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Review of The Getaway
The Getaway takes you into the underbelly of modern day London, a world filled with lowlifes, gangsters and scum. Mark Hammond, an ex-con, is drawn back into the criminal underworld after feared gang boss Charlie Jolson kidnaps his son. With his boys life on the line, Hammond is forced to revert back to his old ways, doing Jolsons dirty work and all the while ducking and diving to avoid the clutches of the law. Playing both as Hammond and as Frank Carter, a vigilante cop from the Flying Squad, your job is to rescue Hammonds son and take down Jolson.
This must be one of the most eagerly awaited PS2 titles since news broke of its massive budget and the release of those ultra-realistic screenshots several years ago at the L.A. E3. But were they taken from in-game footage, computer generated, or actual photographs taken on the streets of London? Time to find out.
The Getaway is basically two game styles in one… twice over. I’ll explain. Some levels are similar to your average third person shooter; shoot everything that moves and reach the end point or use stealth to avoid being spotted (think MGS, Syphon Filter etc.). Other levels are made up of regular driving tasks; race to a given point in an allowed time, smash a target vehicle off the road etc. (similar to the Driver games). The player initially takes control of villain Hammond, but once all 12 missions are complete you will then replay the same scenarios all over again from the perspective of vigilante cop, Carter. Complete all 24 missions and a free-roaming mode will be unlocked allowing the player to drive the streets of London looking for hidden high-powered vehicles.
The relationship between video games and the movies draws ever closer as the opening cinematic title screen rolls into a gripping CG intro that not only sets the scene superbly, but also provides an insight into the content we are about to endure.
Violence, kidnapping, murder, torture and the sort of adult material usually only experienced long after the kids have been tucked off to bed is immediately evident. Bad language comes top of that list with “f***ing this” and “f***ing that” making more re-appearances than Elvis has since his ‘original’ death. Furthermore, the B-word, the C-word, the W-word, the S-word, and many other terms of cussing appear regularly throughout. I mention this only because after a few hours it may not seem so obvious to the player as it would be to… say your granny wandering into the room after church… so be warned. For these reasons The Getaway has been restricted to an 18, or M rating, as it may offend some gamers.
Scattered amongst the hard language is some pretty convincing tough-guy dialogue. Thankfully it’s acted in a believable way allowing the player to quickly become totally embroiled in the action that is thrown up at an amazing pace from titles to credits. The musical score may not be as impressive as the GTA series, but it does try to match the on-screen conflict. Gun noises also seem a little meek, although this is compensated by the brilliant driving sound effects.
Visually this game looks mighty impressive, especially the driving sequences across the busy streets London. The Getaway features over 60 authentic looking vehicles from several top car manufactures. Meanwhile delivery vans, London cabs and large red Double Decker buses have been crammed into every spare inch of road space to complete the convincing effect of traffic congestion.
The developers have obviously gone for ‘a total movie look’ by deliberately removing all on-screen icons which usually help the player to predict current state of health and stock of ammo. Strangely enough I found those customary HUD counters were rarely missed as your character throws a weapon away when empty and staggers badly when critically injured. I certainly found this system to be more realistic and generally add to the whole movie ambience (would you really have time to count bullets and look for red cross parcels during a heated gunfight?). Neither do you find unrealistic ammo boxes and floating combat jackets lying around the streets of London. Instead half-loaded weapons are picked up from dead enemies, while finding a quiet spot and applying pressure to the wound will gradually recharge full health. Fair enough!
The overall appearance of The Getaway is fine however there are a couple of graphical problems that occasionally spoil the gameplay. First is the sluggish camera work. Viewed from the third person perspective you will often find yourself being blindly ambushed simply because the positioning of the camera rarely offers the ideal view. As a slight compensation for this an auto-target system has been used to lock onto any enemies within range. This still leads to many unnecessary deaths, or hasty retreats to heal, and eventually becomes extremely frustrating, especially when the difficulty factor is jacked up to a higher notch later in the game.
On the driving side of things there is no rear view mirror. This removes a huge chunk of the enjoyment from creating wanton destruction on the roads (you often hear the crash, but cannot look back at the mayhem created). This missing viewing option also makes shaking off the cops so much harder and removes part of the satisfaction when finally doing so. The lack of a side view even makes pulling out of a road junction a game of Russian roulette. Apparently this was done intentionally to allow areas passed to be dropped from memory and concentrate more on upcoming locations.
Controlling the character from the third person perspective takes us back to the days of Die Hard Trilogy as the stubborn camera angles and jumpy movements will have you running around in circles. Thankfully a lot of the action takes place inside a vehicle where control is satisfactory. Even with these shortcomings there should be enough excitement in the storyline to see you through each level and want to contribute to the next.
In summary; a worthy attempt at making an adult product that should hold your attention from start to finish, but poor control and awful camera angles often spoil an otherwise excellent game. Shame.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'The Getaway' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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