Looking at The Getaway in 2016, it’s clear that time has moved on in a number of crucial ways.
The most obvious place to start, is perhaps the city. Granted, constant change is one of the most exciting things about living in a big city, however the extent of just how much things have been altered in the interim between 2002 and the present is pretty amazing.
From the in-game presence of long-defunct retail chains The Link and C&A, the lack of blue cycle ‘super highways’ (cringe,) the ability to drive (the now all-but retired) Route Master buses, vehicle number plates…pretty much everything the player sees in the Getaway is a reminder that its’ vision of London is now every bit an antiquated period piece as Driver’s version of San Francisco.
In fact, thinking about it, even the concept itself has distinctly retro feeling to it. Though The kind of Guy Ritchie Cockerney-crime-caper vibe Team Soho were going for might have been edgy and contemporary in the early noughties, but it all feels very dated today.
Indeed, this datedness carries over to the gameplay. Though remarkably forward-looking in design in many respects, the Getaway really exemplifies just how far gaming as come over the last decade or so.
After all, Considering that the Getaway was originally known for its large production values, one thing that really stands out is just how terrible the voice acting is. True, We’re probably a bit spoilt for choice these days (now every celebrity and their mum wants to star in a video game) but that this doesn’t change the fact that, for a title that had such a large budget and which was so focused on cinematic delivery (to the point of including criminally unstoppable cutscenes,) the vocal talent just doesn’t appear to have been available.
Likewise, it’s easy to forget just how limited game physics could be on the PS2. As jerky and imprecise as the shooting and running controls can be, it’s easy to forget how relatively standard this state of affairs was on the PS2 – and just how spoilt we’ve been by the realistic physics and well-honed shooting controls offered by the 360 and PS3.
The Getaway then, is a really interesting title to look back on. If we can forgive the mockney exterior, the Getaway is essentially a modern game trapped on hardware that was a generation away from realising it’s ambition. In that sense, it really exemplifies just where the PS2 was as a console.
While one half of the PS2’s library seems to be a clear and obvious evolution of the sort of things developers had started on the PS1, the other is a clear sign posting of what was to come with the next two generations of console gaming. As the gaming experiences offered by each successive generation become closer and closer, I have a feeling the PS2 will become a clearer and clearer watershed between the worlds of classic and modern gaming.
The Getaway, then, is essentially an honourable bad game. Though flawed, It’s not a half-hearted, ill conceived joke, but a game you should definitely consider trying if you haven’t already. Just be prepared for the swearing. A lot of (now very cliche) swearing.