True Crime First Look

The third game in this sandbox action series has you exploring Hong Kong as an undercover cop.

If you're the type of person who enjoys video games as a form of escapism, then you may have found the first entry in Activision's True Crime series a bit of a head-scratcher. Of all places, the game was set in Los Angeles--otherwise known as the most frequent butt of jokes about traffic jams and endless urban sprawl. While the game itself proved to be a fairly entertaining action romp, it's hard to deny that the setting could have been a tad more exotic. It's a different situation, however, for the upcoming True Crime reboot from United Front Games. Set in the vibrant metropolis of Hong Kong, the next True Crime--this one free of subtitles--has you taking on the role of an undercover cop attempting to infiltrate the notorious Triads that plague this dense and colorful city.

Please do not aim that gun there.

When it comes to open-world action games like this one, the city itself can be just as important as any member of the cast. While we weren't able to play the game and thus explore the city at our own leisure, it seems that based purely on the visuals True Crime's version of Hong Kong has got character to spare. The outdoor nighttime environments are flush with color, with paper lanterns strewn between buildings and a rainbow of neon lights on every building. Other environments in the game include windy hills leading up to scenic overlooks and large stretches of water connecting the city's various islands.

True Crime will offer up the familiar trio of driving, gun combat, and melee fighting that other games in the sandbox action genre are built around. What looks to set True Crime apart from others, though, is the stylish way those actions are carried across on the screen. United Front is aiming to make True Crime feel a lot like a slick Hong Kong action movie, as the 2002 thriller Infernal Affairs was a frequent point of comparison when we spoke with the development staff.

The melee stuff is what grabbed us the most. The game's main character, Wei Shen, is clearly a man who knows a few things about martial arts. As he went about his mission trying to infiltrate a warehouse in the industrial area of town, the hand-to-hand skills he used to dispatch enemies were the highlight of the show. There was a lot going on, including grapples, counters, and reversals. All those rapid-fire movements were animated fairly well and the combat moved at a fast clip. With sweeping leg attacks, as well as the ability to quickly run and vault over objects, Shen was able to keep blazing through the mission without having to get his hands too dirty.

The way environments fit into melee combat grabbed our attention as well. These location-contextual attacks are pretty brutal, including the ability to slam someone's head in a refrigerator door and throw a guy into a dumpster mid-grapple then push him into an electrified circuit breaker. Handheld weapons are vicious, too. At one point, we saw Shen snatch a meat cleaver from an enemy's hands and deftly wield it like a dagger before plunging it into someone's chest. A moment later, he stole the gun from another enemy and quickly spun him around to shoot the back of his knee in one quick motion.

The motorcycle is the official vehicle of the undercover cop.

Once you transition into full-blown gun combat, True Crime begins to look a bit more ordinary. Everything is in there that you'd expect: a cover system, explosive barrels, and a good selection of black-market weaponry. But compared to the melee fighting, there doesn't seem to be anything terribly unique about the shooting aspects of the game. Then again, we didn't get to see a whole lot of gun play, and according to United Front, there's a somewhat unique nonlethal targeting system that lets you aim for limbs in order to take out enemies without killing them. While we didn't get to see that part, the promise of this seems like an interesting way to explore Shen's status as an undercover cop stuck in a morally ambiguous situation.

Finally, there's an entire city's worth of vehicles for the taking. Among other options, you can plow through cramped markets in SUVs or zip around the crowded streets and alleys on nimble motorcycles. But it doesn't seem like the selection of vehicles is the eye-catching part so much as what you can do with them. Our demo ended with a bizarre and improbable motorcycle feat: Shen sped up behind a quickly moving car then effortlessly leapt from the motorcycle to the fast-moving sedan as if it were nothing. When you combine that with the slick melee system, you've got a pretty good idea of the stylized gameplay that United Front is aiming to deliver. How it all comes together is something we should have a better idea about as we get closer to True Crime's fall 2010 release date.

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Discussion

83 comments
discusthrower
discusthrower

this all sounds awesome, i just hope theres hot cars and an option to change your appearence...boom

nergalman
nergalman

whats with the flurry of asian themed games?!

ELICBELICBOOM
ELICBELICBOOM

looks good I have the 2 others and I like the idea

nathace
nathace

lets hope it dosent have dragons a zombies in it

Arkady_16
Arkady_16

Definately gonna keep a eye out on its progress, I like the idea of being a asian undercover cop.

cmoore4418
cmoore4418

If this game even has a chance of being good then the developers better be reworking all of the controls from the ground up. Keeping similar controls of the past True Crime games would be a disaster for sure. After playing most of the recent games in this genre and hearing that they were developing a new True Crime game, I was curious and tried playing the old ps2 True Crime games again. The controls were very sluggish and unresponsive to say the least. I don't remember them being so horrible back in the days, but hopefully they will go with a more modern control scheme for the on foot action as well as the vehicles.

