True Crime: New York City (Gamecube) Review
I was a fan of True Crime: LA, sure it had it bugs and it wasnt as polished as some other games out at the time but it had potential and when I heard it was getting a sequel I was delighted.. So its is a new True Crime game and with an extra 2 years of experience under there belt how does Luxofluxs latest game in the series work out? Im displeased to tell you not very well. This time around you play as Marcus Reed, a young gangster who has just turned sides and become a cop, fresh off the street and out of training; Reed is the newest member of the Organized Crime Division in the New York Police Department, the story follows him trying to break down the 4 biggest crime syndicates in NYC.
Lets start of with Presentation while the game does feature 60 Hz and Widescreen which is excellent not much can be said about the menus. Whats wrong with them I hear you calling? Well for one the title screen is a black screen with the logo and three options on the left which is very plain, unfortunately it doesnt get any better then that for the rest of them, at least Streets of LA had something moving in the back ground for NYC its nothing! These menus dont set things off to a good start, however what has been improved from the first game is the loading screen at least you dont see it every time something happens. With the first game the loading screen was a real dampener of the atmosphere of the game and really broke up the game between the cut scenes and the gameplay, thankfully this effect has been lessened in the second game although its not perfect it is much better then before.
However that being said there is something else in this game dragging it down in the graphical department and that is the frame rate. I cant speak for the Xbox or dear god the PS2 but the Cube version runs at about 15-25fps for most of the game, forget about getting a smooth frame rate out in the city the only place you will get it is inside a building or the subway stations. The first time you step outside after Marcus begins his Training its in Time Square (I believe) and its snowing, and sure there is a lot to animate, the snow, the neons, the people, the cars all the rubbish floating around but when your driving around the game chugs, there is no other word to describe it.
Dont think oh its just a slow car, even getting the souped up cars later on in the game dont help, even when your out away from the streets the framerate is still very low and it really hurts the game. Surely youre thinking but yeah the graphics are great so the framerate takes a hit? Well actually they arent while they are better then GTA:SAs and True Crime Streets of LA the arent as polished as say Resident Evil 4, and while that is a negative you really learn the characters through the cut scenes and their voices of which is of the highest quality. The voice acting it one of the highlights of the game with such notables as Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishbourne, and while the story may not be Oscar winning stuff they do theyre job excellently. The music in the game while not my cup of tea (no music is really but hey) it suits the people who inhabit the New York in the game, I dont think EVERYONE in the US has stolen car parts on them etc. And the people who do have these parts are very vocal. The game features loads of NPCs you can interact with and it does take a while to meet a NPCs who is exactly the same, however some badly placed NPCs such as a hooker for a truck driver do crop up on some occasions.
True Crime: New York City is entirely open-ended and you can play through the game however you want to. You can play through the four Big Cases (Magdalena Cartel, Palermo Mob, Presidents Club, Shadow Tong ) these story lines make up the main story line (which will fast track you to the ending) or you can explore New York and take your time. There are a large number of side missions, random crimes and other activities such as Street Racing, Fight Arenas and then there are also the extortion mini games which affect your good cop/bad rating which was first seen in Streets of LA. Different actions affect you good cop/bad cop rating, senseless beating people is bad and you will punished for it however the more crimes you solve and the less violent you go around solving them affects the score. For example if you disarm a robber instead of just shooting him you will be rewarded for the good work. Also if you confiscated items from people you can sell them off at the hock shop and get money for it and a bad cop rating or take it back to the precinct and hand it over and improve your good cop score. How you play the game is up to you and thats what I liked about the first one.
Along with the Good/Bad Cop ratings is the general rating of how you are doing as a detective. The being the game as a 5th Grade detective which is a rank you cant go lower then no matter how bad you are. A Shield in the corner of the screen keeps tracks of and hopefully you last long enough to get to 1st Grade.
The aiming system has been beefed up too with a quasi-RE4 behind the shoulder shooting mode but the firing mode from the old game is there too. The game actually works well with both the shooting mechanisms and with a touch a button you can swap between them. The melee combat has also upgraded and you can actually hit someone when facing them, the combat in Streets of LA was very sloppy and this has been tightened significantly.
The MA15+ Rating on the game is well deserved too with random profanities not only coming from Marcus but random NPCs on the street, and also not forgetting the real hardcore violence, its not just shooting and blood spewing but the fact you can beat up a random person and kill them in 100 ways.
So finishing up while the game has its fair few amounts of problems the real killer is the framerate its just too choppy to really play and gave a headache, if you got a Xbox spend the extra 20 bucks as the extra processing power will help the game along. However If you only got a Cube and were a fan of the first game youll like this one, I did even though it let me down in a few areas.