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True Crime: New York City GameCube Preview

True Crime: Streets of L.A. no matter how you look at it was an attempt to grab at the Grand Theft Auto fanbase. The only difference between that game and the GTA games is the status of the main character(s). Nick Kang of True Crime is a cop working for the LAPD and his main objective was to find out who murdered his father and why. Now you could choose if you went about your actions to determine whether you were a “good or bad cop”, but essentially True Crime was a GTA-esque game with a more sensitive approach. You could “steal” cars, but since law enforcement officers are legally allowed to do so if that is needed, it couldn’t be considered the felony that GTA actually is.

True Crime: New York City seeks to bring about similar elements that its predecessor did, but it seems like Luxoflux is making a noteworthy effort to make it much better and different in atmosphere. You take on the role of Marcus Reed, a young black man who just so happens to work for the NYPD. His father, Isiah Reed, happens to be a local kingpin. However, when Marcus was a much younger boy, he is arrested. This event causes Marcus to be directed under the care of family friend in Terry Higgins. Terry happens to be a law enforcement officer working for the NYPD, and this is how Marcus ends up joining up himself. Rather ironic isn’t it? Unfortunately shortly after Marcus joins the force, Terry is murdered, and this is where Marcus’ “quest” ensues! Not knowing how this happened or why, Marcus embarks on a journey against five major cartels throughout NYC in order to solve this mystery!

Now with the new story of TC:NYC comes the return of many of the core gameplay mechanics of the first True Crime. However, it seems like Luxoflux is offering a more unique experience in which they are hoping will improve upon the predecessor. The third person view and control mechanics have indeed made their return to please current fans of the franchise, but combat has now been expanded! This has been mostly focused with actual hand-to-hand mechanics, which have now been upped in quantity to offer pure brawling, kung fu, Thai boxing, wushu and karate! But no worry, battles with your precious guns will be more diverse now as well since the number of available weapons has been increased to 58 from the original 35! This breaks down to about 23 melee weapons and the rest being actual guns. Oh, and the dual weapon wielding is still very much making a return as well.

Thankfully, a story element that wasn’t exactly impressive in the original True Crime isn’t making a return in this game. That happened to be the “plot branching”. Whether you succeeded or not in certain missions, the original True Crime still allowed you to progress through the game’s main story. TC:NYC has instead chosen to take a different route. Rather than allowing you to simply slip past certain chapters of the game based on success or failure; TC:NYC will take you through the story and simply bring you up to speed on the information you may have missed in previous missions as you progress.

Now with New York City, something just HAS to come to mind right? Well if you haven’t though of it yet, allow me to assist…cars and traffic! That’s right, NYC in this game features 25 square miles of very accurate GPS design and the traffic will be made to emulate that just as well! But when you would find the need to “jack” someone’s car or use one of your own to get from point A to point B, you will now have the option of using your own custom siren. Then just as the first True Crime did, the game will provide you with a map since many people who play the game probably won’t be exactly familiar with NYC’s layout.

Then with your actual driving throughout NYC, yet another feature of the first True Crime will be returning, the random crimes! Now True Crime wasn’t exactly stellar in presenting these “random crimes” in an authentic manner. You simply drove through L.A. and at any “random”, you would receive an onscreen prompt of one of five or so possible crimes nearby and see a locator point on your radar. But the problem therein lied in the fact that they didn’t do much to affect the overall game experience. TC:NYC seeks to change that by having the random crimes actually go hand-in-hand with how the game actually presents itself! As the first True Crime did though, at any given point in time you’ll receive notification of a crime in progress. You’ll once again have your own choice as to whether you stop the crime or not, but this time that choice will actually affect how you see things! If you choose to not stop a handful of random crimes you’re alerted to, the city will actually begin looking as if it’s being decimated by crime. You may begin seeing trash all over the place, vandalism in various locations and or maybe even just general decay throughout the city.

Another feature that made the first True Crime rather interesting will make its return in TC:NYC, but in a pretty cool sounding new way. This happens to be your status of either being a “good cop or bad cop”. If you choose to go the route of that ethical and morally sound law enforcement officer, Marcus will experience a nice and stable life. But if you go down the route of being “bad”, you will have chosen to steal evidence, pawn items on the streets and generally just have that subtle “criminal fun”. If you go the bad route, you’ll find yourself having a lot more expendable income than normal, and being able to live the “high life” because of it. Sure it’s not the morally sound choice, but knowing the awesome goodies you can snag in doing so may be rather enticing to most players.

The visuals of TC:NYC seem to be shaping up rather nicely as well. Like stated previously, the city will be featured in a 25 square mile GPS-accurate layout. You can then either choose to explore the massiveness of the city by car or subway. Although cars will more than likely be the preference of players since the subway is more or less meant for instant transports from one point in the city to another. In addition to being able to do a little outdoor sight seeing in your car, you will also have the option of making your presence known in the game’s various buildings. These may include apartment buildings, nightclubs, music shops and other such locations that you’ll be able to slap down your cash for some nice items! The level of detail also seems to have improved quite nicely given the revamped graphical interface and brand new environment. There seem to be some issues with frame rate during certain sequences right now though, but it hopefully they’ll be fixed in time for final release.

Now in terms of music and audio, they too seem to be there to offer a better overall atmosphere than the first True Crime was able to. Most of the feeling you get from the music and sound effect should take on a “moody” tone, which will in turn hopefully give the game a more lively feel. The music seems to take on the genres of hip-hop and R&B; for the most part which seems like it will do a better job accentuating the action of the game. There is also plenty of voice work in the game as well, with most of it delivering a nice feel of “grittiness” that seemed to be lacking in the first True Crime. Let’s also hope those horrific Nick Kang one-liners won’t be making a return either. Those can make a game annoying SO quickly. But just have it known that there will be a heavy dose of profanity in the game’s dialogue which is one of the features that will make this game rated M. Also based on Gamespot’s preview of this game, the sounds and such you hear from utilizing your guns and martial arts techniques seem to be quite satisfying.