The Getaway Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
PlayStation 2
Release date:
January 21, 2003
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
Team SoHo
Players:
1
Genre:
Action
ESRB:
M

The Getaway

Grand Theft London.

Review by Geoff Johnson (Email)
August 5th 2004

What's bound to be the most controversial aspect of these segments, however, is their sheer difficulty. Hammond's limited health, the sheer number of enemies, and the occasionally tricky camera mean such segments border on granting survival only to those who have enemy positions and patterns memorized. Fewer enemies, additional moves, or at least tighter control could have made these sequence less frustrating, but having to take cover to recover health adds a layer of strategy that other games might have ignored.

No discussion of The Getaway, of course, would be complete without the game's major selling point, which is its story. The crime drama is divided into two portions, with the first 12 missions depicting the events from Mark Hammond's point of the view and the second half from DC Frank Carter's point of view. The two cross paths from time to time, often arriving at the same scene at different times without realizing it.

While not perfect by any means, The Getaway's plot and presentation do take a number of steps toward the game-as-a-movie concept. The choice to hire actors and then create in-game counterparts is complemented by new motion capture technology that allows for props, lending yet another layer of authenticity to the game, and there's not a poor performance amongst the cast. The engine, meanwhile, proves itself versatile enough to handle a remarkable level of detail with both characters and environment, and is powerful enough to handle all of the cutscenes in-game - many of which are skillfully directed.

Meanwhile, certain events seem to stretch the plausibility of the story, and the ending feels terribly inconclusive, but Mark Hammond tends to make for a compelling character and keeps the player interested in his troubles. What really stands out, though, is that the game has scenes of brutality that border on the shocking, and they're displayed with as serious and unrelenting a conviction as any serious film might. It's unfortunate that while Carter's missions display the same level of acting and directing, the story simply isn't as compelling, and simply doesn't stand on its own in light of Hammond's. A better idea might have been to interlace the two stories simultaneously, allowing for a break from Hammond's actions or even for the characters to be able to do something off-screen.

In the end, The Getaway is more likely to be remembered for its cinematic approach to storytelling than its gameplay innovations, but there's still a challenging and fun game to be had in its rather unpolished trappings. Its linearity and realism will likely turn off as many as it attracts, and the end result isn't for everyone. Players looking for a good story or a gritty-realistic action game will have a good time so long as they can look past some of its more irritating quirks, and it would be interesting to see Team Soho develop a sequel, spiritual or otherwise.

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