Much of the controversy surrounding the game focused on the rather unpleasant idea of seeing children fighting one another. There is
a lot of fighting in the game but none that makes the game stand out when compared to other video games. There is absolutely no blood, which is probably why the game only got a 15 rating.
One thing that did annoy/disturb me was my ability to hit a downed student with a baseball bat until it shattered. I didn't so much dislike the violence but I wasn't particularly pleased with the emphasis the game places on battering your opponents when they're down. Call me old-school but when your opponent is on the ground you shouldn't really kick his teeth into his throat.
The fight system is well made and works in a similar fashion to another Rockstar game called 'The Warriors'. As you progress through the game there will be opportunities to learn new moves but it essentially is a case of holding down the L1 button and then tapping combinations in to punch, kick or grapple with the opponent. There are also a few weapons to get your hands on, things like fire-crackers or catapults.
These operate in a similar way to grenades or sniper-rifle from previous games, obviously without the fatal consequences. My favourite part of the fight system is the humiliation moves you can perform when your opponent is sufficiently weak, these include the traditional; "stop hitting yourself" routine where you make the other kid punch himself as well as the not-so-traditional: "spitting in your hand and rubbing it in the other kids face" tactic.
All in all though the violence in Canis Canem Edit is no worse than in an episode of Tom & Jerry and is certainly far removed from some of the more grotesque FPS games. The violence is also undermined by the graphical inferiority of the game when compared with some next-gen titles that look close to photo-realistic. Don't get me wrong Rockstar has done a good job getting the last few morsels of power out of the PlayStation 2 but it's certainly not pleasing on the eye.
That leads me on nicely to the only criticism I really have about the game. The loading times drove me absolutely nuts. Just like GTA, every time you start the game you end up sitting staring at cartoon renditions of the in-game characters for an absolute age, waiting for the loading bar to fill up. Once you've broken through this load barrier you'd be excused for thinking that was it, no more loading? You'd be wrong. More loading time as you move from scene to scene that adds up time that you spend twiddling your fingers.
Despite these small niggles, the game is an absolute blast to play. I enjoy the fact that is Canis Canem is fairly simple and not to difficult, Canis Canem Edit provided and 'easy-gaming' experience, that wasn't ever really too difficult to make me frustrated. The game flows well in terms of storyline with a plot that is simplistic but well made. Canis Canem Edit also has a great sound track. Rockstar has done an even better job in this game than in previous GTA outings and the comedy, although painfully simple and childish, will bring a smile to everyone's face.
For some, I imagine this will be the last game they buy for the ageing platform, and it's a pretty decent swansong for the PlayStation 2. It's nowhere near as controversial as it was hyped to be and will instead provide the gamer with an interesting story that is both funny and engaging. I imagine that, should this series be a commercial success, we'll be seeing more of the Canis Canem Edit franchise over the next few years. You can pick Canis Canem Edit up from Play