The Getaway - PS2

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Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Adventure: Free Roaming
Combat Game
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Team Soho Soft. Co.: Team Soho
Publishers: Sony (US/JP)
Released: 19 Sept 2003 (GB)
11 Dec 2002 (GB)
Unknown (US/JP)
Ratings: BBFC 18, ESRB Mature 17+ (M)
Features: Vibration Function Compatible
Accessories: Memory Card


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The history of The Getaway is as chequered as that of an alcoholic chessboard. One of the most intriguing and controversial games of the PlayStation 2 era, it’s still hard to believe that it’s no longer just a myth and actually exists inside a DVD case.

The uproar started when the game was initially announced by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. A mix up between the development team, Team Soho, and Sony’s marketing department, saw doctored photographs of London masquerading as in-game screenshots. Once the proverbial egg had been removed from the faces of those involved, the real picture began to emerge as to what The Getaway might entail. The gaming world held its breath.

The core game is a mission-based driving game outing, set in central London. Gangster-orientated and with a vengeance-themed storyline, this is Driver on steroids and with millions of pounds poured into its development.

Instead of making a themed mock-up of the city, or a mapped quasi-Londonscape, Team Soho decided to truly recreate the capital in its entirety. A team of ten photographers was employed. This team walked the streets of London for two years, recording every street, every lamp-post, every shop, every detail. That’s a total of twenty man-years in photographing the game world alone; a simply unprecedented investment.

Sony reported that The Getaway cost around £7,000,000 to make. Estimates put the actual cost at closer to £15,000,000. And this point is what you really need to understand about The Getaway. It’s not like a normal game. It’s had a staggering amount of money devoted to it, a labour of love that serves as a thankyou to PlayStation 2 gamers, following what is likely to be an unrecoverable development spend.

The Getaway started out life as a simple PSOne tech demo, set in Piccadilly Square. A development team that largely cut its teeth at Psygnosis, Team Soho was so inspired by the Driver series, it decided to better it. It’s a shame that Grand Theft Auto 3 was released before The Getaway. GTA3 is detrimental to the genre and arguably owns a market share belonging to the Team Soho masterwork. Imagine a GTA game, devoid of the gratuitousness that made it unplayable to those possessing an emotional age of over 15, set in the most realistic game environment ever seen, and you’re on your way to understanding what The Getaway represents.

Incredibly, Sony has managed to license real cars for its crime-romp, complete with a full damage engine. Crashable Fiats, Vauxhalls and BMWs are available for your heist antics, without doubt a first for the industry.

We know as well as anyone that mission-based driving has been done to death. The massive success that was GTA3 and the arrival of its sequel, Vice City, pay Code Warrior-constructed homage to the genre. However, mission-based driving, conceived by Reflections’ Driver games, is now wholly owned by Team Soho’s The Getaway. Play it, and you’ll understand.

The release of this game is your reward as a PlayStation 2 gamer for battling though the dark days of slow, laboured and frankly poor development standards as seen in the first year of the machine’s life. It’s a gift, and is unlikely to be surpassed in the foreseeable future. Accept the gift and enjoy! You’ll wait a fair few Christmases before you get a £15 million present in your stocking.


The Getaway - PS2 Artwork

The Getaway - PS2 Artwork

The Getaway - PS2 Artwork