Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I think of Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was one of those games that got banned in Australia. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about so I downloaded a copy and set it up on my PC.

Straight off the bat the game takes ages to load. This is especially bad at the beginning when there is a loading screen between each cutscene and the very short tutorial levels. I found what worked is while the game loaded I fired up my psp and played Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and played that till it was finished loading. Once the game starts it is actually really good.

The short tutorials are very detailed and really help you pick up the game quick. But each level is actually quite big. The game is linear by design but each level is very open and allows you do do and go as you please for the most part. It still pushes you through the level but how you do that is up to you. You can run through them really quick if you want or you can take your time and do the side missions. Side missions will unlock things like concept art and a fight club feature which works more or less like street fighter but without the insane combos and super moves.

The story (which is written by Marc Ecko) revolves around a graffiti artist who calls himself Trane. Trane lives in the city of New Radius which is really Orwellian type city with cameras at every street corner along with a violent and oppressive Police force. It is up to Trane to bring down this oppressive regime and restore order to New Radius by means of graffiti on every available surface. I mean the story is really cheap but it is better than some FPS games out on the market *cough* Black Ops *cough*  and does have a plot that you can follow. The language in it is all graffiti slang but is not that hard to pick up and a quick google search will fill you in on anything you don't understand.

The gameplay is unique but that's because it has a real graffiti focus. Yeah Jet Set Radio had it too but that was really more of a sports game like Tony Hawk on roller-blades. Marc Ecko's Getting up allows you to organize your blackbook (the sketchbook a graffiti artist uses to practice in) and decide which of a set of up to four 'Pieces' (The artwork a graffiti artist paints on the wall) you wish to use in that level. There is very little ability to customize, all you can do is change the color of them from a set of preset colors. An ability to make custom pieces would be nice but I can see why it is not in it. What I like is how you apply these pieces. It is a minigame and you have to move your characters hand over the surface and spray your paint and fill in the predetermined area. All the while looking out for security cameras, police, rival gang members and normal people who will call the cops if they catch you in the act. Although at first I thought it would be really repetitive the game challenges you in other ways.In order to even do the minigame you first have to reach the bit of wall you want to spray and this means you have to climb buildings, fight rival gang members and avoid being detected by police just to get there. Spraying your piece is a reward for getting there and I it keeps what is a repetitive task fresh and different.

If you are a fan of hip-hop then you're gonna love the soundtrack. Before each level you can fiddle with the music ad just listen to it if you want but I have not discovered a way to do this in game nor have I bothered the gameplay is that good. However not all the tracks are unlocked. In order to get all the tracks you have to find ipods in the game and each one you collect will unlock another song. This really annoys me because it has nothing to do with the game itself. Its just busywork to increase the games playtime. If you can't be bothered you will then miss out on two thirds of the games music. Then again if you a real full on hip-hop fan you will have most of it in your music collection so don't bother.

Given that the game was made in 2006 the graphics are quite good. I've found a few glitches but nothing major, mostly problems with the collision engine where stuff will go through other stuff. The levels feel lived in and the graffiti doesn't look like it was painted ten seconds ago. Some looks like it has been there for years while some of it looks new showing that the graffiti culture in New Radius is alive and kicking.

All in all the game is really good and worth getting you're hands on. I can see why it was banned in Australia what with the whole glorification of graffiti theme but honestly I've seen games which have made classification that are far worse.

I'd give it a 7 out of 10.

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