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#88570 - 05/07/05 05:51 PM The Getaway review.
Jarrodj Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 40
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hello. I don't know what your rules are on writing reviews for non adventure games, so if this is agianst the rules, I'm sorry. If not...

”You're not in ******* Hollywood!!! This isn't a game, son!”
If you hadn't noticed, the Grand Theft Auto games have basically reshaped the gaming universe (for better or for worse has been greatly been discussed). The kind of open, do whatever you wanted type world that GTA III had really made you feel like you were in your own little world. Plus you could kill and destroy anything you wanted, which is always fun. The game companies haven't grasped this idea very well. The reason they think these games have sold well is because they involve driving a car and shooting guns. Once again, this is fun, and an important part of what makes the GTA games great, but it's the freedom that makes GTA really stand out. So in the case of all the "GTA clones" that have been made over the last 3 years, the justification of calling them clones is really just superficial. Games have been letting you drive and shoot for years. Anyways, these games have ranged from fantastic (Mafia) to alright (True Crime: Streets Of L.A) to downright horrible (Driv3r).

Games have tried to be movies for years also. I'm sure you all remember those awful interactive movies from the early and mid 90's. Other then the Tex Murphy games (Under A Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive), those games were always short, with bad acting, bad scripts, bad gameplay, and all around bad everything. Movie games always just felt like bad cash in's with forced story segments. With this generation, it seemed like the dream of cinematic gaming could finally come full swing. Nothing much changed. For every Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, there was 5 games like Enter the Matrix. Well, today I’m taking a look at not just a cinematic game that, for the most part, got it right, but also a GTA clone that, for the most part, got it right: The Getaway.

Welcome to London's underworld
Mark Hammond is a former bank robber for a London gang in Soho. He was in jail for 5 years, and left a girl pregnant before he went to the clink. He got out 6 months ago, and spent the money he had stashed to fund a nightclub. Everything is going great, but Markie boy is about to have one of those days. Why? Well his wife has been murdered, and his son Alex is being held hostage by Charlie Jolson: One of the biggest gangsters in London. What's worse? The coppers think Mark did it, and every member of Scotland Yard is after you. Time to hide out for a while right? Nope, you can't because that SOB Jolson is making you go on suicide missions for him or else he's gonna kill your son. Yeah, that tops just about every bad day at the office you've ever had. Half way through the game, the story switches to DC Frank Carter: A tough as nails cop. During his campaign, you play throughout the events of what Hammond did from the other side of the law.

The Getaway is one of the few all out action games you'll ever play that puts story before everything else. It's billed as a "Movie go-er's" script, and tries to emulate the feel of a British gangster movie. Thankfully, it nails it for the most part. The story is very well done with plenty of twists & turns, likable characters, great dialogue, and a truly gritty world. It seems that whenever a game tries to be gritty or edgy, it always comes off as kind of forced, but The Getaway just feels natural. Unfortunately, the game kinda drags its feet during the second half since Carter is nowhere near as interesting a character as Hammond. Also, the game doesn’t have the humor or the sly wit that the most popular London crime movies have, but overall the story is a real class act, and it really does feel more like something you'd see in a movie before a video game.
9 Out Of 10

“Well aren't you a ******* sight for sore eyes”
To make a game more like a cockney movie, it needs to look like a cockney movie. This isn't made by having gorgeous summon spells and fur shading. It needs to be realistic with lots of grey so it looks like London. Here, The Getaway passes with flying colors. This is easily one of the best looking PS2 games out there. The PS2 is not knows for it's texture work. It always has muddy, washed out textures. The Getaway actually mapped London streets (Over 40 kilometers worth), and turned them into textures. The end result is incredible. It actually looks real.

The character models are just as impressive. They move lifelike, are very detailed, and are free of PS2 famous "Jaggies". But the best part of the graphics in this game is the incredible facial animations. Basically the actors they hired to do voice work actually had their faces scanned while they were doing the voices. This was planted onto the game characters, and the results are shocking. The faces move like real peoples faces would. They're very expressive, show emotions real well, and the eyeballs move especially lifelike.

Also the cars also look fantastic. They're all real cars made by companies like Honda and Lexus, and the cars are all very well detailed and show damage (Which is rare when the cars are real). I especially like that everything reflects off the car when you’re whizzing by ad 100 MPH (Or around 220 KPH for you real cockney). My only real beef is that everything is 40 shades of grey, but I hear that that’s what London looks like. Overall this game pushes the PS2 to the limit, and looks fantastic.
10 Out Of 10

“I ******* swear Jolson I’m gonna ******* kill your ******* ***!”

