|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: United Front Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Fall 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
March 15, 2010 - Does anyone really still have any super-fond memories of either True Crime: Streets of LA or True Crime: Streets of New York? Probably not, given that these two titles were open-world action games similar to the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series but largely failed to live up to any of the comparisons that were inevitably drawn between the two franchises. But, since the True Crime series wasn't a complete commercial failure, managing to sell quite a few copies of each game, Activision decided that perhaps it would be best to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. So rather than scrapping the series as a whole, it will instead be getting the reboot treatment with a title simply named True Crime.
While the previous True Crime games did very little to differentiate themselves from the GTA series other than starting players on the right side of the law, True Crime looks as though it will be doing quite a bit to set itself apart. First off, the game will be taking place outside of the U.S., giving it a unique looking backdrop. True Crime will place players in Hong Kong, its rain-slick streets full of both modern neon signs and paper lanterns. Luckily, while the setting should certainly still feel very authentic, the layout of the city will not just be a completely accurate digital recreation of Hong Kong. Instead of being at the mercy of an actual map, the developers have decided to keep the basic shape and feel of Hong Kong but to adjust the layout of streets and buildings in order to make the city much friendlier for a gaming experience.
Players will also, once again, be placed in control of a character who is working for law enforcement. However, this time around you'll be filling the shoes of Wei Shen; a man who must balance his duties and personal beliefs with what he has to do to get the job done. This is because Shen is going undercover within a Triad organization in order to attempt to take them down from the inside. The story, as with the rest of this title, is said to be taking quite a bit of inspiration from Hong Kong cinema. A specific film mentioned as a muse was Infernal Affairs, or as we in the states know it from its remake, The Departed.
As anyone who has played a GTA title before can attest to, the melee combat is always a glaring shortcoming in the series. This is another place where True Crime looks to set itself apart from GTA comparisons, focusing heavily on fast and fluid combat with or without a firearm. Hand to hand combat looks to be rather exciting, combining flurries of punches, kicks, grabs, throws, disarming moves, and counters into its confrontations. From the fights that were shown it looks as though Shen moves through combat very smoothly, transitioning from breaking one man's arm to taking a knife out of another's hand and then stabbing it back into his chest. The ability to fight groups of enemies fluidly in True Crime looks similar to the combat featured in Batman: Arkham Asylum, although it seems much more brutal here and has a few surprises in store as well.
Most notably, the environment can play a large role in taking out foes. Some of the examples that were shown were tossing enemies into dumpsters, repeatedly slamming their heads in freezer doors, and launching them into some sort of electrical box. As you can imagine, some of these will be more gruesome than others, such as the crispy electrical box death, but all can help to take out the opposition more quickly and efficiently.
Of course, no matter how much fun it is tussling with thugs up close and personal, gunplay is usually a factor in open-world action games as well. Not much has been shown as far as shooting is concerned, although you will at least have the ability to fire from the backs of motorcycles and while free running as well. Free running involves holding down a button and then running towards highlighted objects in order to successfully navigate them. An example is running towards a table, which then allows you to slide across it, Stranglehold-style.
Open-world games also always place a large emphasis on driving, and in this regard True Crime seemingly won't be any different. So far we've seen Shen driving a few vehicles from SUVs to motorcycles, although we assume there will be a plethora of different options for getting around Hong Kong by the time the game is released. Unlike GTA 4's driving, however, which was fairly sluggish and some would say unwieldy, True Crime is said to be going for a much more arcade-like feel with its driving. With some members on the development team who worked on previous Need for Speed titles, it should come as no shock that the driving mechanics are being more so compared to the likes of Burnout than Gran Turismo.
It also appears as though Shen won't just be resigned to only driving and shooting while in vehicles. In one scene that was being shown, Shen stood up on the back of a motorcycle and leapt for another vehicle. Successfully landing, he then was able to commandeer the car and drive off without a hitch. While this does seem like a bit of a departure from the rest of this otherwise mostly serious title, admittedly, it looked quite fun and will likely be a rather useful ability to have at your disposal.
The last bit of information we were able to obtain about this game that is still quite early in development was about its face system. This system consists of a meter that will either fill or deplete depending on how well you handle yourself in combat, while free running, and what kind of clothes you wear and vehicles you drive. If you mess up during fights, stumble through free runs, dress like a slob, and drive clunkers, your face meter will remain very low. Conversely, doing the opposites of these will help it to fill, thereby opening up more parts of the game to be experienced. Some locations and side quests will only be accessible if you've got a high enough face rating, although it is said that this system can also be ignored entirely if you wish to simply just play through the title. Either way, between the great looking combat, interesting sounding story, infrequently used backdrop, and supposed Burnout-style driving, True Crime definitely has me more excited for its release than either of the previous entries in the series. Be sure to check back as more information becomes available closer to this game's fall 2010 release.
CCC Staff Contributor