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It’s absolutely inevitable that Midway and Surreal’s This is Vegas will be compared to the vistas of Rockstar’s GTA IV. And why wouldn’t it? GTA pioneered the sandbox format and will probably revolutionise it once again when the game arrives. Everything that has come since then and dabbles in the mechanics of open-world, sandbox-styled gameplay is likened to GTA. Unfairly or not. This is Vegas, however, is the complete opposite to GTA IV’s world. Hugely vibrant, massively detailed and insanely colourful, Vegas is a neon soaked open-worlder with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, a handful of change in its back pocket and a bottle of beer in the other ready for a night out on the lash in the world’s greatest party capital. Why someone hasn’t already thought of this is beyond us.
Rolling into the city on a cruddy bus with just fifty bucks nestled in your back pocket, you meet your old pal Joey Nissan and thus begins your zany story - a series of looney schemes and a battle with a ruddy great bastard by the name of Preston Boyer who wants to turn the naughty city of Vegas into a family-friendly place akin to an extra sugar-coated version of that horrible place they call Disneyland. Eh? So your mission is to put the ‘sin’ back in Sin City. And accept it you will as you party, gamble, fight, drive and party a little more in a dedicated effort to become the coolest cat in town.
Developer Surreal were last seen scaring the living bejesus out of us with their brilliant and bloody terror trips, The Suffering and its shit-the-bed sequel. Working from a pyramid scheme of sorts, studio head Alan Patmore explains to us how the dev team breaks down the game and wants players to be able to picture it.
The bottom tier is the open world, hyper-realistic aspect of the gameplay in a simulated Vegas (you won’t find real-life casinos here, rather alternate spins on classic gambling spots - more on that later) comprising combat missions, driving and ‘Gigs’ - side missions that earn you rep with the various Vegas factions.
The second tier is Vegas Style - classic Vegas set pieces - made up of those stories and crazy urban legends that have filtered down over the ages. Mix these up with gambling, a slew of customization options, plenty ‘wink wink, nudge nudge’ moments and you’ve got the second serving of ingredients. Top it all off with a huge lashing of partying including dancing, bouncing and party pick-ups - and you’ve got an idea of what Patmore and his crew are up to over the Emerald City.
This is going to be loud and proud gaming all the way and nobody is apologizing for the lewd or crude humour. And all of this is penned by the one-man gag machine, comedy scribe Jay Pinkerton, who headed up Cracked magazine and its hilarious website, as well as the National Lampoon website (he also has his own website) before moving to the world of games. Vegas is his maiden voyage. Expect a heady blend of tasteless gags, jock humour and machine-gunned one-liners guaranteed to poke fun at all the right (and wrong) targets.