Well we are all by now aware of how popular gang related videogames are. This is mostly down to Rockstar’s superb GTA series and the hundreds of less impressive spin-offs it spawned.
It's also down to our deep fascination with gangs and gangland culture, from the Sicilian Mafia family of the Godfather movies (and forthcoming EA game) to the 19th Century Irish Gangs of New York and the very English fascination with East End gangland characters such as the Kray twins and Michael Caine’s Jack Carter, in SPOnG’s all time favourite UK gangster flick, Get Carter.
So knowing all too well the public’s craving for all things gangland, Sony has cannily just announced a new gangbusting PSP title called, not so imaginatively, Gangs of London. It’s basically The Getaway for PSP.
Gangs of London is being developed by SCEE's own London Studio, and is described as an “all-new spin-off title” taking the setting and criminal themes of the Getaway franchise and mixing em up to produce a “whole new handheld gang warfare experience”.
In the game you play as one of five gangs and, according to Sony’s release, “you have to use brains and brawn to overcome the rival criminal factions and gain control of the city's underworld”.
If you are growing tired of life as a decent tax-paying, law-abiding Londoner (or wherever you should dwell) then this could well be the handheld gangster game you’ve been waiting for. In a nod to the multi-ethnic nature of today’s criminal underbelly in the capital, a cancer slowly eating away at the heart and soul of a once great city, the game gives you the opportunity to “become the guv'nor of the Cockney, Triad, Yardie, Russian or Pakistani gangs and take on the capital over a number of unique and challenging game modes.”
There are times when SPOnG would rather be Taxi Driver and get a chance to blow this scum off the streets. But then that would be a different game entirely. Called Taxi Driver.
So, back to Gangs of London, you put together a gang of ne’er do wells and set out in your quest to become London’s Mr Big. The core game is an action, mission-based game with each mission being connected by a graphic-novel style narrative. You control a team of gangsters who race and drive and shoot their way around 60 missions. What’s more, you can ‘hot-swap’ between different characters in real-time, issue commands to other gang members and replay the missions from different gang’s perspectives. Plenty there then to keep even the laziest gangster busy.
There is also a secondary turn-based strategy game, called 'Gang Battle' – supposedly a cross between a board game and poker – where you play on an interactive map on which you must commit your criminal forces to attack or defend patches of London
Taking on up to four other gamers on a single PSP (or against the PSP’s AI) your moves in Gang Battle are made blind and players' hitherto secret actions unfold simultaneously at the end of each turn, with scope for poker-style bluffing as you scheme your way to becoming Mr Big.
There's also a ton of other options and mini-games including ‘Free Roaming’, which is pretty much self-explanatory; ‘Tourist Mode’, where you get to play a big blobby ‘Mercan Tourist complete with massive camera taking pics of London tourist attractions; plus a Taxi Driving mode – where you get to try out a portable take on the Knowledge.
Perhaps you could be a psychotic taxi driver on a criminal-killing spree after all! We’ll just have to wait and see when the game comes out sometime 'later this year' according to the annoyingly-vague release.
And there's more, including a load of mini pub games on offer such as darts, pool and skittles. Cool, we think. Although we also think we have these games on our mobile phones and will never play them on those either.