Games & Wine
Every connoisseur of wine will tell you that really good wine takes its time to unfold its full potential - sometimes many, many years. If video games and wine have anything in common “The Getaway” ought to be very, very good. The title was in development for more than 3 years and consumed a budget of 10 million Euros until the developers were finally happy with it. But are WE happy with it too? For my part, I am.
Be aware of at least one thing before you continue: “The Getaway” is a very brutal game and should be only available to mature players. It is in no way comparable to “unpersonal” shooters and action games like Quake or Unreal. The gore and brutality is very personal and direct. The game starts, continues with, and ends with murder. Parents be aware of what you make available to your kids.
Tomorrow in the city of London
Mark Hammond’s wife is the first victim of a series of events that will change the lives of many citizens of London forever. Just out of prison Hammond hoped to get a second chance, but again he is being hunted - this time not only by the police but by Charlie Jolson, the most powerful gangster in London, as well. But Mark Hammond has no time for grief or sorrow. The same people that murdered his wife have abducted his son as well.
Frank Carter is on the very opposite side of the law. He is a member of the squad that has one single objective: nail criminal mastermind Jolson. These two men are separated by the law but joined in their effort to stop Jolson for once and for all.
“The Getaway” is an interesting mix of various blockbusters from the last 2 years. Piloting numerous cars through London it will remind you of the PS2 blockbuster GTA III. Once on a mission, it is a little more like Max Payne. Denying the fact that the developers “borrowed” their ideas from other games would be ridiculous, but they built something new and refreshing from the parts they had.
More realism is likely the key feature that distinguishes “The Getaway” from the rest of the competition. Let’s take finding your way for an example. You won’t find colourful arrows flying above you pointing to your destination in London, instead the game uses the cars flashers to give to a clue of where to go - a simple but brilliant idea.
Another feature the developers are especially proud of is the conversion of more than 40 kmÃ‚Â² of London they did for the game. Screenshots and actual photographs of the same location from the game and the “real thing” can be found in our gallery. Sometimes it is really hard to tell which one is the real thing. Ok I’m making something up here, but it *really* does look good.
This brings us to the graphics department. Some of my fellow reviewers from other gaming magazines didn’t appreciate the graphics and gave them only an average score. I don’t agree with them. The environment and the cars are realistic and the city is populated by a fair amount of NPC characters. Taking in credit that the PS2 is a little older than the rest of the competition. the graphics are not only good but VERY good. It is true that the character models, especially their extremities are not comparable to today’s PC and Xbox standards, but the rest of the presentation makes up for that.
Still in the graphic department we ought to look at the movies. Pre-rendered sequences like in the Square games or simple in-game-graphics scenes? No, sir! Real life actors and a huge studio did the job for “The Getaway”. Giving away anything from the movies would spoil your gaming experience, so don’t ask. Although the quality is not comparable to Hollywood productions (the makeup of criminal mastermind Charlie Jolson looks *cough* interesting – on the other hand he is the bad one so he ought to look mean) the movies add even more atmosphere to the game.
Non-European gamers don’t look for this game in your stores yet although – often we have to wait for the PAL Release of a good title; now it’s your turn to wait for the NTSC release.
Perhaps a final note. I’m well aware that my rating is higher than the ratings of some other sites. I enjoyed the title and is my opinion this review is based on - tough luck for everyone who doesn’t think like I do ;)