Title: True Crime: New York City
The very first thing you notice when opening the package to True Crime: New York City is the following disclaimer:
This game is not approved,
endorsed, or connected in any way
to the New York City
Police Department (“NYPD”)
The game is fictional and does
not represent the views,
policies or practices of the
Of course I thought to myself, “hmm… I wonder why they put that”. Very quickly I found out why.
are Marcus Reed, a former gang member turned cop forced to use
‘practices’ the real life NYPD does not endorse, to find your mentor’s
killer. Some of these ‘practices’ include extorting money from street
vendors, ‘interrogating’, planting evidence, and almost any other ‘bad
cop’ cliché you can think of.
First off, let me say I enjoyed the game. If you are a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, you will enjoy it also. The game features a voice cast that includes Lawrence Fishburne and Christopher Walken (this is definitely a plus, since so many games contain terrible voice acting). In addition, you are in New York City as opposed to a fictitious setting. If you know your way around you will find yourself joy riding (I actually took a drive to my office). Don’t worry, you will not get lost because pressing start will pull up your options screen which shows a map. Also, while you are driving, the game lets you know what street you are on as well as streets you are passing at all times. Being in NYC is definitely one of my favorite parts of the game.
With any action game, you are going to be unloading a lot of bullets. True Crime is no exception. You have a wide array of guns to pick up while patrolling the streets. I found myself just using these instead of buying guns in the police precinct. The auto aiming works well and is needed when you are in a shoot out with numerous gang members at once.
Driving in this game shows you why the vast majority of people in New York do not own cars. Granted, the game doesn’t show the worst traffic, but it does give you a sense of how frustrating it can be. For example, I was riding down 22nd street with sirens blaring and came upon a number of cars waiting for the light to change (I can’t tell you how many times I have seen emergency vehicles stuck in traffic in NYC). They would not move and I was forced to pull onto the sidewalk almost hitting pedestrians (note: moving cars do get out of the way when your sirens are on). During the course of playing, you can purchase different driving skills like an extra speed burst and new maneuvers.
The fighting system of the game is simple, but not so simple that it isn’t enjoyable. You can actually learn different styles of fighting during the course of the game. That way you won’t get sick of using the same punching combination.
Interrogating suspects is a fun addition, but is underused and over simplified. You have a meter and to get information you have to get the cursor to move to the middle of this meter. To do this, you use a combination of reasoning as well as, ahem, extreme tactics like hitting and threatening with your gun. It is very easy to do this, but they could have made it more elaborate and interesting.
The soundtrack of the game is great. It features a combination of hip hop tracks as well as rock. Now tell me, what is better than being involved in a car chase with an arms dealer, with guns blazing, while speeding down Broadway and having A Tribe Called Quest’s classic song ‘What’s the Scenario’ blasting? Ahh, pure greatness.
During the course of True Crime you will be solving major cases that an FBI agent provides you. While solving these cases and aimlessly driving the streets, calls come in from dispatch informing you of incidents in the area. You have the choice of whether to investigate, or ignore. This prevents the game from being boring and allows you to gain points to go up in rank.
Glitches are a very annoying part of any game. True Crime: New York City is no exception. During game play I experienced random freezing which made me think there was something wrong with the disk. Physically there wasn’t, it is the game itself. I looked online and read about others experiencing the same thing. So my advise is this: SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, the game whenever you can. Because there is nothing worse than completing a lot of work, the game freezing, and you losing all of your progress.
Now this is sort of minor, but deserves a mention anyway. Sometimes while driving, the game will slow down just before an impact of two cars as a result of not being able to handle the pixel rate. This gets annoying to say the least.
By no means am I conservative, but this game drops enough F-bombs to cause a nuclear holocaust. I have tried, and failed, to think of a movie or situation that involved as much cussing as this game. Like I said, cussing doesn’t bother me, but when it begins to seem like every word spoken is a cuss word, the whole thing gets tired and played out.
The character modeling is fine except for one thing: fighting a group of gang members who look exactly a like is kind of weird. Also, seeing a scantily clad woman driving a delivery truck (no, it isn’t part of the story line, just something I saw while driving near Union Square) was kind of weird also. How do I know she was scantily clad? I hit the van and she got out complaining! These are minor things that can be forgiven. But the weirdest thing I encountered was whom I call the ‘ghost rider’. There is a part of the game where you are standing up in a limo with your upper body out of the sunroof unloading a machine gun on your pursuers (another character is driving). A couple of them are on motorcycles. Well I took out the rider, but the motorcycle kept its pursuit, even ramming the car, WITHOUT A RIDER. That caught me off guard for a second, but then I regained my train of thought and shot it up.
Overall, I enjoyed the game and definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Grand Theft Auto. I also urge those who have never played a game of this style to check it out. The numerous side cases ranging from vegetarians vandalizing a fast food joint to domestic disputes to men holding strippers hostage will keep you from getting bored with the game. Did I mention that part of your undercover missions you can join an underground racing circuit and fight clubs? I thought you would like that. Definitely check out True Crime: New York City (especially if you enjoyed the first game, True Crime: Streets of L.A.).
The games was reviewed on an XBox system. Kirshan Murphy is also the editor of www.blackinthecity.net