Getting Up is a tough game for me to score. I didn't think much of the concept initially, but within just a few minutes of playing, Marc Ecko's vision crystallized and I found that it was much to my liking. Still-Free Trane and his high-wire adventures in urban sprawl were implemented in grittily convincing fashion, hitting the right notes and setting a strong tone.
As Dan mentioned in his main review, taking the platform adventure game and putting it in a real-life environment gave a whole new flavor to what otherwise would have seemed like a poor man's Prince of Persia. Scaling drain pipes and inching across ledges four stories above the ground holds a lot of freshness, and one man's mission to flip the scene on a rival graffiti crew (and beyond) was something that I could sink my teeth into.
It's a shame then, that the game has so many technical problems. Getting Up holds itself together better than many others—but every inspiring moment of aerosol vandalism under the El is tarnished by the constant reminders of subpar production.
Without question, Getting Up's biggest problem is the combat, exactly as Dan said. The controls are unreliably loose, blocking and dodging seems random, and the camera frequently obscures the action. The Collective is clearly enamored with the idea of including hand-to-hand fighting in every game they create, but I've never been satisfied with what they can turn out, and Getting Up is no different. It makes sense to include a little action to keep things hot, but the too-weak, too-frequent combat hurts the game significantly by throwing up frustrating barriers when things should be smooth.
I also had some problems with mission objectives, and their lack of clarity. I noticed that the briefings starting each stage were often incorrect or murky, leading to confusion on my part about what to do or where to go. For example, in the meat-packing plant I was told to tag two targets and then ascend to the upper level. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to progress, until I spotted the last target— there were actually three, not two. Trane's "intuition" (a sort of sixth sense which guides players to each required graffiti location) also functioned below expectation. More than a handful of times I couldn't see where I was supposed to go, and spent wasted effort dodging tough-to-kill enemies and moving around the environments just trying to figure out what my goals were.
Although it's next to impossible to avoid focusing on Getting Up's problems, there's a solid, original effort straining to break out from under the bad decisions and rough edges. Players looking for something with vibrant energy and street-style attitude will likely find it worth the buy-in, but be prepared to deal with (or just look past) the sort of technical and design problems that keep it in the ranks of the busters trying to "get up."
Disclaimer: This review is based on the PlayStation 2 version of the game.