If we were to judge this based entirely on the opening city fly-by, we might say it was one of the most impressive DS games we%26rsquo;ve ever seen. Streets, cars, skyscrapers and pedestrians in a bustling 3D rendering of New York, powered at a super-smooth frame rate by a humble handheld console. Amazing, we might say. We%26rsquo;re going to have some serious fun here!
Unfortunately we%26rsquo;re obliged to dig a little deeper, and we swiftly discover that beyond the slick attract mode lies a stunningly inept GTA clone.
Almost everything about it stinks %26ndash; even the graphics, after you%26rsquo;ve looked closer and realised those aren%26rsquo;t cars on the busy road but weird little pyramid things that only become recognisable vehicles when they%26rsquo;re a few metres away. The lead character runs like he%26rsquo;s crapped his pants. The godawful animation system can%26rsquo;t even cope with showing him getting into a vehicle, and instead just warps him directly inside.
Pedestrians warp inside your car as well. If you drive along the sidewalk they just pass straight through. You can%26rsquo;t shoot them and you can%26rsquo;t interact with them in any way other than to make them yell at you. There%26rsquo;s one voice sample for men and one for women.
The cars drive like they%26rsquo;re on ice, and at such high speed that you probably won%26rsquo;t see the unbreakable barriers in the road until you get stuck on them. Your bloke can%26rsquo;t even step over a knee-high fence, a problem we could attribute to his aforementioned trouser disaster.
Go into the over-the-shoulder aiming mode and things take a turn for the worse. Locating targets among the murky backdrops and behind the large targeting cursor is tricky. You can%26rsquo;t tell if you were hitting an enemy until he vanishes.
If you think things can%26rsquo;t get any shoddier, try calling up the PDA thing that stores maps, mission objectives and so on. It%26rsquo;s an utterly diabolical creation that requires loads of counter-intuitive back and forth between screens.
For example, after you catch a criminal by bumping into his car three times you have to call the local cops to arrest him. Check the map screen for the nearest police station. Find the station%26rsquo;s name on another screen. Memorise its phone number. Dial it on yet another screen%26hellip; Wow. Impressively awful.
Nov 20, 2009