The Getaway: Black Monday
The Getaway: Black Monday is in the middle of an identity crisis. On one hand, it's a game that desperately doesn't want to be a game: it wants to be a cinematic experience. On the other hand, you can't ignore that The Getaway: Black Monday is, in fact, a game; a sloppy and uninspired game, yes, but a game nonetheless.
The Getaway: Black Monday is the PlayStation 2 version of the Guy Ritchie film Snatch: it tries to be hip, cool, and most of all, British. Snatch succeeded in these ways, Black Monday does not. While it does try for refined cinematic storytelling, Black Monday doesn't have a strong story to back it up, nor is it told too well. With three different characters to control, the narrative is often tossed around, convoluting the plot to the point of incomprehensibility; in fact, it's even hard to say just how all three characters relate to each other in the story.
Another huge issue is that, to the untrained ear, the cockney accent of all the characters in Black Monday along with their foreign slang makes it hard to keep up with what's going on. The voice-acting is perfectly believable, yes, but it might be best if you have a good understanding of what bollocks means before going into Black Monday.
However, Black Monday's biggest fault is that it tries to expand upon the original Getaway without fixing the original problems that plagued it; and there was a long laundry list of issues with The Getaway. First among them: the camera. A lot of the action in Black Monday takes place in tight, cramped corridors, but the camera doesn't facilitate to these situations; frustration often ensues. And like its predecessor, to achieve the lofty goal of making Black Monday a cinematic experience, a lot of modern gaming conventions are thrown out the window: no visual display for your health or ammo and no in-game mini-map for driving the streets of London. Instead, you have to rely on verbal or visual clues, like how much your character is bleeding to judge what his health is at, or listening to your character for when he's low on ammo. It's a novel concept, but it doesn't make the game any more convenient, immersive, or, most importantly, fun.
The negatives aside, Black Monday is still a decent amount of fun: it's engaging enough to keep you interested for a complete play through, and the newly added and diversified gameplay elements keep the game fresh. It's just that The Getaway: Black Monday is no better and no worse than the original, and for a sequel, that's a crippling issue. Fans of The Getaway be wary before taking the $50.00 plunge.