It'd be easy to say that THE GETAWAY is merely a Grand Theft Auto clone. But the game has been through much more than that. In development for eternity and costing Sony a fortune, the game has slowly evolved from a game like DRIVER to more of an interactive movie set in London. As much as I want to love this game, as much as I like the setting and style, it is lacking.
THE GETAWAY is very cinematic. Set on the streets of London, the game begins as Mark Hammond's wife is murdered and his child abducted by Charlie Jolson. The police believe that Mark, a former bank robber, killed his wife and are chasing him down, while Charlie holds his son hostage in a deadly game of 'Simon Says'. Perhaps the most interesting intro to a videogame ever, and even a compelling story, but it all begins to break down when you actually play.
The game is a mix of driving and shooting sequences. There is always an emphasis on realism therefore there are no status bars on the screen. When you're driving, your turn indicator comes on to tell you that you need to turn. Problem is, in a high-speed chase, you don't use a blinker. And the other problem is that it's unreliable. It works well for the most part, but I was confused more than a few times while navigating London's streets. The realism is a big factor but it comes back and acts as a double-edged sword.
Another instance of this same phenomenon comes during the other part of the game, the shooting aspects. There's no real way to aim, and it's pretty straightforward. Find cover, jump out, shoot, reload, wash, rinse, repeat. When you get injured, blood appears on your shirt and you begin to stumble. There's no health packs you regain health by standing next to a wall. It's ridiculous for a game that prides itself on realism to allow you to heal a shotgun blast by leaning against a wall.
Ultimately, that's what's frustrating. THE GETAWAY is not fun to play. It's too realistic, not responsive enough, and far too easy. That's my biggest problem with the game it just isn't fun. I enjoyed watching the story I am a movie fan, I liked the story. But the gameplay just gets old very quickly. I wish it wasn't so, the story and style makes me want to love this game and cuddle with it. But I can't, there's a barrier that prevents me from interacting with it, and that's the fact that I just can't get into playing it.
One of the reasons I want to love the game is the graphical recreation of a large portion of London. This past summer I spent a month in Europe exploring everywhere from London to Andorra to Morocco to Lisbon and everywhere in between. Driving through London was incredible, landmarks such as Trafalgar Square are intact and if you've ever visited you'll see many sites. If you've never visited, you'll still get to see a lot of cool areas of the city. The graphical style is well done and looks like a gritty movie. I thought that it was one of the most defining aspects of the game's graphics and looks good.
The soundtrack is excellent. I loved the music in the game more than any other aspect. It sets the mood well and more importantly fits perfectly. The voices are also very well done although sometimes I did find it a bit hard to understand exactly what was being said. This is more due to the British accents than anything else though. The sound effects are well designed although the game doesn't give my surround sound system the workout it could.
Ultimately, THE GETAWAY tries to do two things in one package, and while pulling off being a movie, it falls flat on its face as a game. It's worth a rental, but nothing else.