As bad as the story is, it's told even worse. The grainy, compressed, and flat out ugly video cinematics use the in-game graphics engine to progress. If you thought the game looked bad from a distance, wait until it zooms in on the character models. The audio also fluctuates, meaning you'll need to crank the volume well past your usual level to hear the cinematics, and then back to normal once the "action" begins.
25 to Life isn't excused because it's based on video game logic. It fails because it has no logic at all. The hard-edged attempt to be serious only makes things stick out more. If the scoring system used on this site allowed a nicely rounded 0, that's what it would get. As for the controversy, if we have people in this country who would actually take this seriously, that's the fault of our education system failing to teach kids at a young age that floating, spinning first aid kits will not refill their health meters in the midst of a gang war.
25 to Life is a rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language (which pretty much covers everything). This game can sadly also be found on: PC, PS2.