Emergency Heroes is Ubisoft's attempt at an open-world game for young gamers. But with an incredibly sterile city, repetitive missions, and an inconsequential plot, the game manages to make playing as a police officer, a firefighter, and a medic no fun whatsoever. The single-player game is a five-hour slog through dull missions, and the introduction of friends in multiplayer does little to alleviate the boredom. In the end, it's a game that's so generic and devoid of fun that it actively sucks the life out of you as you play it.
Emergency Heroes offers up a shocking vision of the future, in which humankind makes cities entirely of highways. And tunnels.
You play as Zach Harper, an emergency hero in the city of San Alto. At the beginning of the game, Zach is recovering from being forced out of the city's combined services after a training accident killed one of his colleagues. Predictably, though, he's called back into action when a gang, led by a mysterious figure, starts terrorising the city. You can probably guess the twist from that description alone, but the story is so inconsequential that any spoilers are unlikely to impact your enjoyment. Emergency Heroes features some of the most cliched plotting, one-dimensional characterisation, and laughable dialogue ever to feature in a video game.
The gameplay itself is based entirely around driving, with no on-foot sections at all. You control vehicles either by holding the Wii Remote on its side or by using one of the many Wii Wheel-style peripherals, such as the one bundled with Mario Kart. The control method is functional, but the vehicles suffer from poor turning circles, and it's a shame that there's no option to use a Nunchuk. Even worse, all 12 vehicles handle the same, and even the smallest police car can smash a civilian truck right off of the road. There's also no punishment for crashing into an endless amount of innocent vehicles, which makes the game incredibly easy to play.
The story progresses through 40 preset missions, or "perils," as they're called in the game. However, there are only a few different mission types, such as putting out fires, saving civilians, or inflicting enough damage on an enemy car to knock it off of the road. This lack of variety quickly becomes tiresome, and the city itself doesn't present any of the opportunities usually associated with sandbox games. You might not earn a gold medal for every mission on your first try, but it's unlikely that you'll actually fail one.