PenthiusX
PenthiusX

Strolling through a hustling city ....... the trail runs cold ....*stumble* enters meat shop, ......... ...... PIGS ! hanging upside down striped of there skin head to hoof .... *still strolling -holding breath cause the place smells funky * ....and then ..... man comes running ! Wielding cleaver ! crying out "AYyyYEeeEYAAaaAAHHh !! i shoot gun , bullet hits ear ... and i wake up( '~_0)... Wier...d!! i dunno y but the game reminds me of this dream i had a day before....i read this *SERIOUS* ( '=__=)

dakan45
dakan45

For the oc too? Great. finally a gta like game taking place in an asian enviroment. What? I am a fan of john woo movies and games like stranglehold.

HyperActiveFrea
HyperActiveFrea

YEAH HKKKKKKKKK. I was born there. Definitely gunna check this out.

FOBlO
FOBlO

GTA is just going to be another game in the states, i've never been to hong kong so curious how it will look in the game. WHy everybody so pessimistic about the game? is it because the protagonist is asian. The hand to hand combat, the ability to steal cars while in motion, and you can be a good cop sets the game apart from gta. THe only part that resembles gta is the free roam other than that it's not even a copycat.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

looks like another GTA copycat. still could be good though, but i think i will wait for the next GTA.

Tacoholic23
Tacoholic23

LOL true crime was made first on the ps2 ominous

violenus
violenus

I agree with AOldDog. These screens look great though

PublicNuisance
PublicNuisance

Hopefully they can get back to the roots of the original. New York was a horrible sequel and a horrible game.

Plisken1
Plisken1

those guys are at point blank range, theres no missing that close

AOldDog
AOldDog

I loved the feel the first one give you, the second was bad all-around and felt kinda rushed, i hope this will rock, because if it doesn't the series will probably die with it.

PixelBully
PixelBully

first one was good cause you could go around and harrass people and do searches. second one would have been good if it wasn't for the fact it is still one of the most glitched up games i have ever played. this one...meh.. its nothing new, i have a whole whack of games like this already. All i see is emphasis on melee. all mashed potatoes but no real steak to go with it. ill wait for a review but i think it'll be a pass.

Booner17
Booner17

True Crime (I owned for GCube) was an O.K. game... This one looks just as cheesy though.. The graphics are all "polished" looking.. I doubt I get this one.

Alex_09
Alex_09

I'll get it if it's not like New York.

notorious98
notorious98

Honestly, the only thing similar to GTA is the sandbox style of play. Outside of that, True Crime has a different way of doing things. I liked LA, despite the weird plot turn it took (Big Trouble in Little China, anyone?). I thought that NY was terrible. So I'll wait to see how HK turns out. Triad mafia has mostly been ignored in video games so far. There's a lot of rich history/tradition to draw from.

483paul
483paul

Beat the first one, passed on second. Will pass on this too unless it gets great reviews

solidfish30
solidfish30

I liked the first two, so hopefully this will be good.

gwailo2470
gwailo2470

I actually really liked the fact the first one was in LA. It was cool to drive around and see familiar places. But Hong Kong is an awesome setting for a game of this sort, so many triad movies to draw on!

solidniko
solidniko

gta in hong kong? im want this

FOBlO
FOBlO

Well since gta hasnt made a game based on an Asian city, I'll have to look into this.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

I'm not into GTA clones, but Hong Kong sounds like a great setting

Darkkend
Darkkend

I would buy this, the first one was sick and so was the soundtrack

MrKyleKatarn
MrKyleKatarn

Hong Kong is a bad ass city, that place is a merchandise heaven but also a bootleggers dream. I didn't play the second one but I sure did play the first one, I even unlocked that trifling pot smoker snoop dogg. That task wasn't worth it but I did it anyway.

MrKyleKatarn
MrKyleKatarn

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

coldsauce09
coldsauce09

awesome its about time for some asian bada$$ game.

Cillerboy
Cillerboy

i thought nick kang was pretty cool

code305
code305

I thought the first 2 were great and i hope they stay to the TC roots.

Mrod1212
Mrod1212

Awesome, though I was expecting Nick Kang.

bossmon19
bossmon19

cool better have multiplayer and a mode like free mode

otanikun
otanikun

The first two games were great I thought, emulated GTA way too damn much though but it was entertaining at least, I hope this game lives up to my expectations since it's been so long.

secretgamer666
secretgamer666

i never played the 1st 2 games, i hear they are bad. however i am very interested to see these brutal aspects of combat into a breath taking city, so I will definetly play this one to see how it turns out

eagles_band
eagles_band

This game looks like it will be terrible.

TzarStefan
TzarStefan

@Killip. I agree, horrible game is horrible

Ryu667
Ryu667

Atleast its an sandbox city we never had before, and i have to say i am sick and tired of NYC, It might be a interesting place to live, but i like HongKong 10x more.

killip
killip

Urgh, why did they have to dig this back up? The first two were bad enough.

killip
killip

Urgh, why did they have to dig this back up? The first two were bad enough.

SithChampion
SithChampion

Wow I haven't played True Crime for years. I'm glad they're bringing it back. I bet it'll be a good game.

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

I liked Infernal Affairs =] haha As a Hong Kong person... the environments look much like HK as well so i'm going to get it... FOR SURE if it looks this good and intruiges me this much till release

maawal
maawal

hahaha... the comment on the first screenshot of this page is HILARIOUS !! hahaha :P