|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Steel Monkeys||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TBA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by James Ruffin
June 5, 2007 - If I were to ask you to contemplate the word "detail," with what sorts of images and words would your mind begin to wrestle? Now, imagine I ask to think about that word in a specific context: video gaming. Now, your task is much more specific. You're probably thinking about graphics, first of all, and you're probably thinking about a couple specific games that I could likely guess. But I won't. Instead, I'll let you revel in the details of your thoughts.
Okay, all done? Great. Now, I want to you come with me for the next couple paragraphs while I introduce you to a game that takes "detail," as we define it in video games, to a graphically extraordinary new level. Taking full advantage of the capabilities of next-gen consoles, 2 Days to Vegas is a third-person action game that takes place in contemporary U.S. cities like New York and Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, it shares some characteristics with the Grand Theft Auto games, but I make that comparison only to insure ensure that you and I are on the same page here. In truth, at least as far as I am able to discern from the information that the game's developer, Steel Monkeys, Ltd., has released, comparing Vegas to GTA is like comparing Nintendo 64's James Bond: Golden Eye to the Xbox's Halo.
Now that I have your attention, allow me to get specific. Vinny, the game's controllable protagonist, has just been released from Ricker's Island Prison in New York after serving three years for an, to date, undisclosed crime. He has one goal in mind: relax into civilian life. Fortunately for you, life has other, more exiting plans for him. Vinny's younger brother, Tony, has gotten himself into serious trouble and you, as Vinny, will have forty eight hours to go from New York to Las Vegas (surprising, huh?) to rescue him. The game will occur in its entirety during this forty eight hour period and heavy will be the action. To be expected are car chases, shootouts, unexpected plot twists, and free-roaming gameplay (hence the comparison to GTA). Sadly, I have little else to tell you about gameplay or story line specifics as Steel Monkey has been exceptionally tight lipped. But according to "head monkey" Edwin Loo, they have good reason. Steel Monkey is adamant about retaining full creative control over Vegas so they have released information about the landmark game carefully and have refused to name a publisher until the game is complete. According to Loo, releasing too much information to create game hype actually reduces developer control and thus makes making a good game harder.
Steel Monkeys' objective with 2 Days to Vegas is to create a fully immersive, exciting, aesthetically beautiful gaming experience that will have gamers asking, "Grand Theft what?". Remember what I said about game detail? In Vegas, cities will be fully scaled and modeled and award gamers with the feeling of actually driving through their real life counterparts. But the detail won't stop when the buildings reach the ground. Human characters, vehicles, street vendors, and whatever else runs rampant in today's cities will all be remarkably realistic. For instance, we're all aware that in other games of the similar sort the vehicles all look as shiny and new as the day they drove off the assembly line (assuming they weren't wrecked by the player, of course). In Vegas, such is not the case. Ignore the cleaning of your car, and expect the windshield to become dusty and caked with life's grime. And be careful where you park; it will be hard to walk down a city street in Vegas without seeing the meter maids out in full force.
There is some information, however, that may or may not excite you. Under development for nearly two and half years now, 2 Days to Vegas has been, and continues to be, created almost exclusively in-house. Even the game's engine is in-house. According to Loo, this allows Steel Monkeys to maintain control and accomplish original feats that would have been restricted by bringing in outside help. Perhaps most impressive of these new and revolutionary features is the game's "garbage generator" that replicates and distributes the detritus of everyday life throughout the game world. I mentioned the dirty windshield, but now imagine a game world that consists of everyday clutter strewn throughout its environs. I repeat, it's all about the details, and Steel Monkeys' attention to it seems to be remarkable.
All else aside, this game looks fantastic. Steel Monkeys, Ltd. could be shooting themselves in the foot by so staunchly refusing to use outside help. But then again, they could also be geniuses in the middle of creating a ground breaking game. This is yet to be decided, however. What is clear is that if the attention devoted to game play and story line is simply comparable, not to mention equal, to the attention devoted to detail and graphics, this game will be a system selling, break away hit.
CCC Freelance Writer