True Crime: Streets of L.A. Review

Developer: Luxoflux Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 4, 2003 Also On: GCN, PC, PS2, and Xbox

Luxoflux brings us True Crime: Streets of LA. I like to start my reviews off with a question though, so is this a unique game or a rip off of several other games (i.e. GTA) with a few tweaks?

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Welcome to the streets of L.A., you are Nick Kang a detective who is offered a job in the EOD (Elite Operations Department). You are offered this job to help put a stop to Chinese triad operations; there is much more to the story than that of course. There is even a back-story dealing with his father’s disappearance, which ties into the current story. The plot is good and can travel three ways depending on how you play the game. The only way you could get the bad ending is pretty much by not completing the missions, since you can progress through the game even if you fail a mission. However, if you want to (at the expense of points) you can replay the mission.

True Crime often feels like a mix of other titles (e.g. GTA, Max Payne, Dead to Rights), but it has its own unique qualities that build upon those similarities. Pretty much while playing the game, you will run into three basic principals, driving, shooting, and hand-to-hand fighting. All of these three basic principals can be upgraded at 24/7 shops. Upgrades cost 100 points though, so you will not always be able to. Examples of upgrades include a nitro boost for any car you are driving, new grapples for hand to hand fighting, or different gun upgrades like laser sights.

The gunplay is a little sketchy and sometimes may make you frustrated. One instance of this would probably be when you are trying to unlock the scope upgrade for your gun. You have to use the bullet time/first person mode to shoot the targets in their head to get the points. That sounds easy enough, but since the targets can hide behind victim targets and move fast it is irritating, especially since you have to make sure you get head shots or it does not count. The auto-targeting system often is inaccurate and can throw off your shot. However, it is helpful when you just want to fill a car full of lead. The fact that the auto-targeting is bad makes it a good idea to spend points at the gun range to get the fast auto-targeting upgrade.

When you first start driving in this game it will seem that the driving controls are horrible. It takes time to get used to the driving controls, but when you do, it becomes a lot easier. One thing that you will notice is that the control of cars differs by their type; some cars will have very responsive control, while others will not. This is a good thing though, because it adds some needed diversity to the driving.

If you are a great button masher, you will be an expert at the fighting parts of this game. There is some thought required to beat the harder fighting battles, but not much. You have to see where they are blocking and either kick high, kick low, or punch. There are of course different fighting moves you can learn. They include grapples, combo moves, and techniques that help your general fighting. Really though it does not take much skill for the fighting parts of this game.

If you want to unlock the upgrades that I mentioned, then you need points. You are probably wondering where you get points, it is pretty simple, you can do the missions and get points, you can do the mini missions that pop up on your police radio, or you can randomly search the people who live in the city for drugs or illegal weapons. As funny as that might sound, most people in the city are carrying drugs. You can pretty much walk up to anyone and search them at anytime, and for the most part you will find something.

One thing that is extremely annoying is the fact that you can walk around and see about four or five of the same people or cars right next to each other. I can understand how this is, since it is similar to the problems that are found in GTA. When you have huge cities, it is hard to make a ton of diverse people to fill it with. It is especially difficult in True Crime, seeing how this city is much larger than any city in a GTA game.

The voice actors that the developers hired did a great job of bringing these characters to life. Though why they had so many cheesy lines for Nick is a question I don’t have an answer to. He had his cool lines of course, but for every one good line, there were two bad ones. The only other thing you probably might not like about the sound in True Crime is if you don’t like rap. Rap is pretty much the only music available in this game, though that is not a totally bad thing, since they mix some old school and new age rap to add pretty good music to the game. If you don’t like rap music though, you are at a loss.

True Crime is good for the most part and has a great concept. The drawbacks were that the game could get boring easily (and quickly) and glitches such as you being unable to catch a suspect because the game thinks that they are still in a car, even after they get out. There is some replay value in True Crime, other than unlocking the secret character, Snoop Dog and playing through to see the other endings. The mini missions that you can get on your police band radio also adds some interest to the game, seeing how they can often be pretty amusing.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.9
Written by Andrew Review Guide

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