Review by Archmonk Iga
Get up and get this game.
First things first: I am completely pro-graffiti. I'm far from being able to write myself, but I give my utmost respect to anyone who does. I think it's one of the coolest art styles to look at.
Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure suffers from a few problems, including a title that's way too long. For all it's shortcomings, though, I couldn't help but place Getting Up among some of my all-time favorites. Is it the inspirational protagonist? The real-life allusions provided by the story? The beautiful art? Well, it was all those and more. For what Getting Up lacks in gameplay polish, it certainly makes up for in heart.
The first screen we see is a Subway station being used as the menu system, with a soulful tune playing in the background as we get ready to begin. Picking each option makes the game look like we're traveling from one point to another on a subway car--original, and it never gets old. The menus may seem overwhelming at first with all this stuff going on, but they're quite simple, and most of the options won't even be used that often.
As for the story, we follow a young man named Coltrane Crowley, AKA "Trane." Trane is an aspiring graffiti legend, but at this point... he's not quite there. He lives with his grandma, who eventually kicks him out because of his artistic dream. With nowhere to go, Trane's only path is to follow the one he set from the beginning--get his name up all over his city of New Radius. Tagging Trane wherever he can, he will at first have some problems introducing himself to the graffiti world--a particular rival graffiti group, the "Vandals of New Radius," do not quite like what he's been up to.
As you progress further in the game, Trane will realize that struggling to get his name up is only the beginning of the hardships he'll have to go through. What begins as a simple goal to "get up" eventually takes a huge turn that will have you pulling for Trane so much more than before. The government, the police and other factors all come into play that threaten not only Trane, but the very city he calls home.
Believe it or not, Trane has become one of my favorite videogame characters of all time. He is about as real as a fictional character can get, in a fictional world that still manages to strangely remind us of the real world. Trane is an excellent example of why you should never give up--as cheesy as it may sound. Even when the odds point against you, even when it's you against an entire city, that doesn't mean there's no hope. Trane exemplifies this to the realest level I can imagine.
New Radius is a huge city with incredible detail. When high atop a tower, take a second to look around you, and view the entire city as a whole. It really was given the utmost attention.
The character models also look amazing, especially in the cinematics. Trane's different looks (there is one before and one after he makes an important decision) don't disappoint, and the NPCs also look fantastic. One of the extras in GU is you get to look at each character's initial designs before they were finalized--let me tell you, you'll be happy the creators chose the models they did.
Oh, the music. Marc Ecko, P. Diddy, I must say I underestimated you guys. RJD2? Bloc Party? Wow, and it's so fitting to the game's theme, too. One of my personal favorite videogame soundtracks.
The voice-actors are very good for the most part. Karen Light is voiced by Brittany Murphy, and perhaps is the least-fitted character. Another complaint is with the CCK officers--if I had a dime for every time I heard "It's gonna suck to be you in a second!" I could probably buy out Marc Ecko. While they sounded nice, they definitely needed some more lines.
Despite all its emotion, the bottom line falls onto how well you can pick up this game and play. While there are definitely some great parts of GU's gameplay, there are also problems that are way too obvious to ignore.
Let's get the bad out of the way first. For one, this game is pretty glitchy. I'm fighting a baddy, when all of a sudden I'll fall off the very bridge I'm standing on... wtf? Another problem is even bigger--the controls. Especially in the platforming parts of the game, I feel like I didn't have the amount of control over Trane as I should have had. Balancing, climbing, even running around would occasionally prove troublesome, and many times would cause the Game Over screen to appear. While it's a great feeling climbing up to such unbelievable locations, GU makes it a little more frustrating to do than necessary. This is only made worse by the very bad behavior of the camera. Also frustrating is the enemy AI. While dumb as a doornail, the CCK seem to have invincibility and a keen sense of sight and hearing. GU tries to add stealth to this game, but it's completely pointless--you're gonna get caught, no matter how hard you try. You're better off trying to beat the guards up rather than sneak around them. Another problem is, with all the game overs we'll be getting, the loading times last way too long. I mean, yes, the huge levels give partial excuse (and the loading screens are pretty cool to look at), but when we keep having to start over it gets very aggravating.
Despite those many problems, Getting Up still offers plenty of fun. The core of the game is in the graffiti--you won't believe some of the places Trane wants you to take him to tag, along with the limitless variety of his different tags. I won't give anything away, but you will always feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when you beat a level, and the screen pans over all your artwork. If you can't do it in real life, this is as close as you'll get--and it's a pretty cool feeling. The only problem I had was with the wheat-paste, but thankfully we don't have to deal with that type too often. Another fun part of the game is in the combat. While not perfect (again, the controls can cause a problem here and there), some of the kicks and punches that Trane lays down on the people standing in his way are really cool. Why don't you set them on fire and watch them run of the rooftop in panic? Or do a handstand and forcefully kick a guard in the face, knocking him down to his knees? You can follow that up with an insult, such as "hope I didn't screw up your make-up, little girl," and smack him down to the ground. Really, does it get much better than that? Not quite. Yes, GU lacks polish to be perfect, but that amazing feeling you get when you see all the different tags you've made in each level helps make it all worth it.
The main game should last no more than 25 hours, which is a decent length for an action game like this. But to add on a lot more time, there are tons of extras, including hidden songs, graffiti legends' art, power-ups, and much more. There's even a two-player mode where you face off against a friend. I highly doubt anyone will utilize this feature, but hey, it's nice of them to put it in there. All in all, GU should last you awhile.
LASTING APPEAL: 8.5/10
Control problems and long loading times don't mean you should avoid this game. Trane's story of art is all worth it--don't pass this one up.
OVERALL: 8.2/10 (8/10 when rounded)
Thanks for reading =)
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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