Review by RooCH
"Gangsters paradise? - A RooCH review"
Ever since Rockstar's first classic GTA title, developers the world over have avoided the crime game like the plague, fearing being compared to the almighty series. A few have entered the genre with varied degrees of success, but will Volition's effort deliver the goods?
Smooth, vibrant and packed with action the visuals in this game really define it. Customisation is the key to this titles graphics, with not only your character and car customisable, but every car on the road. Basically as you begin the game you go through a rather advanced custom character process, picking your eye colour, hair colour, beard colour, beard style, hair style and facial features. Finally you choose your height and weight and off you go! You can then buy clothes, haircuts, cars and a few other interesting surprises. Not only that, but any car you hijack can be fully customised in the garages (With the exception of the emergency service cars). And the detail in the car upgrading is phenomenal, a massive range of paint styles and colours, huge varieties of parts and rims. There really are no two cars the same. And a massive amount of props must go to the explosions in this game. Not only do wheels, doors, hoods and bumpers come flying off, but the colour and convection currents really make this one of the most beautiful games in relation to explosions. The only place where this game fails visually is frame rate, which is unfortunately poor.
Now the main complaint people have had about this game is simply seeing it as another GTA clone. And whilst this is most certainly a game with GTA in mind, it seeks to put right all the things GTA did wrong. For a start, and by far the greatest improvement is the aiming system. In GTA you have the lock on system for gun fighting, and not only is it annoying but at times it's fair nigh on impossible to make the shots you would otherwise be able to given free aim. So what did Volition do? They gave you free aim! And what a difference it makes. This is one area where Volition not only beat Rockstar, but literally shows them the light. Free aiming in a GTA game is absolutely a step in the right direction. You can now shoot people out of cars, blow tires, headshot random pedestrians, SNIPE!! It opens up such a massive amount of gameplay that it puts GTA to shame.
The missions are a tad repetitive, mostly simply requiring someone killed or a group perhaps, but the gameplay has added the good old Havok physics engine to make the experience that much more memorable. From explosions flinging bodies through the air, to the utter joy of running people over and watching their bodies fly through the air, this game has the word "Fun" down to a T. And A quick tip to all those who wish for a laugh. Jump on top of a car and just hang on! Car surfing is unbelievable fun!
With a wide variety of talented voice actors, excellent explosions and a good variety of guns, the sound really does aid this games enjoyment level. From walking past a random civilian who no doubt will throw some obscene phrase your way, to a snooty sales clerk who you can later rob blind, the sound is both fun and enjoyable.
Now this was the area where the game failed massively on release. In the past the multiplayer aspect to this title was so laggy it was basically beyond playable. However Volition have finally removed their asses from their seats and fixed the problem. There are 5 different modes to choose from. There is Gangster brawl, which is your basic deathmatch. Team Gangster brawl is the obvious team variant. Protect the pimp, which is a fancy title for VIP. One person on one team is given a pimp hat, and his only means of defence is a one hit kill melee attack, "Pimp slap". He has to get to a certain location, and the rest of the people on his team must make sure he gets there alive. The opposing team however must attempt to eliminate the pimp. Big ass chains is simply a deathmatch wherein you collect chains for every kill, and take them to a location in exchange for cash. However if you are killed, you drop all the chains collected.
Now none of the previous gametypes really shook the foundations, however in Blinged out ride a new and fun twist is delivered. Each team begins the game with a car. They have to kill one another to collect enough money to upgrade that car over several successive levels until it is fully blinged out, at which point they must take it to an open showcase area, and protect it for a period of time. It is fast paced and frantic, and an original twist on the multiplayer genre.
The multiplayer is fun for a while, and interesting enough, but ultimately isn't terribly long lived. An interesting feature is the customisation, which as with the single player is pretty advanced. The only problem however is that in order to get new clothes you have to win matches and earn money. But the amount you win is very small compared to the astronomical prices of clothing. Not terribly interesting unfortunately.
Overall this game provides a fresh and beautiful new spin on the 3rd person action genre. It's fun, it has a fair amount of longevity, but unfortunately there are a few niggling issues that stop this becoming a classic. A short lived multiplayer, poor frame rate and ultimately a lack of the comic ingenuity that made GTA so famous really do make this a close second place. Essentially this game is worth a purchase, simply to tide you over until GTA4 graces us with it's presence.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/19/06
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.