If you have heard anything about True Crimes: Streets of LA you have probably heard it referred to as the "GTA Clone". Well, in a lot of ways True Crimes is just that, with the freedom to roam around the environments stealing cars, and killing people, sure it’s just like GTA. But in a lot of way’s True Crimes does things its own way to set itself apart from the popular GTA series. Developer Luxoflox had a lot of obstacles to hurdle over, but when it’s all said and done they did an excellent job of making a worthwhile action game for the PS2.
True Crimes in many ways is just like Grand Theft Auto, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Heck, the last two installments in the GTA series have been enormous sellers, so why not try your luck at the genre. True Crimes takes the basic gameplay from the GTA series and adds its own unique twists to it.
In True Crimes you play as detective Nick Kang, a hot-headed cop who really has an attitude problem. Nick basically portrays the usual self-centered cop that we see in so many movies these days. Throughout the game you will learn more about Nick and his character. By the time you get through the game, you will clearly have a good idea of what he is all about.
True Crimes is split up into Episodes, which have a certain number of missions. Basically your goal is to get through all of the missions to get to the bonus level where you can attempt to get a new car or weapon. The structure of True Crimes kind of looks like Max Payne in the way it is broken down, but unlike Max Payne if you fail a mission you do have the option to continue through the Episode that will now have different cut scenes.
One of the big things True Crime strives on is upgrades, which will become essential to get far through the game. Throughout the game you will get alerts of crimes taking place and if you go and solve them you are rewarded with money, which will then pay for training. These training facilities help you upgrade your skills to make it easier on yourself on the later missions.
Another big idea that True Crimes strives on is good/bad cop karma that you get throughout the game. Cracking cases by arresting someone (instead of killing) will give you good cop points, but just killing the criminals with earn you negative points. Depending on how good or bad you are will also inflict how the storyline goes. If you are good then the story will become good, and vice versa. So if you’re trying to be a good cop you will find you have to be a lot more careful in what you do, so you don’t run over or shoot innocent bystanders.
During True Crimes you really have a few different things you will be doing, that are running, driving, fighting, and shooting. Running around over the environment feels a lot like GTA. Basically, you have the ability to tackle, handcuff, and flash the badge. Driving around in True Crimes is quite solid; the game has very tight controls and really makes driving fun and reasonably challenging.
By far the most impressive part of True Crimes in my eyes is the fighting system, which is very nicely done. You have the ability to Kick, Punch, Jumping Kick, and Grapple, and to my surprise the fighting system is excellent. You can upgrade your abilities throughout the game, and the fighting feels just as good as any other beat ’em up action title around. The shooting in True Crimes has basically the same problems that GTA had, and this is really an issue that needs to be worked on. The auto-aiming function really could use some work, because a lot of times it ends up putting you in harms way.
True Crimes: Streets of LA has the same sort of open-ended feel that you get from GTA but also has more of a storyline to follow. This is one of those games (like GTA3), where you just don’t want to put it down. What I really liked about True Crimes is that it does a nice job of giving you a purpose for your actions. Even though it has its faults, the gameplay as a whole is top notch.
When you look at True Crimes: Streets of LA you really get some really good and some really not so good. When you compare True Crimes straight up to GTA3 or Vice City you will find that True Crimes does look a whole lot better then the two games, but then again True Crimes is a year later so we are entitled to expect more out of the game.
We will just get the bad out of the way before we get onto what True Crimes does well. The biggest issues I had with True Crimes are the many technical glitches that are found throughout the game. There are a lot of times where you will make it half-way through walls, or you will get stuck in invisible walls. Another problem is the camera, which in tight areas gets hung up and leaves you out to dry. These are both problems that we would have liked to be cleaned up before the release of the game, but unfortunately are present in True Crimes.
Right from the get go of True Crimes you are provided with excellent looking cut scenes. The characters really look excellent during the cut scenes and even lip-synch the voice acting, which is quite impressive. Once you get out of the cut scenes the graphics are just about average. The character models in the game have some detail, but there really aren’t an overwhelming number of different models. The fighting animation is actually quite impressive, for a game that only uses fighting as only a portion of the game, it’s quite impressive how good the animation ends up being.
Overall True Crimes has some pretty impressive graphics and some things that really hold the graphics back. When you average the two sides out you will find that this is just an average looking title that does an average job of depicting the streets of LA.
True Crimes is one of those games that I immediately got into and really had trouble putting the game down to write this review. I really just enjoyed the game throughout. Although the game’s main missions can get repetitive, you can always take breaks by completing a bunch of random side missions. The game really does a lot of things that end up making the game quite a bit of fun.
With all of the hype and all of the questions regarding True Crimes, in the end it ends up being a fun and enjoyable game that I would recommend to anyone who has enjoyed the delights of GTA3. The game adds its own twists and turns, and even has some qualities that make this game have quite a bit more depth. If you need an action-packed fun ride, then I would definitely recommend True Crimes: Streets of LA.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.