True Crime: New York City

True Crime: New York City is what you’d call inspired. There’s a large, free roaming city rife with interaction, cars calling to be driven, on-foot action deep within the seedy criminal underworld, a slew of adult themed material, a few favorite four-lettered words… well, I’m sure you’ve conjured up an image in your head.

Yes, the parallels between the Grand Theft Auto series and True Crime: New York City are pretty obvious, but where Grand Theft Auto excels, True Crime: New York City mostly fails. The driving portions, for example, just aren’t much fun and the blame can be placed pretty exclusively on the sluggish controls. Sleek, sexy sports cars shouldn’t drive like a dump truck, and likewise, when you’re driving that sleek little car, nudging another car shouldn’t drop your speed to zero. In addition, the flat landscapes of New York just aren’t all that fun to drive around since there’s no variation in geography; no big jumps means monotony sets in far too soon while driving.

On foot, things fare a bit better since the manual targeting system is sharp enough to leave you with few frustrations and plenty of dead bodies in your wake -- it’s just a shame that so much of the body county is racked up due to the brain dead AI that’ll have enemies casually standing around during fire fights.

The mostly on foot missions are interesting enough, if not for the aforementioned faults. Most of them play out as elaborate shoot outs that lead to a boss character of sorts. That may sound a bit monotonous, but the many side missions throughout the game, where you’ll be doing all the standard cop routines with a certain flare, help break all that up. Plus, the progression setup in the game, allowing you to play out the role of a cop in a stand-up or dastardly manner, makes working through the game compelling in spite of the game’s many problems.

And, if nothing else, at least the game looks pretty most of the time. Like True Crime: Streets of L.A., True Crime: New York City re-creates the entirety of New York, down to the most minute detail. It’s a neat and ambitious aspect of the title, but it does seem to hamper down the framerate quite a bit even with the heavy doses of pop-up that occur throughout the title.

True Crime: New York City is entertaining throughout, but rarely exceptional. If you have a hankerin’ for cleanin’ up the mean streets of New York, then have at it; there’s plenty to see and do throughout the title. It’s no Grand Theft Auto, though, and if you’re expecting as much, you’re in for disappointment on a grand scale.