Developer – Mark Ecko and The Collective
Publisher - Atari
Mouse and Keyboard controlled
Tagging, rep, street cred, busting homies and keeping away from the Man. "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure" is about urban warfare on a different kind: one fought with spray cans and graffiti. You move around the inner sanctum of New Radius City (like a future New York) whose setting is set just far enough in the future so that riot police are around all the time and urban decay is rife. Your character, Trane, is from the inner city. Trane lives for graffiti and his goal to mar the city with spray paint while paper and pens evolve into the role of a freedom fighter and a rebel.
"Getting Up" is a 3-D fighter/acrobatics game where your character is supposed to swoop through the city while tagging as much as he can. You will find yourself attempting to tag daring targets for credit as well as tagging rival graffiti to lower their credit. All the time rivals will stand in your way and as you can't talk your way out of a fight you will have to learn how to use your fists.
This game is pretty strong in the looks department. The menus look great and mirror subway transit signs. The scenery is fantastic. Such things as climbing down vine covered walls yields a small cascade of leaves while worn concrete, dirt and rubble look almost photo realistic.
With your mouse you can move your camera view any which way, theoretically. In one early scene you have to jump from a pipe to a telephone pole but you can barely see the pole, so you have to literally take a leap of faith. If you can't climb via planter boxes; or try to land on the top of a barb wire fence; why would an obscured pole be the only way to go? I also found it weird that for the amount of detail that went into this game you can't seem to interact with a lot of it. It is things like this that take away from what could have been a great game.
The game features a lot of great music from Jane's Addiction, Nina Simone, Mobb Deep, Kasabian and others. You get an in-game iPod and as you play, you can load up songs that you find as bonuses. You can load up the in-game songs and play them as your own background music. Should you choose to do so this will wash out the ambient noise of sirens, cars and crimes in progress. As you do your moves, your character will huff and strain as body blows register. The nuances of the weapons (boards, baseball bats with glass bottles tied to the top) don't ring true however and I think they could have used more oomph. Regardless of whatever you choose to let through your speakers though the audio quality is great with really immersive stereo.
"Getting Up" feels like a fighter game with spray painting mechanics added in. For example, the left mouse button is for punching; the right is for kicking; the third one is for spray painting. Doesn't that scream "afterthought"? To the game's credit, there is some skill required to laying down paint (not like a Photoshop level though). Basically a ghost stencil sits on the wall you're about to tag and you move your character around to paint the wall. This means that you don't get control over your own design or the spray paint can you paint with. Taking this into account I found that you can't improvise, you can't spray paint a window to black it out and you can't hit someone in the face with a blast of spray paint. Spray paint should play a big role in a game about graffiti, but for some strange reason in "Getting Up" it does not play as much into the game as you might hope.
As I mentioned before, this game feels somewhat like a fighting game. In addition to kicks, punches and insults there are a bunch of weapons available too such as bats, planks of wood and glass bottles to name a few. None of them really push the envelope in terms of innovation and the entire number of weapons all boils down to the simple task of manual combat. Here you deliver a bunch of blows that don't seem to change your opponent's health bar. During this combat it seemed that all of a sudden, and without warning, you get a "Time to finish him" message and from there on out, each hit affects his health bar.
While the environment looks great, this is not an open world. Not much of the scenery is actually useable and the lack of interactivity is annoying. More and more you see open environments where you really wish you could turn every doorknob and kick every can. Something I found kind of strange was that you can climb up tin pipes but not flower boxes, you can kick, swing and punch, but you can't break a single pane of glass. And just when you think a lot of the scenery is untouchable you find pieces that really can carry an effect.
During my adventure I found that opponents had a real small sphere of attention. One opponent was waiting thirty feet away staring at my character, but he did nothing until I was almost right on top of him. In another scene, you're supposed to tag a police van in plain site of a bunch of riot cops. As long you don't walk up to the cops, you're safe. If nothing else, you would think a guy lurking the shadows with a bunch spray paint cans might pique the interest of all the people on the street being that if you can see them you would think that they can see you; but this just wasn't the case.
Overall the inconsistency of the interactivity of the world before you combined with some glaring AI problems keep this game earning a better score in this department.
Overall "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure" is like an urban version of Prince of Persia but with more emphasis on combat then tagging. If the developers had taken a page from the Tony Hawk series of skateboarding games and traded fight moves for acrobatic potential, this could have been great. As it is, "Getting Up" has some fun and holds a few surprises but may not be everyone's cup of tea.