You ask any fan of British mob movies, and they’ll tell you that it’s the dialogue that makes those movies special. The aforementioned dialogue usually involves a whole lot of 4 letter words. This game, shockingly, is no exception. When you load this game up, you will not believe what your hearing: A whole lot of cussing. Even two years since this game was released, its language is still in a league of it’s own in the gaming world. You don’t believe me? Play five minutes of this game. Needless to say this game isn’t for kiddies.

With all that “realistic” dialogue in the game, it’s a very good thing that the voice acting really is fantastic. Team Soho went out and hired real actors like Don Kembry and Ricky Hards (I don’t know how famous those guys are in Britain because, here in the states, I’ve never heard of them) to do the voice work. They come off as emotional, fierce, and very natural. This game has some of the best voice work you’ll ever hear in a video game.

Other then that, the music and sound effects are all fantastic. The music pulls off the cockney feel of the game perfectly, and could go well as a movie soundtrack. For the most part the music is really moody, and when it needs to be perky, it is. It never feels out of place, and never gets in the way. The sound design really also stands out. Everything from the different engine sounds for every car to the great explosions is big, loud, and in your face. The gun sound effects are also great, but it seems like the sound of your normal pistol is a little weak. Other then that minor complaint, this game sounds incredible.
9.5 Out Of 10

“Oy! What the **** do you think you’re doing!?!?”

Alright, here’s where things kinda go sour. Like I said earlier, this was one of the first “GTA clones” on the market, but it doesn’t let you just go nuts on the town. It’s a linear game with things you need to do immediately. The only real thing it has in common with GTA is that you shoot guns and drive cars. And so, I’ll split this into two parts.

****! I need a motor.
One of the most impressive things about this game is that it basically recreates 40 square kilometers of actual London streets…Kinda. The entire game is flat. No ramps, bumps parking lots, or anything like that. You can only go into a handful of the buildings. It looks like London, but it really isn’t. If you’ve ever been on a real movie set, that’s what it feels like. Alas, it still makes you feel like you’re driving around in London (and, yes, you do drive on the wrong side of the road).

So, when you’re in the cars, they all handle with a movie like exaggeration. You turn, you peel out, and it’s fun. Unfortunately, your car can only take a few hits before it breaks down, so you’re constantly changing cars. Basically every car section works like this:
A: Get in car and drive as close as you can to your destination.
B: When it breaks down, get out and shoot the cops tailing you, then steal a new car.
C: Wash, rinse, repeat until you get to where you need to go.
While you’re driving, the cops will be tailing you constantly. They’re very aggressive, and they’ll even set up road blocks to get you. Sometimes these section can be about as hard as it would be in real life, but your having fun while doing it, so it’s O.K.

The big thing about The Getaway is that there are no icons whatsoever. No health bars, ammo counters, and no on screen maps when you’re driving. So how do you know where to go? Well, when you’re driving, your car will turn on its blinkers to tell you if you should turn more to the left or the right. This is a cool and ingenious way to show where you need to go, and keeps the movie feel that the game is gunning for. Granted, it’s a little weird that you’re signaling to the cops where your going, but what are you gonna do?
Driving: 8 Out Of 10

“Torch the place! I wanna see that towering ******* inferno on the evening news!”

Now when you get out of your car is when the annoyance starts. The Getaway’s gun segments are 3rd person with an auto aim feature. As mentioned earlier, there’s no health bars, etc, etc, but the game has answers to all of this. First off, your controller will rumble when you’re almost out of ammo on your clip to warn you that you’re gonna be a sitting duck in a few seconds. But the most awkward change to the formula is your health system. There’s no health bar, so the way you see if you’re taking too much damage is that Mark or Carter will get bloodstains all over themselves, start to limp, and eventually you’re almost crawling through the level. There’s no health pack’s, so the way that you regain your health is that you find a quiet spot, and rest against the wall for a few seconds until your bloodstains disappear, and you’re ready for round 2. This isn’t really more realistic than, say grabbing a health pack, but it’s different, and it gets points for originality. If they wanted something a little more real, they should of done what Mafia did: Go to a health pack, and have to stand there for a few seconds while your character heals himself.

