IntroductionFilthy Lucre, developed by Fabrik Games, is a top-down isometric shooter/stealth action game. An old and angered mob boss who goes by the name Ronnie has had his illegal fortunes taken from him. The result is a last ditch effort to get revenge and recover some of his losses by hiring hands to do his dirty work (you). Play as one of the possible 8 characters (4 guys and 4 girls), complete heists, sabotages, assassinations, and more. Reap the benefits and progress your character with higher classes weapons and gadgets. Take on missions solo or bring a friend to help. You can buy the game on PlayStation Store for $17.99.
GameplayThe menu for the game is essentially designed as a hub, located in some form of a warehouse. You'll find a missions board, weapons locker, computers to initiate co-op, and an area to tweak a few settings. Missions will take place in 5 different areas around the city, each with 3 missions designed as tiers. Each mission has its main objective as well as a handful of side objectives that will earn you addition money or experience (these are used in the progression system, covered further below). While out on missions, you'll either be tasked to assassinate a given target, pull off a bank heist, or maybe even sabotage a drug operation.
You'll find scattered loot and money around the maps that you can also grab, but if you die during the mission you'll lose it all, so sometimes you'll need to weigh the risk and reward. You can exit the mission early, even if you have not accomplished the main objective, in order to secure whatever you have earned. Ammo will be limited regardless of your weapon, so you'll need to keep a watchful eye out for ammo containers throughout the levels. The game encourages you to pursue whichever avenue you wish in regards to accomplishing the missions, whether silent and stealthy or guns blazing and chaotic. While they are both technically valid options, taking the guns blazing approach carries a higher degree of difficulty as you could potentially get gunned down quickly.
The camera provides enemy indicators around the edges if they are not on screen, to begin with. You'll occasionally find little time to react to their positions and the environment when they do come into view unless inside of a building where rooms are fairly small and easily isolated. Alerting too many guards at once will cause hell to be released on you from 360 degrees, but there is a grey area in between the two approaches, and you may find that you incorporate both at different times.
The AI guards are oblivious to many things and can be tricked into doing just about anything you want them to do. Making a noise from the many things that can be interacted with, such as radios, electric tools, coffee makers, etc, will cause a guard to investigate alone. With free moving maps, and minimal peripheral vision, you'll be able to sneak up on them with ease and take them out with the press of a button. Hiding the bodies are not an option though until you've unlocked higher grade equipment and gadgets. Security cameras pose another obstacle, but a simple hack to the terminal can disable them.
You can take two weapons and two gadgets with you into your missions; these can be either for stealth or assault, and everything is labeled accordingly in the loadout locker to avoid confusion. You'll probably want to bring one of each in the event things get a little out of control, or you can pick up a guards weapon off the ground. Shooting is in the twin-stick style and the line of shooting is always on and turns red from green when pointing directly at an enemy.
It's smooth and rather enjoyable but does take some time learning how to quickly readjust your shooting when everything is in motion. The progression system works off of two different currencies (the money and the experience). As you level up you'll be able to purchase new weapons and gadgets with one, and then upgrade each of them with the other. It's pretty straight forward, and a reason to keep playing for awhile after completing all missions. During co-op gameplay, you can work together or treat it as selfish mutual interests. If one of you goes down and begins getting interrogated, your partner can either come rescue you, or they can ditch the scene with the loot.
Sound and GraphicsWhen you're in the action, you only hear the action (with very light music in the background). It focuses on the environment and characters within rather than flooding your perception with constant music. Anything more than the light beats playing would either give too high of a tempo when trying to play stealthy, or too slow if playing fast paced; it stays out the tone setting and it's for the best. The guns and grenades have a weak sound, though, not magnifying how intense some situations truly are, but can be covered up when there are more than a few characters firing off rounds across the room. You'll get minor briefings/narrations from the head honcho back at headquarters, but the playable characters themselves have no voice acting.
The graphics are more animated than they are realistic of course, but the game provides a unique flair to it all. You really sense the environments you're in, even though there are a limited amount. You'll traverse through high-rise penthouses, banks, scrapyards, and mansions. The animations are a little cheesy; the playable characters run with a half gallop and close quarter fighting seems slightly goofy, but we can chalk it up to artistic flair. The camera is the biggest enemy as it confines you too often.
The map layouts combined with the camera angle mean there are times of broken vision regarding the environment, and you may not see that specific door the guards are rushing out of. There is no workaround to this as the camera is locked in one position; no rotating or zooming in/out (but there is minor panning of the field). What you can see though is clean and crisp and you won't find much difficulty while walking around and navigating the maps.
ConclusionFilthy Lucre is a fun game, especially when you can grab a friend for some teamwork (there is split screen). The idea of infiltrating gang hideouts and looting them until your heart's content is both badass and therapeutic in a criminal-esque way. It offers diversity in gameplay by providing you an expansive armory of potential weapons and equipment, and a simple system to purchase everything by having you loot as much as possible. The risk vs reward concept of having only one life during a mission adds a dramatic effect to how you analyze every situation. But the game is not without its faults; the camera angle is one you will either like or hate, but regardless, will have a few obstructions for your vision.
There is a slight learning curve to the game when you begin, but once you know one trick you know them all. Guards are easily manipulated around the environment and even easier to pick off silently. Even if you accidentally walk right next to them while crouched, there's a good chance you'll be able to retreat unseen. With the inability to hide guards' bodies in Hitman fashion, it's easy for the immersion to break at times. The game is one to check out, especially with a friend, but it's a game that needs to be appreciated for what it is before it can be enjoyed the most of its potential by the player.
|+ Online/split-screen co-op is a fun experience||- Only 5 different environments to traverse|
|+ Expansive weapon armory||- Arguably repetitive after completing all missions|
|+ Multiple objectives during every mission||- Knocked out guards are essentially permanent decor|
|+ Allows freedom regarding strategy and execution|