True Crime: New York City PS2 Review

Being bad always seems to be the peak of fun during games, and the True Crime ethos allows you to choose your path by either doing things by the book (not necessarily the bible!) or completing tasks with little regard for the cop rules. It’s also a lot easier to be bad, as you don’t have to drive carefully or know the Highway Code.

It has to be said that the good/bad cop mechanic of True Crime is an excellent idea, although attempting to stay on the road of angels is difficult, and also takes away some of the fun of the driving etc. Every time you mow down a pedestrian in a vehicle, bad points are added to your total, and whilst you could tell us to stay off the pavements, we found it quite an annoyance and eventually just couldn’t be bothered to try and get back into gods good books (or at least the boss’s!). It’s much more appealing to plant evidence on unknowing pedestrians, sell evidence at pawn shops and kill rather than cuff anyway.

This time around you take control of Marcus Reid opposed to the much maligned Nick Kang of the previous game. Marcus was previously on the wrong side of the law and living his life as a gangster, but obviously he comes clean and becomes an upholder of the law himself. The plot is pretty promising to begin with, but it soon becomes little more than a distraction. Notable is the fact that the plot no longer branches along with your actions, which is good in a way, as the original games story started to make no sense at all as it branched one way and then another. Two different endings are on the disc, although we would have liked to see some plot branching that actually worked in this one.

This sequel has much in common with the original True Crime, which means it’s a cocktail of driving, shooting and fighting with the major hook being that you are a fulltime cop with random crimes constantly being thrown at you. These can be undertaken to earn yourself some additional cash and bolster your career on the streets.

The game doesn’t do any single one of its gameplay elements badly, and plays well whether you are hitting the streets in a vehicle, bruising someone’s face or targeting and shooting the scum who oppose you. This all collectively makes the game very approachable in all areas, which obviously goes along way towards making things very playable.

An abundance of upgrades meanwhile keeps the game fresh throughout. You can learn new fighting styles in the New York Dojo’s, buy shooting upgrades such as a slow motion dive or some cooler guns upon promotion, these can then be stashed in the boot of your motor. You can even earn yourself some nifty new driving skills; therefore all avenues are pretty much covered.

It plays well and feels good, but sadly the visuals are detrimental to the experience. The overall visuals are fine, and the New York cityscape doesn’t look too bad at all, although the frame rate sadly doesn’t manage to hold a reasonable pace for much of the game, thus resulting in a character that looks like he is attempting to run against a strong wind. With this said, we feel that the game has been rushed to market in time for the festive period. Fortunately it still manages to scrape through and remain playable in the face of such adversity.

True Crime: New York City doesn’t commit many gaming sins, but the above mentioned flaw can begin to annoy on occasion. Forgetting the frame rate for a moment, the game does a lot of things right and is well worth a look by any self-respecting action fan.