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True Crime: New York City
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is in a league with the Grand Theft Auto series when it comes to virtual brutality and vice. The narrative is in the gutter: Pimps beat prostitutes, and are later cut in half in gruesome car accidents. A drug lord uses inmates at an insane asylum to do her killing. Illegal sweatshops serve as way stations for human trafficking, and pornographic evidence reveals their darker utility.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In the second entry in this mission-based, cops and robbers game, True Crime continues to revel in graphic violence, explicit drug culture, tawdry sex, and a slippery moral terrain. Players control Marcus Reed, a murderous ex-gang member who was saved from the streets by the tough love of a caring cop. When his mentor is ambushed and killed, Marcus (now also a police officer) is enlisted by the FBI to crush the crime syndicates running New York and help get to the bottom of his advisor's murder. Armed with an arsenal of heavy weaponry, Marcus cracks down on street crime -- he also runs errands for his gang lord father, does favors for informants, and tries to determine whether he's a good cop with a criminal past or an undercover thug with a badge.
Is it any good?
Players' decisions earn points that determine their prevailing tendencies toward good or bad. Unfortunately, these choices don't do much to alter gameplay. The game misses a great opportunity to explore the complicated moral world of law enforcement, basically throwing out the good cop/bad cop classifications as soon as gameplay starts.
While the game includes meticulously reproduced streets of New York, gameplay can be very frustrating. Common technical glitches mean cars will at times float in the air, or sound effects will get caught in annoying loops. Graphics are fuzzy and frame rate is slow. All in all, skip this title.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mature material. Does the violence and sex serve the story, or does it cross the line to become gratuitous? Is it more fun to play by the book, or dabble in evidence tampering, extortion, and excessive force? Do you think doing "bad things" in a video game can be a healthy release -- or can it lead to real life bad behavior?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.