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Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You Have the Right to Longevity... Don't You?, 17 Nov. 2003
This review is from: True Crime: Streets of LA (Xbox) (Video Game)
Although True Crime is an exciting proposal from the outset, the ability to drive, fight, use stealth and shoot as the whim takes you in the game is not quite as seamless as the developers would have you to believe. Instead you are ushered into the different ‘modes’ as you enter different areas of the story line. There are beat ‘em up style bits which have a sort of Streets of Rage feel, driving bits which feel like what the Getaway was probably supposed to feel like had it not been so flawed and boring and fighting bits which feel a bit like Max Payne with targeting. Each one of these modes feels great, yet at no time do you feel that you are completely free to do whatever you like. I suppose freedom is not the be all and end all and wherever there is any type of narrative in a game it is unavoidable that you will have to be directed to objectives to some degree.
The branching story too isn’t quite as branching as it appears. There were times right from the outset when I blasted some perp right into the middle of next week, but yet in the following cut scene I was informed that he was down at the station ‘helping the police with their enquiries’… or something like that. Still alive anyway, which he wouldn’t be with half a hundredweight of lead in him.
Fighting, although the best so far for a trans-genre game like this and certainly much better than the GTA franchise still descends into random button bashing as singling out an opponent in a group accurately can often be a little hit and miss. The rotation of the camera too, often hinders precision tasks.
The game engine and physics while driving are commendable. Better than the Getaway but not as good as Vice City to be frank. For me it feels that while cornering feels slick and responsive, braking, skidding and performing aggressive driving moves leaves you feeling a little disconnected from the action. Lack of dramatic car damage and the ability to flip your vehicle don’t help matters either. You don’t really feel the tires melting onto the tarmac the way you do in Vice City.
As usual I seem to be mentioning a lot of negative things and haven’t yet said that True Crime is immediately gratifying and has a hell of a lot of good stuff going for it. For those of you who don’t already know you play Nick Kang, rent-a-maverick badass type who thankfully, the developers have not drawn in too serious a light. Yes, Nick is a man on a mission but that doesn’t stop him from quipping, kicking and basically jaunting his way through the game in rather a likeable fashion.
Woven into the free roaming segways of the game Nick has the opportunity to increase his abilities at various locations around time is a sort of RPGish fashion, learning additional fighting moves and enhanced weaponary abilities as the game progresses. This allows more depth and development to Nick’s character, all in all fleshing him out more as an individual and not to mention marking a welcome departure from rival titles in the genre. The cut scenes too are frankly fabulous with very realistic looking facial expressions and the kind of dialogue which you might expect from a cast punctuated by A list actors and actresses.
However it was while I was playing the game, enjoying the magnificently constructed cut-scenes that it suddenly and abruptly ended. One minute I was chasing Gary Oldman down a runway in his private plane and the next minute the main story of the game was over, giving me only some half hearted footnote that it was all North Korea’s fault. Sadly going back to the randomly generated street crimes after the high octane thrills and spills of the games main story didn’t quite cut it. So there you have it. All completed in one long weekend and no amount of gloss and high production values can make up for the fact that that isn’t very good value for money.
To conclude the game is technically flawed, but solid and great fun. Sadly there just isn’t enough of it to challenge experienced gamers for very long. I wanted more. A lot more.
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