True Crime: Streets of LA

Review

posted 11/19/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Activision has been off the mark lately when it comes to 3rd person brawlers. X2 was average at best while Blade II and Minority Report were just downright awful. Now the company that gave us Tenchu delivers True Crime: Streets of LA, but is it the company’s return to glory? Or is Activision just continuing on its downward spiral? I’d say that the company is back on the right track and is only a few steps away from greatness.

If you’re a man who loves his action movies then you’ll immediately fall in love with True Crime. Phrases like “loose cannon,” “you’re off the force,” “who’s the suit” and “I’ll have your badge for this!” are used liberally with reckless abandon. Hell the storyline itself reads like the first chapter in the How To book for directing a Hollywood action movie. You assume the role of Nick Kang, a bad-ass who was thrown off the force for your renegade ways. Kang’s a good cop so he’s been recruited to join the EOD, a law enforcement agency that functions similarly to the LAPD. You’ll have run-ins with the Triads and the Russians as you try to figure out what happened to your father. Along the way your brother will get kidnapped, you’ll insult your female partner and spout clichés as you reel them bad boys in.

Some may comment that the storyline is pretty weak but as a full-blooded male I wholeheartedly welcome this clichéd script. It’s entertaining, it’s funny and best of all, every man out there can fully relate to Kang. Seriously, what guy hasn’t dreamt about beating the hell out of a perp and then singing “you fought the law and the law won?” as he's laying there on the ground? He’s the embodiment of every male out there and not since Arnold’s performance in Commando has the role of badass been so well played. Sure, he tends to go overboard at times, such as an instance where he chops off a sleeping butcher’s finger, but if you ask me that’s the sign of any good action hero. Just when you think he’s finished he’s like “oh you want more? Here’s more for you! That’s right, I went there!”

In addition to featuring a lighthearted script the game’s story unfolds in highly cinematic fashion as well. With the vocal talents of Christopher Walken, Michelle Rodriguez and Gary Oldman leading the way it’s not hard to see why this game has a decidedly big screen feel to it. The story is told in a set of engine rendered cutscenes which are very well done. All of the Hollywood tricks are used here and the way that the characters act, enunciate and posture makes it feel like you’re watching a movie. All of them are very entertaining to watch, not only because you get to watch Kang exude more of his badassness, but also because they tell the story in a highly enjoyable and entertaining manner.

If branching storylines are your thing then you’ll love the mission structure of True Crime. Essentially the game is divided up into eight different chapters, all of which have about eight episodes apiece. How the story unfolds depends on how well you perform in the missions. Let’s say you fail one of the missions, you can either retry the mission until you pass it or opt to bypass it and continue the story where you’ll have to partake in an alternate mission. The alternate will reveal a different facet of the storyline and at times, it’s almost worth failing a mission just to see what transpires.
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