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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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PSEx: Unbelievably, we play The Getaway

The Getaway in action

Drawing perhaps the largest crowd in the PlayStation Experience today, The Getaway was available to play on an enormous collection of booths, and those privileged enough to get to the front of the assembled throng were able to try one of the most eagerly awaited PS2 games since... well, since we first heard about it three years ago. Yours truly was one of the privileged few [violent few, more like -Ed], and first impressions are that the game could quite possibly be everything we were expecting of it. The most glaringly obvious point that we have to make about The Getaway is how astoundingly gorgeous the whole thing looks. Present day London is modelled in incredibly anal detail, and has photo-based textures to match - it's a miracle that the PS2 manages to move it all around at any sort of pace, but we barely noticed any slowdown as we took to the streets on a high-speed chase. To top it all off, the draw distance is impressive with only a miniscule amount of fogging right in the distance. The game has no actual interface or HUD to speak of, which is apparently a design decision in order to lend the game its overwhelmingly filmic quality. Instead of a radar, your car's indicators merely blink in the direction you're supposed to be heading. Also, instead of a health bar, your character limps like a weak puppy and bleeds through his clothes until he takes enough bullets to finally drop to the floor. Cut-scenes begin and end each action segment, gently unravelling the tale, and are superbly acted and directed. The motion-captured characters interact with each other in the finest British gangster flick tradition, and level of extremely bad language in the script has justifiably earned the game an 18 certificate. Developers Team Soho seemed particularly proud of their achievement in making the game so starkly unpleasant and its resemblance to film and television favourites Snatch, Lock Stock and The Sweeney. The Getaway is sure to go down a storm with a public gagging for a new GTA-style title, or a game that injects some much needed gritty realism into the cartoon violence formula of GTA 3. While there are still quite a few rough edges to be tidied up, particularly in the cut-scene department and character models, The Getaway looks to be entirely deserving of our attention when it hits the shelves in a couple of months.