Previews

This Is Vegas

Midway cook up what could be the biggest surprise of 2008...

It's important you never underestimate the value of your gut instinct.

No matter what the subject matter, everyone has had moments where they just know something to be right, even if it's not easily explained or put into words. And on that note - This Is Vegas, a game that could easily find itself being a smash hit if it plays its cards right (get it? Get it?!).

It's come out of leftfield. This Is Vegas had already been announced prior to Midway showing it off at its Gamers Day event but no-one really knew what it was. If you were being kind, you could call it another ambitious attempt at tackling the tricky open world genre by mixing some style in with the usual shoot/explore/car-jack antics. If you were being cruel, you could chalk it up as a sub-GTA set in Vegas and shrug your shoulders.

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Now we know better. This Is Vegas isn't trying to ride Grand Theft Auto's coat-tails onto bigger and better things. It's just knuckling down and focusing on letting you have fun and enjoy its take on Vegas with a million and one distractions. The main themes here, that the developers drill into the head of every journalist who even dares step near one of several This Is Vegas booths at Midway's event, is Fight, Gamble, Party. It's their mantra and they're sticking to it.

It's the fusion of these elements that make This Is Vegas a joy to play. One mission OXM played through saw you go to a Club Aqua and meet up with your friend, Lara, in the DJ booth. Club Aqua is dead - a couple of morbid shufflers on the dancefloor doing their best George Romero tributes, no atmosphere, nothing. You're asked to jazz it up.

Action Time
So you hit the dancefloor. A rhythm action game sees you dancing with those already there and sparking them into life. This draws in more people, who draw a bigger crowd, which gets the dancefloor going. You can mingle with the girls around the nightclub, who grind next to you, for extra points.

A couple of rowdy ravers threaten to ruin the evening, so you can grab them for a quick hand-to-hand fight to deal with them. Land a couple of blows, build up your buzzbomb, and you can see the clubber sprawling across the bar with a stupidly over-the-top uppercut. You can even carry the buzzbomb over to the dancefloor, which gets a bout of synchronised dancing going. Stupid? Yes. Fun? Definitely.

You can even serve drinks behind the bar, lighting cigarettes for those asking for it, slamming the heads of noisy drunks on the bar or topping up champagne for the beautiful ladies. Or as OXM accidentally managed, slamming the heads of those asking for it, topping up champagne for the drunks and setting fire to the beautiful ladies. Whoops.

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You can get drunk yourself, which distorts the screen and turns your dancing into uncle-at-wedding flailing, and drink until you throw up or until you pee (which, unlike real life sadly, sobers you up almost instantly). You can start a wet t-shirt contest. You can do pretty much anything and everything, which is the whole point behind This Is Vegas - this is Vegas, so you're supposed to have fun, so that's what the game is about.

Wide open world
Talking to one of the developers, they said they're working on getting the open world elements up and running and quickly run us outside to show what Vegas looks like. Although not an exact replica of Nevada's Sin City - don't expect to see any trademarked landmarks or hotels - it captures the glitz and glamour perfectly, with neon lights pointing the way for miles on end.

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