True Crime: Hong Kong E3 Impressions

June 16, 2010 Written by Anthony Severino

The last True Crime game, True Crime: New York City was released was back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. So the series has yet to land on this generation of consoles. Now that is a true crime. Activision looks to pay their debt to society by releasing yet another installment.

Most open world games feature thugs as their lead role, which admittedly, allows for more fun scenarios in the storyline. True Crime, however, features Wei Shen, an undercover cop out to take down the Triads by any means necessary. This has Shen consistently crossing that fine line between good guy and bad guy. He’s gone undercover to infiltrate the Triad crime-syndicate and make the streets of Hong Kong a safer place.

As the title suggests, the game takes place in Hong Kong, which makes for an extremely varied canvas for you to paint with Triad blood. Hong Kong is rich in culture and features everything from markets teeming with activity, to quiet fishing villages, to a financial district with skyscrapers. The streets are filled with NPCs, and each one can be interacted with. Some will give you quick, one-liners, but many of them will give you useful information, or explain story elements.

Since you are an undercover cop, you’re constantly faced with tough decisions. How far will you go to keep your cover? Activision has introduced what they call the “faces” system, which gauges your morality and will ultimately affect how you are viewed by others. Doing the right thing nets a higher score, and will have more citizens willing to offer their assistance.

Although the game is primarily an open world game, there’s also a good deal of focus on “cinematic” driving scenes, such as car chases, and other heart pounding action sequences. Combat is the game’s shining feature as Wei Shen has some serious martial arts skills. He’ll also be able to grab and use weapons, grapple, and even use the environment to take down his foes. We witnessed one sequence atop a building where Shen grabbs a Triad and jams his face into a moving fan in an air conditioning unit. Gruesome.

To get a better feel for Hong Kong and the Triad reign of terror, United Front Games sat down with real-life Triads to get their take on crime. The team at United Front Games working on True Crime consists of talent from EA Blackbox, responsible for the Need for Speed series, along with some folks from Rockstar games, who of course are behind the open-world innovator, the Grand Theft Auto series.

The combination of compelling, cinematic storytelling, deep combat, and massive open world makes True Crime: Hong Kong a game to watch. True Crime: Hong Kong is pegged for a September release date.