For those of you who love to game and gamble, but hate to fly, Midway has a solution; The up-and-coming This Is Vegas.
The object of the game is to build up your reputation within Las Vegas by performing various tasks around town. Your rival is the industrious Preston Boyer, a kind of Donald-Trump-meets-Martha-Stewart entrepreneur who wants to turn Vegas into a family friendly kind of place, and you're out to stop him in a sandbox-style replication of Las Vegas. But don't be fooled, this isn't just any Grand Theft Auto clone.
In part of Midway's demo, they displayed a typical club scene in Vegas; a middle-of-the-road club just waiting for some customers to bring up the vibe. The DJ happens to know you, and has asked you to bring in the crowd by serving drinks, hitting the dance floor and beating the tar out of jerk club-goers.
To serve drinks, the player uses the four face buttons. Each one is assigned to a specific task; one serves beer, one serves cocktails, one lights a cigarette and one smashes the face of already drunk customers on the bar to make them go away. Take too long or make a mistake and the customer will leave. Accidentally light someone's cigarette when they aren't holding one and you'll set them on fire. It's a really good way to make them quit.
Dancing is even more fun. It combines a Tony Hawk style of combo building with the best moves in dance history. Simply press a face button while on the dance floor to start dancing and bring up a meter. Execute your next move as close to the centre of the meter as possible to get higher points. Miss the meter or execute too soon and you'll stumble and fall on your face.
Of course, none of this will bring up the vibe of the club if there are rabble bringing down the fun. Rabble are marked on your map as red dots, and your job is to dispatch them in a pleasant and friendly manner, using either your fist, the bottom of your shoe or whatever you deem appropriate.
Though some aspects of the game feel decidedly Grand Theft Auto, it was interesting to see it executed in a different style. To steal a car, you don't threaten the owner with a gun or a skull bashing, you con them out of their keys. It is undoubtedly a different 'feel' from GTA, and the Vegas setting only adds to the charm. It's almost refined, a little more classy…if you can call feather headdresses and boas classy.
Aside from virtual partying, you can start fights, gamble at high-rolling tables, race the coolest cars and seduce the sketchiest women, all in an effort to raise your reputation and bring down your rival's family-friendly parade.
While the exact release date has not been set, Midway is carefully optimistic about a late-winter/early-spring 2009 release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.