Now onto the bad: The controls are awful. Basically you use the R2 button to aim, and the square button to shoot. You can roll, duck, hide behind stuff, and all that good stuff. The button layout is fine, but the way you move is just painful. If you’ve ever played the last 3 Silent Hill games, you know what I’m talking about. You can move around in all different directions, but there seems to be a slight pause for your movements. For a survival horror game this is Ok, but when making an all out action game with enemies all around you, this can make things incredibly frustrating. You’ll have trouble getting through doors and small hallways without bumping into things, and overall you just wish that it controlled better so its true potential could really be realized.

To make matters worse, the camera, while in closed areas, can make matters much worse. Basically the camera is glued to your characters back, while outside and in big area’s, this works fine, but when you’re moving around indoors, the camera will get stuck on walls, won’t position itself correctly, and overall will do everything it can to screw you up. But even with all this, it should be pointed out that when the games work, and you’re ripping through guys, the shooting segments can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, you have to deal with a lot of [blip] to get through it.
Shooting: 6 Out Of 10
Overall game play: 7 Out Of 10

How long are you gonna make me keep doing this **** Jolson?

First off, it should be noted that this game isn’t easy. There’s gonna be moments where you are gonna get angry because there’s always that one guy that keeps catching you off guard, but when you find him, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. With 24 long missions, this game will last you a good 15 hours. After that, there’s a free ride mode that’s boring, but there isn’t any real reason to go through the story mode again unless you really love the story. So, it’s pretty long for a game of it’s type, but there’ should have been some more extras. Overall I give the longevity of this game a:
7 Out Of 10

You get outta this town, and you get the **** out tonight!
Overall, this game succeeds in what it wants to do: Be more like a movie then a game. The story is great, the acting is superb, it sounds fantastic, and it looks amazing. The game play needed more polish. It seems while making this game, they forgot that they were making a game. The game is fun, but it’s not as good as the sum of its parts. Also, I think that this game works as a great example that game play isn’t everything these days. Even though the game play has a few blips, you’ll just be amazed by everything else this game has to offer. But, to be considered a classic, it has to have truly great game play, and this game just doesn’t have it. And so, it stays a very good game, but not truly great.
Overall: 8 Out Of 10

Pros

+Amazing story
+Incredible graphics and sound
+Fantastic voice work
+It feels like a movie

cons
-The driving can be frustrating
-The on foot controls are bad
-The camera isn’t great
-Not much to do after you’ve beaten it

Bottom Line: Buy it.
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#88571 - 05/09/05 08:40 AM Re: The Getaway review.
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26916
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Jarrodj -- GameBoomers welcomes member reviews of action games -- reviews of all genres are appreciated.

I enjoyed your review of a game that is quite different from what I usually play! This one is an eye-opener (for me anyway).

Just curious -- what exactly is a cockney movie?

I was also curious about this:

Quote:
Also the cars also look fantastic. They're all real cars made by companies like Honda and Lexus, and the cars are all very well detailed and show damage (Which is rare when the cars are real).
Are you saying that when other games uses real Hondas (for example) that the Hondas never show damage throughout the game, no matter how much they are shot at? The implication being that the gamemakers had to agree that -- in order to use Honda in their game -- they had to agree to keep the Hondas looking new and spiffy?

Just one last question -- it seems that the game becomes rather repetitive. If that is so, what keeps the fun level so high in it?

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#88572 - 05/09/05 09:22 PM Re: The Getaway review.
Jarrodj Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 40
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Becky: You should try and play all kinds of games. This one is a good place to start because I bet you can get it for $10.00.

A Cockney movie is a british mobster movie in the vain of Guy Ritchie movies like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barells.

Yes. In almost all games that have liscened cars in them may have spectacular crashes, but those cars will look brand new and still drive right. It's really stupid. Even the most realistic games like Gran Turismo 4 have all these real cars, but they don't show a bit of damage. Forza Motorsport, A new simulator made by Microsoft, has real cars and they can break. It looks fantastic.

It might be doing the same things, but I dunno if it's the incredible story and presentation, the fact that it's really, really pretty, or the fact that whizzing down london at 100 MPH is really fun, but the game just never gets old. It's a really great game, but I warn you, if you are easialy offended by cursing, or violence, DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, play this game. If you've seen any of the earlier mentioned movies, you know what I mean.
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#88573 - 05/15/05 10:20 PM Re: The Getaway review.
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Great review, JarrodJ!

I can't handle the action games, just hurt too much after all that quick movement, but if that were not a problem for me I'd get this game. smile

Melanie
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