Saturday, August 13, 2011

PS2 Review: The Getaway

As I've said, and as I do, I challenge myself to try out games that are in the ilk of GTA. I won't be calling The Getaway a GTA clone, I will simply refer to it as an open world game. The reviews for this game looked good, which I've found that generally good reviews mean the game is good and poor reviews are blown way out of proportion, but some games do genuinely suck. Here we have a game that doesn't live up to all the hype I was prepared for.

The Getaway is set in London, and since I've never seen the movie of the same name I can't tell whether the game is based on it or not, but my guess is probably so. The game is meant to play like a movie (complete with a ton of cut scenes you can not bypass!), so you have no maps, health bar, ammo count, nothing on screen other than the action, which can make playing through the game a headache at times. While playing the game, you'll notice the overall stripped down, simplistic feel to it, but it isn't a completely loss.

The game is split up into 2 sections of 12 missions, making the game 24 total missions, that intertwine with each other as the story progresses for both characters you'll be playing. The story seems pretty movie plotty and overplayed with that "seen it before, seen it done better before" feeling. The missions themselves are challenging, coupled with the drastically different gameplay aspect, sometimes the missions take more tries than are even necessary! The standard missions structures are used here; driving, stealth and run and gun. Although that seems to be the main structures for every open world game, much like the rest of those games the story seems to push them along and make them feel unique.

A large part of the game is driving, which is the main reason I wanted to try this game in the first place. The driving control layout leaves much to be desired in comparison to the GTA series, but there is a good selection of cars to drive and they are enjoyable. Without an in-game map, driving directions are handled via a turn signal system, when you need to turn left or right the corresponding turn signal will light up and remind you that you need to go that direction. My only gripe with the vehicles are that you blow the engines way too easily, forcing you to find another vehicle without being hit by traffic (which is an instant death).

The stealth missions are very straight forward as all you have to do is run around and hide behind things to avoid being detected by NPCs. However, when you need to shoot you'll notice there is a lock-on targeting system, but it gets a little confusing when you need to shoot foes that are closing in in a hurry while your character just flails about and you have no clue who you're aiming at without any target marker.

Health is another issue as the only way you can tell if you're about to die is the amount of blood on your clothes, as well as the way your character stumbles about. The only way you can regain health is to find a wall to prop yourself up against and rest, which becomes a serious issue when foes pop up from seemingly nowhere while you're regaining your precious health.

Even with the difficulty curve brought on by the game's simplicity and demand to be a controllable movie, this game didn't take long to beat all 24 missions. Then, and only then, will you unlock the free roaming mode (unless you use the cheat code). Remembering that there is no in-game map to guide you around the city, free roam isn't as fun as it could have been. There are a variety of hidden cars to be found, although there are no open doors like within the missions to explore, but there is the whole of London to explore.

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