Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure
Who Is Marc Ecko, and why are his contents under pressure when he gets up? Is this some bizarre game about relieving some Finnish guy's morning wood? No, turns out our Marc is a famous New York urban fashion designer-cum-entrepreneur, and this is his first foray into videogame sponsorship. First award: worst game title of the year so far.
Set in a near-future, oppressive New York, Getting Up plays you as a humble ghetto graf artist. You've got to increase your rep (man) by scrawling designs in conspicuous places while avoiding the fascistic riot police and kicking the hell out of rival turf gangs. Already banned in Australia for glorifying vandalism, it's an odd mix of martial arts, platforming and GTA-style street roaming, and as something a little different is commendable. The whole thing is slicker than a leaking super tanker, with flashy cut-scenes and a top-drawer hip-hop soundtrack featuring Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch.
However, seeing as the whole point is painting on walls, it's sad you don't get to draw your own designs - although New York covered with crude cocks and balls is not quite as dope as flashy street tags. Even worse, it's designed for console, so the mouse and keyboard controls are horrendous and the disparate gameplay elements don't add up to a whole hill of black-eyed beans. Or peas. So what about a game about relieving morning wood?
Download Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure
Beautiful, creative, and yet ultimately flawed, Getting Up isn't what I'd call a bad game, just a wounded one. It's organized into a simple mission system using some of the most beautiful UI I've ever seen. This is exactly the game that I would've thought could use the sandbox system perfectly. Breaking the game up into missions allows Getting Up to maintain a strong narrative, again quite beautifully, using cutscenes and other dramatic tricks. When you get into the heart of the gameplay, though, you'll find that there isn't much here to do. A little bit of hunting, some fighting, and boom, you're onto the next mission. Enjoyable? Yes, but with some reservations.
First, the fighting system, while it isn't perfect, works well. As you progress through the game you'll unlock a large number of extra moves that can help you fight, and although you can't easily fight multiple people, there's a stun move that can help in fighting just one opponent. As you go through the game, you'll also need to earn rep by spray painting your tags around the city, even if it means marking up someone else's hard painted tag. Naturally, this earns you enemies, requiring those fighting skills from earlier. When you spray paint, paste board, marker, or otherwise tag up your neighborhood, you'll usually need to do a very simple minigame to apply the graffiti, one that quickly loses its interest.
Graphically, this is a beautiful game. The Xbox is getting older in age, so naturally it doesn't quite seem to look as good as it used to, but the designers behind Getting Up knew exactly what they needed to do. This game proves the polish you see from a title that comes out five years after the release of a console. Your ears won't complain either, with well done voice acting and a good hip hop soundtrack.
With what I've said, one wonders what's really wrong with the game. Simply put, there just isn't enough here. The gameplay is simple enough to keep you moving through the story, platforming some puzzles and tagging a bunch of graffiti, but it seems to come down to a bunch of fairly simple levels that don't take much work to get through. You can get a nice nostalgic look at graffiti art, with numerous references to some of the legendary artists of the genre, and listen to some great hip-hop, but ultimately, this game isn't exactly the right stuff. It's good though, I'd definitely rent it.