I am sure that car crime must be skyrocketing in these big American cities. I got this assumption because this game seems to suggest that it is not only criminals that can steal cars, but cops can join in on the action, too. God bless America.
Now I am going to have to ask you to turn off your cliché detector while I tell you the story of True Crime, because otherwise it is going to be going haywire in a couple of minutes. You play as Nick Kang, a badass street cop who doesn’t play by the rules but gets the results, but he also has a secret agenda, to find out what happened to his father many years ago. Needless to say I was crying after I heard that. The storyline throughout the game usually revolves around the “find gangster, kill gangster, get clue, find next gangster, kill gangster, get next clue” method. The story does heat up by the end of the game, but your brain has been so clued in to the method that you hardly notice it.
The game is split up into different missions which have a theme of either driving, fighting, shooting, or stealth. Every so often you also do another type of mission which involves driving ’round the city and solving random street crimes. These can range from arresting an armed mugger to putting an end to an illegal street race and stopping a shoot-out between rival gangs of hookers…seriously. With the amount of crime that happens, you are surprised that they don’t just gas the entire city and start again.
The missions are pretty fun, but they all suffer by being either too easy or too short, and sometimes both. The fighting missions are pretty much the same throughout the entire game, and it does start to get a bit repetitive; although I do have to mention that a lot of the scenery is destroyable, which makes the fights a hell of a lot more fun. With very limited choice of guns, the shooting becomes dull, too, but not quite as much as the fighting parts. The driving is excellent but there is just not enough of it, and the stealth missions are simply pathetic. They are all like a giant tutorial—the bad guys look in your direction for ten seconds, then look away; they are just asking you to sneak up and break their necks.
I have mixed views about the soundtrack. It contains a lot of rap and hip-hop, which may displease a lot of people. The voice acting is okay—it is not excellent, but it is far from dire, although Nick’s endless catchphrases will slowly turn your brain into mush, which does make the game a bit harder.
But this game does have two final tricks up its sleeve: the karma system and the badge system. Whenever you do good things, like capture a criminal without killing them, the game gives you one karma point. On the other hand, whenever you kill an innocent, you lose a point. If you have a bad karma rating then it means that when the story branches off in different directions, you will take the bad route. The badge system is probably the best thing in the whole game. It involves giving you points whenever you succeed in a mission or do a street crime. These points will give you badges, and these badges can be spent in three different places: a dojo, a shooting range, and a driving school. You are then forced to play a minigame, but if you are successful, then you will learn a new skill to help you win the game. This is a great idea and does add a bit of replay value, but it does make the game easier than it is at the beginning.
Overall, True Crime is a fun romp around LA; fans of GTA and Driver might like it. It is a shame, really, since this could have been a game that blew GTA and Driver so far out of the water that they were reaching orbit, but the storyline and gameplay just feel rushed and totally waste the excellent systems that are in place, and that is a true crime.