Post-secondary school I knew I didn’t want to do A-Levels, partially down to me being awful at exams but also just wanting to get out of that building. Instead I went to college and then university each time building on my want to get into media in one form or another. Film making was my biggest interest for many years, the problem was that meant I had to hang out with other people who were into films. There’s nothing worse than being able to smell your own and disliking their jumped up opinions. There’s me talking about how much I enjoy the films of Jackie Chan and they’re banging on about a Brazilian documentary they saw about a deaf fisherman. What irked me more than anything however was their unjustified love of the films of Guy Ritchie. Modern day me loves a Guy Ritchie film, the Sherlock Holmes films and The Man From Uncle were absolute joys, but 15 years ago, no chance. We were still in the after effects of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Revolver was around the corner and people were getting on the hype train. It was style over substance and much like my fellow students only liking certain films because they were subtitled there seemed to be a certain ponceyness to liking Lock Stock because the actors all spoke funny to our middle class west country ears.

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Jump to modern-day and I’m playing Filthy Lucre, a game so dripping with East End accents and cockney gangsters that it may as well as had jellied eels and a severed piece of Chaz and Dave as a pre-order bonus. Filthy Lucre at its base is an isometric stealth/action game where you are tasked with getting into a heavily guarded location and either nicking, blowing up or just being a slightly violent nuisance. Filthy Lucre wears its inspirations quite openly, from the East End gangster movies to its Hotline Miami and Metal Gear Solid video game brethren. I absolutely loved Mike Bithell’s Volume last year, a game that does so much with its basic concept without over complicating things, with the exception of Volume’s story. Filthy Lucre feels like a welcome next step from Mike Bithell’s seed in Volume. A leaning towards realism with graphics and design and an evolution of the concept and tools to hand.

Filthy Lucre gets you to break into Scrap Yards, Water Works, Penthouses, Mansions and finally a Bank. Each location has 3 levels within, the variations asking you to complete a different main objective each time, and steal various other secondary objectives. You’re being asked to do all of this by Ronnie, a man who is in a pissing contest with Harry Carter another geriatric gangster. Harry has cleaned Ronnie out and stolen all of his possessions, you as Ronnie’s only grunt must complete his collection of useless tatt that happens to be gold to keep him happy and not knee capping you. To aide you in your heists you can take two weapons and two pieces of equipment in with you. Generally speaking after the first level you know who you are and how you play so you’ll know if you’re going in with a shotgun and frag grenades or a few knives and something to take out electronics.

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All the locations are patrolled by various guards and technology like cameras and turrets. To get past them you have 3 options of play style, and to me personally this is where the game shines. The first option is all out violence. With your heavy machine gun pistol and shotgun you can just stroll in and make everyone questions their days plans. It’s a messy choice and you stand a high chance of dying, on top of that if you get a little bit ‘too noticeable’ then the off brand SWAT come flying into deal with you. The second option for infiltration is to ghost your way through a level, channelling Solid Snake you hide in shadows, sneak round corners in perfect time with a guard on patrol and you generally only punch people in the back of the head rather than make them a little bit faster with bullet sized speed holes.

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The final option is the one I use the most. The game features wonderfully implemented local co-op which I have been taking full advantage of and absolutely loving. The third option for entry to a mix of option one and two, in essence you go in stealthy, covering each other, checking your corners and being frugal with bullets and your items. That is until you get spotted or your attention wanders, at which point it’s a case of unloading your ammo into everyone but your partner. Despite being surprisingly stealthy there was barely a level I left where every single person wasn’t dead or unconscious. This is mainly because every level contains a very well hidden secret item that gets you a large amount of money and XP and is worth hunting down, I found it a lot easier to hunt if I wasn’t disturbed by all those people breathing.

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Graphically and musically Filthy Lucre isn’t going to be setting the world on fire, it all functions perfectly well apart from occasional frame rate jankiness but none of it forces you to sit up and take notice. The gameplay however stands out for me, especially in co-op, Filthy Lucre is a wonderful puzzle game full of consideration and cause and effect. It may sound like a negative but for someone who likes to plan things out, I took great pleasure in sitting behind a box for 90 seconds at a time working out the perfect timing to wander out and clock an underpaid guard only to forget that a CCTV camera that pans over his corpse hadn’t been switched off yet. In co-op you get the fun of just one of the players getting spotted and used as bait for the other to come out and deal with the imposing patroller. All of these moments make you forget that the East End thing is a little heavy-handed and that the UI is a bit clunky, especially when choosing a level from the map. All of these things are overlooked when you and a partner are carrying a duffel bag each and legging it to your escape van with alarms going off and bullets flying all around you. Filthy Lucre is a good single player game that offers a nice amount of replay-ability and progression, but where this game excels, where it becomes great for me, is in the co-op. The beautiful chaos of Hotline Miami with the tactical co-op nature of Payday, Filthy Lucre is a joy.

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Ruaidhri

Big-Boss of PixelBedlam.co.uk
Ruaidhri has been writing for a number of sites over the past few years, spewing his vitriol and love in equal measures on all topics from Video Games to Film and Board Games to Geek Culture. He started PixelBedlam in September of 2012. Follow him on Twitter!

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One Response

  1. Sebastion Genoux

    I could not agree more. I love the co-op mode in this game and the opportunity to plan and implement the perfect heist with my friends.

    Reply

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