E3 2003: True Crime: Street of L.A.: Hands-on impressions
Taking the opposite direction of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, True Crime puts you in the role of Nick Kang, a special ops cop on the gritty streets of the city of angels.
The first thing I was told by one of the game's designers was that True Crime features over 240 square miles of the metropolitan Los Angeles area. I decided to test this claim by seeing just how far I could go before I hit the 'invisible wall'. While I couldn't check the odometer in my car, suffice it to say that I drove, and drove, and then drove some more, and still felt as if I had a lot of city left to go; and that was just in one direction. Truly, this was a vast city.
The cool thing about just cruising through the game world was that I'd come across numerous crimes in progress where I could assist. Everything from gang fights to kidnappings, carjackings, and more was going on around me, and I had the choice to jump in and stop the bad guys, or just drive on like I couldn't care less. When I did choose to help out, it was on a domestic dispute, with officers on the scene requiring assistance. I pulled up and found myself chasing a bad guy down a back street, only to tackle him and place him under arrest. It was pretty fun.
Being such a huge city, problems poked up everywhere. The graphics aren't looking too sharp at all, and need some serious anti-aliasing before the game ships. Also, the driving psychics were off, making it hard to predictably handle your car. I found myself crashing unpredictably even at low speeds. Also, the traffic A.I. is worse than a city full of teenage girl drivers.
One big thing we've all heard about True Crime is the combat engine. Nick Kang is a badass, and he has the moves to prove it. Or so says Luxoflux. The combat system isn't working too well now. There are some bright spots, such as the fact that if a tough guy was coming up on my six, hitting an attack button would target him before he could take me out, as long as there wasn't someone directly in front of me. I was also able to do several different punches, kicks, and throws, tossing in some pretty fun combinations. Once an opponent was stunned, it was up to me to pull of a finishing move to put him down for good. This proved a bit harder than I thought it would be, as executing the combos is iffy at best. However, there is a solid base for them to improve upon, so if they keep their eye on the ball, Luxoflux should be able to deliver a fairly solid fighting experience.
True Crime: Streets of L.A. isn't looking too good right now, and the gameplay has some rough spots that need to be ironed out before the release. I was told we could expect this title to hit store shelves sometime late quarter 3 or early quarter 4 (September or October). Whether Luxoflux can bring everything together by then, only time can tell. It is entirely possible, from what I saw today, that we could see yet another delay. The potential for True Crime is there, though, so we'll be bringing you more information on this game as it becomes available.
5/18/2003 Ryan Hartmann