Grand Theft Imitation: True Crime: New York City.
(AfroGamers.com) In the early 2000s, Southern hip-hop had a boom period after years of being overlooked by fans. Also having a boom was the midwest scene. It was a great time to be a hip-hop fan with film, TV, and games being soaked in hip-hop music and culture.
This brings us to an ignored title of the early 2000s: True Crime: New York City. I use “ignored” and not “forgotten” because when it was released, it didn’t have a great reception and most people chose to ignore its existence. Scarface: The World is Yours is a forgotten game—and overlooked game, even. True Crime: NYC is far from that.
Oh, people definitely remember the game. If you were to ask anyone who played those early open world games on console, they might mention the first in the series—True Crime: Streets of L.A–in the same breath as GTA: Vice City, San Andreas, and Spider-Man 2. No one brings up True Crime: NYC fondly.
But why is that? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Coast to Coast
In 2003, the first entry in the series, True Crime: Streets of L.A, was released for the PlayStation 2. Oh, it was also released for Xbox, PC, and GameCube. It was well-received for its excellent map, the events that occurred while out for patrol or doing the story and the soundtrack.
Streets of L.A was mildly different from Vice City in execution but it had that something extra in the way of a good cop/dirty cop mechanic. You could respond to crimes, let them drop, or handle them horribly.
It’s important to note that graphically, this game did not hold up well. Like Vice City, San Andreas, and GTA III, this is definitely a 2000s PlayStation 2 game visually. Also, while the streets are accurately recreated, they’re not as lively as they are in the OG GTA games from the period. Actually, this Los Angeles comes off as downright sparse.
True Crime: New York City
Jump ahead to 2005 and we have another True Crime game. Graphically, this one was better but still had some bad issues. It’s a shame because when I first read that this game was being released in IGN, I was excited.
Vice City had sold me 100-percent on open world games and I had played Streets of L.A. At the time I found it enjoyable enough but felt it was missing something. Seeing the features and screenshots of NYC, it felt as though this one would get it right.
On paper, the mechanics looked great. It seemed as though you’d have tons to do in addition to the main storyline mission. Also, NYC looked livelier than Streets of L.A.
That’s called getting your expectations up. It’s something I should’ve left in 2004. In my initial play of the game I was in the middle on it. It didn’t wow me but I wasn’t entirely disappointed.
After playing the game years later and knowing not to be wowed by everything it becomes evident that this game was never going to hold up. You’ll get stuck in places constantly, some buildings had nothing going on and weren’t worth running into to begin with, and combat didn’t present a challenge. You just mowed people down.
Now, I’m not a huge graphics snob. If it fits the atmosphere, story, and action—great. The graphics in this game where better than the original but still came off as “meh.” Then the “meh” dial was cranked up even further when you mix in everything else that was uneventful and didn’t really get you excited to play more.
There was no “make or…” here, it was just “break.” This game achieved ground breaking innovations in just being broken and unenjoyable. The only good thing that came out of NYC ending the True Crime series is that we would get Sleeping Dogs years later which was supposed to be True Crime: Hong Kong.
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Vanguard Award in Mediocre)
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.