So far, the PS2 has given us remarkable first party games, however none, were more anticipated then The Getaway.
The Getaway has been in development for over three years and right from the get-go, screenshots have proven that this game will set the standards for what the PS2 could actually handle. So how did Team Soho’s three year revolutionary game turn out? Let me break it down like this.
Graphically, I was impressed, however left wanting more. Although it was comparable to the early screenshots released of the game, it was easy to see that the game was toned down quite a bit. The game suffers quite a deal from anti-aliasing issues and during those fast paced chases down the ?real’ streets of London, you will notice that the game bogs down a bit. Character models on the other hand are fantastic, animation is dead on and facial expressions and lip movement set the standards for games of today. However, all this is placed on backgrounds that are made up of very bland textures, and it kind of throws things off.
Earlier I stated ?fast paced chases down the ?real’ streets of London’, and when I say real, I mean real! 40 sq. km of London have been remade down to a tee for this game. From side streets, to landmarks they’re all available or your viewing pleasure, and when compared to actual photos from the real thing, its identical. Not only has Team Soho remade the streets of London phenomenally, in some cases, you will notice as you go into a building that the buildings interior is also identical to its real life counterpart.
The game is broken up into 2 parts; driving and walking, or running with a gun, and killing people. The story line is also broken up into two parts, at the beginning you play as Marc Hammond; an ex-gangster gone good, until his wife gets murdered and son is kidnapped? it all changes, doesn’t it? Revenge is in his blood. The second character you play is a crooked cop named Frank Carter who is looking for the same revenge as Marc.
Now, the driving aspect of this game, I must admit caught me by surprise. Although, yes, there is a bit of slow down, you really don’t notice it too much, because driving in this game is so damn real, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The car models for one are great, the cars are all licensed and you can do tons of realistic damage to them. Each car has its own strengths and weaknesses, and wow, do you feel the difference. The sense of speed racing down the street is awesome, cutting corners, swerving left and right between traffic; it’s all too real to be in a game. It all does come to an end though, oh yes, when you get into an accident that is.
Cars also take realistic damage. You get your tire shot out, depending on which tire it was, your car will pull in that direction, making it a lot more difficult to control. If you unexpectedly smack into a car head on, the smoke will start of grey, and the more you push the car to its limit, the darker the smoke will get, the slower your car will be, until bam! It’s on fire, “Get out, get out!” What happens if you don’t get out in time you ask? Well, you too like the car, will be burnt to ashes, restarting your mission.
The other part of the game is when Marc Hammond/Frank Carter is on foot. Team Soho was going for a realistic feel to this game, that’s why no HUD is present. Meaning, there are no health bars telling you your life status, or ammunition bars to tell you how many shots you have left in your gun. All you have is yourself, and that’s it. You see, although this is very unique in a game, there are good things and bad things about it.
The good thing is that yes, it does steer your thoughts away from the fact that you are playing a video game, and it brings you into the game more, and it almost gets personal. The bad thing is ? “How many more shots ?till I die?” ? “How many more bullets do I have?” These questions constantly go through you mind as you play The Getaway, because they are all unanswered. The truth is, you never know! As you progress through the game, and get shot at constantly, your suit will accumulate blood stains. The more blood on your suit, the more damage you have, its simple. Another way of telling that your life is about to expire is in the walk. Your character will walk as if he just drank 45 gallons of beer, hunched over, no balance, looking like he’s ready to fall over. The game also suffers from a lack of health packs, well, I shouldn’t really say lack, because there’s none, whatsoever. You regain health, by standing next to a wall. Your character will lean over and you will slowly see the blood stains disappear. Now, this really sucks because during those intense gun battles and let me stress the word intense, you slow things down to a bore by leaning up against a wall to regain health every 5 seconds. So a fierce gun battle that is supposed to last 1 minute, will last 5 and it really kills the feel. Another aspect of this game that could have used a little tweaking was the camera system. Now, let me tell you, this camera wigs out once in a while, especially when looking around corners or manually aiming your gun, sometimes to a point that I had to put a vomit bucket near my chair. However, these camera issues are too few and far between to really make it a big deal, its just and annoyance.
Going back to the gun battles, aside from the leaning up against the wall to regain health, man I haven’t had so much fun blasting away ?the bad guys’ in a long time. Pressing the fire button really feels like your blasting gun powder with your controller, and the diving and the backing up against walls, all come together so well that I felt I was really in the game. I was scared to run around the corner, scared to see what was lurking up the stairs. It just all comes together so well, it’s scary.
The sound in the game also has its ups and downs. The voice acting for one is phenomenal, however sometimes; it does get drowned out by the music. The game gets a mature rating for a reason too you know, there is more swearing in this game then a night of with a gang of thugs. Driving down the street on the wrong side of the road are you? Well, someone will defiantly tell you where to go.
We come to an end here, and what have come to understand. The understanding is this. The Getaway is a great game with a few annoyances. Personally, I feel the excellence of this game overtakes the abysmal areas and that everyone should give it a shot. Only if you’re over the age of 19 that is.