after some brainless combat or endless winner-stays-on retro fighting action, Urban Reign is a great choice. [PSW]
  37. 28
    One of the worst games you could buy this year. Imagine someone took the Mission Mode out of "Soul Calibur II," and sold it as a separate game for $50. That's Urban Reign.
  38. It wants to innovate so badly in its arena but it has a few shortcomings that stop it from parading like a champion.
  39. If multiplayer is your game and you’ve got a multi-tap, Urban Reign is a great game to consider picking up and one I’m positive you’ll squeeze plenty of entertainment value out of it.
  40. Ferocious opponents and brutal unblockable attacks ensure the challenge is punishingly difficult, but there is little reward for investing the necessary time to master the fighting system's nuances.
  41. Apparently, monks chant the same phrase hundreds of times to reach a meditative state. This is like that, but with puniching. [Feb 2006, p.102]
  42. 70
    There are some problems with the game, but a great combat system, great multiplayer and great presentation all make up enough for the game’s shortcomings.
  43. 65
    But battling groups of bad guys gets dangerously dull after an hour or two, especially when the game's unfair A.I., just like our booze-addled fathers, has a tendency to make you pay dearly for even the slightest gaff.
  44. Strangely addicting and fun for the first thirty minutes, that feeling soon wears off as the flaws in the gameplay slowly reveal themselves until you’re so frustrated that you will probably not be in the best frame of mind to complete game or play it for any length of time again.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Apr 17, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The difficulty is ever increasing. THe game takes place in the same world as Tekken and makes several subtle and not-so-subtle references. The team-up system is good and the weapon system is easily balanced. (1 gun and it's a pistol, it does massive damage but it's easy to avoid simply by rolling) The story doesn't offer much but it set the foundation for a sequel that won't ever come. The ending was anticlimactic and you spend the last part of the game just running around the city doing random things. Then, all of a sudden, the Mayor's been organizing the riots! It has a vast multitude of characters, all with their own abilities and stats. This was the thinking man's beat 'em-up. Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2010
    A hardcore, no-holds barred, adrenaline pumping beat-em-up that combines the arcade action of games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage withA hardcore, no-holds barred, adrenaline pumping beat-em-up that combines the arcade action of games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage with the finesse of a modern day fighting game. Using a glut of animations taken straight from Tekken 5, Urban Reign's developers have created a very playable homage to action movies like District B13.

    While at times frustrating, Urban Reign never becomes aggravating, and the seasoned gamer will be able to brutalize enemies over 100 stages, and surely come back to replay their favorite levels. This addictive action game is only marred by its lack of 2-player cooperative play, but players can still go head to head with the game's large and unique roster.
    Full Review »
  3. ReyA
    Jul 30, 2009
    I don't understand why the critics complained about this one. The gameplay mechanics were fun and the characters were cool looking I don't understand why the critics complained about this one. The gameplay mechanics were fun and the characters were cool looking people. Even the voiceovers for the characters were good. Ok, so there's not much of a story for single player mode, but most people buy these types of games for the multiplayer mode anyway. The best part is, you can use a multitap and play 1-4 players. Anyway, this one belongs on my shelf right next to Soul Calibur 3 and IV. Enough said. Full Review »