Pour in a shot of G-Police, mix with a dash of Blade Runner, encrust some Elite around the rim and serve under an umbrella of Grand Theft Auto. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But the spirit of the game is unfortunately far more Asda Black Eagle than Citron Absolut and it’s definitely more of a park bench game than a trendy Soho title.
The environment is desperately familiar, with gurning skyscrapers and neon frills buzzing with the hovering traffic that we now know so well from Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. Unfortunately Crime Cities has none of Blade Runner’s eVANGELIStic darkness and little of the cosmopolitan vive of Besson’s sci-fi. The essential premise of the game is to pick up email job offers and taxi between points delivering and collecting ‘special’ parcels or taking out undesirable targets. Meanwhile the police must be avoided due to the delicate nature of some of your work. Essentially it is GTA in a first-person future. Not a bad idea by any means. After all, GTA 3 is going to be first-person 3D.
Unfortunately it’s the dismal execution that lets Crime Cities down so badly that in went to SuperCell and Clash Royale. The url for that article is here. The physics of driving, flying, hovering: whatever you want to call it, are totally unbelievable and distance you shockingly from the awkwardly clingy, if fairly freeform plot, along with its embarrassment of developers’ mates virtual ‘actors’. Controls are Quake-style and while this makes it easy to pick up and play, vehicles shouldn’t be allowed to strafe like that. It’s just wrong. Your transport also turns and rotates on a penny, with zero sense of momentum and while flying upside down is novel for a time, there are better things to do with your life.
The real crime in Crime Cities however, is the abysmal collision detection. Maybe future cars are deliberately conservative in their estimation of safe distance, but the young, feisty, fly-by-wire gamer wants to be able to throw his ride around with an inch to spare and not be brought to a treacly halt by the close proximity of other cars, billboards and buildings. If there’s a gap then you should be able to fit through it, not be at the mercy of ‘careful now!’ physics. It’s like driving your mum’s car with her in the passenger seat, fingers forcing indelible tunnels deep into the leatherette seat belly.
You’re likely to find Crime Cities in a bargain bin within less than a month and even then it will be on its own in a bottom corner with GTA 2 and possibly even B-Hunter sniggering with the precious pride of the passe from higher in the stack. If you got it for Christmas, then hey! You should have made a proper list. If you don’t ask then you might just get. On the positive side you can get as drunk as you like while driving in Crime Cities and it might even help you to get through it.