Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Hands-On

We finally get our dirty mitts on the upcoming graffiti-tinged action game from The Collective and fashion mogul Marc Ecko.

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Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure
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Much ballyhoo has been made about Marc Ecko's first foray into game design, the urban themed, graffiti-driven action game Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. After all, it's not every day one of the country's top fashion moguls puts the other pieces of his empire on the back burner in order to take a lead role in designing a video game. We were fortunate to get our own hands on Getting Up at a recent Atari press event, and we're happy to report that it looks like Ecko (and those talented lads at The Collective) do indeed seem to know what they're doing here.

Getting Up will cast you as Trane, an up-and-coming graffiti artist kicking it in the beleaguered near-future city of New Radius. As Trane works up his notoriety, the threats to his rep--and his neck--will be twofold. On the one hand, he'll have to watch out for the city's oppressive government, the policies of which are made by a corrupt mayor and enforced by the gestapo-like Civil Conduct Keepers. On the other, Trane will be faced with a rival gang, the Vandals of New Radius, who'd just as soon stomp his face as say hello. You'll have to avoid the agents of both the city's CCK and the Vandals as you complete mission after mission, tagging the most prominent spots of New Radius and climbing up the ladder of fame in the city.

We got to see a section of gameplay taken from the game's introductory sequence, in which Trane's testy grandma throws him out of her house into the midst of a riot currently engulfing the city. In this first section, Trane was wearing regular street clothes different from the urban uniform he'll sport throughout the game. More importantly, the sequence made an effort to introduce the player to the game's basic mechanics for navigating the environment, laying down graffiti, and contending with anybody who'd want to stop your shenanigans.

Exploring, tagging, and fighting make up the gameplay in Getting Up.
Exploring, tagging, and fighting make up the gameplay in Getting Up.

From what we've seen of Getting Up so far, you could break the gameplay down into three distinct parts: gymnastic navigation of the cityscape (ala Prince of Persia); the actual application of graffiti to the relevant spots; and a fairly robust beat-'em-up combat engine. Each area will contain required and optional tags that you'll have to fill in, which are denoted by an "intuition" system that shows you where in the environment you need to go. Then it's just a matter of getting there, which will often have you going up as much as over. You'll be able to shimmy your way up pipes and phone poles, sidle along narrow ledges, and generally climb and leap all over the place to get where you're going, which has a puzzle-like feel to it and seems like it'll make up a significant part of the gameplay.

The actual spray-painting is easy enough to get a handle on, though you'll need some finesse to really do it right. Essentially, you'll hold down the spray button and move the analog stick to keep Trane tagging. But if you don't move the stick smoothly, then you'll spray too long or you'll go over an area too much. Basically, if you don't do things perfectly, you'll drip your paint and impact the reputation you'll garner by spreading your tags over the whole city. It only takes a few seconds to plant a new piece, but if you don't do it right, you'll pay the price over the long run.

The game won't be all exploring and spraying, though--sometimes you'll have to fight. From what we've played, it seems as though the combat system in Getting Up has a good amount of depth to it. If you can catch enemies unaware, you can slink around in stealth mode, sneak up behind them, and perform a one-hit kill with the relevant button combo. If you have to engage enemies in open fisticuffs, you'll be able to chain regular and special attacks together to create a variety of combos. You'll also have a dodge move that you can use to quickly roll out of the way, and you can even perform flashy insult moves if you catch an enemy in a hold. We found we were able to realistically fight off a couple of enemies at once, though if anymore joined the mix, we were pretty well done for. Luckily, you'll be able to find plenty of weapons in the environment to temporarily make combat a little more fair.

You'll pick up new fighting moves and new art as your reputation grows as a New Radius rapscallion.
You'll pick up new fighting moves and new art as your reputation grows as a New Radius rapscallion.

Getting Up seems like it'll dole out lots of gameplay enhancements as you progress through the game, completing required missions and optional goals alike. As your reputation goes up, you'll gain new stealth, insult, and kill moves, and more importantly, you'll get access to more-complex art that you can use in your tagging. And of course, you'll also reveal more of the game's storyline, which was recently revealed will be voiced by such luminaries as P. Diddy, Talib Kweli, George Hamilton, and Adam West. Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is due out later this fall.

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