Activision gave us have some hands-on time with its upcoming True Crime: Streets of LA, the Luxoflux-developed free-form crime-stopping game, at E3 today. It was an early but quite functional build, and it demonstrated each of the game's dominant play styles. Like GTAIII and the upcoming Getaway from Sony, the game features a "living" world, cars to jack/commandeer, a loose mission structure, and a very hard edge. Rather than playing as a thug, though, Luxoflux's game puts you in the role of five-0; rather than causing crimes, you'll be stopping them, though rest assured you'll use extreme force on most occasions.
The game will consist of equal parts driving, fighting, and shooting. The driving portion that we got to play actually started out as a foot chase. A gangster that we'd eventually be duking it out with started to run down the streets, and our character gave chase. We trailed him for a while, shooting him in the back, until he went ahead and stole a car. We did the same and proceeded to give chase. The sequence took place in downtown Los Angeles, which is the section of the city that Luxoflux has decided to focus on re-creating. In all, the game's world will encompass 400 square miles of Los Angeles, including the entire downtown area and some of the area west of it, as well as some nearby beach areas. In any event, we trailed the bad guy down the city's wide streets and shot at him from our car all the way--you can actually do that with your hand extending out the window. The driving mechanics feel a bit early at this point, with very wide turns and some hasty stops, but there's sufficient time to iron them out.
The second sequence consisted of hand-to-hand combat. It took place in a bar, and our sparring partner was the same thug whom we'd later chase down the street and shoot at. The fighting mechanics were relatively simplistic--you get a punch, kick, and a jump kick at your disposal, and the combo action seemed limited--but the destructible nature of everything in the bar was quite impressive. Slamming our opponent on pinball machines and arcade cabinets made them crack and shatter. Tables likewise split in two upon impact, and barstools bend. It made the whole thing feel very dynamic and made up for any sort of shallowness that the fighting system displayed up to that point.
We weren't allowed to play through the final sequence, but it was demonstrated to us. It was a tense firefight that did much to showcase the character's move set. If you've seen any footage of Dead to Rights, then you'll know what to expect; you can pull all sorts of dives, in any direction, and shoot your guns while doing so. It's an evasive maneuver first and foremost, but it's also very dramatic to witness.
True Crime still has a good while left in its development cycle, since it's not due out till the first quarter of next year, so Luxoflux certainly has sufficient time to iron out whatever bugs it has and flesh out its less-robust elements. We'll have more on it as soon as it's available.