Arriving the Sony booth, my first objective was to find a playable kiosk of The Getaway. I did, but I scored a little better than just a kiosk. I sat down with The Getaway's Senior-Animator/Lead Artist for a quick briefing on the game, and a hands-on test. Not to mention I played the game on a sweet wide-screen display, and not a typical kiosk. From the 30 or so minutes that I played the game, I saw a lot. First off, while the game doesn't look as gorgeous as the mock ups released two years ago, it does look incredibly detailed. Texture detail is very sharp, especially when you consider the vast size of the rendered city, which is a total of 40 square KM.
The beginning of the game starts you off with a somewhat lengthy five minute story intro. The story hasn't changed since The Getaway was first announced, as you still take the role of a character who once was a very notorious bank robber. He quit the deeds of wrong doing for his family. With mention of his family, it must be noted that in the opening his wife is killed in front of his eyes, and his son was kidnapped by the murders. Our character, shocked at the death of his wife, enters a car and begins chasing the murders through the streets of London (this is the portion which the gamer begins to control).
Now what really sets The Getaway apart from a game like Grand Theft Auto III is that The Getaway is very action oriented on foot. In the search for your son, you will not only drive officially licensed vehicles, all complete with a damage model, but you will also be on foot many of the times during your quest. While on foot, you will enter buildings, and seek out those who are tied with the murderers. Now when you enter buildings, you're playing The Getaway's 'second game' (as I like to call it) -- Metal Gear Solid/Max Payne. When you're on foot, action isn't as mindless or lackluster as GTAIII's (lackluster in the controls, that is). You have sophisticated methods of control for the on foot portions as you can play stealthily by leaning against walls, and etc. The weapon action is great and very fast. It plays similarly to Max Payne, which everybody should be excited about. It feels a lot like Studio Soho developed two games for one package. The car physics are a bit slippery, but it's nothing that the developers won't fix by the time the game launches. Now speaking of launch, I was able to get the official word that Sony and their wholly owned Studio Soho team are aiming for a November 2002 release date. By the looks of what I played today, it seems like that is a very firm projection.
5/22/2002 Arnold Katayev