The car models and buildings present in the game don't look bad, and are very reminiscent of the style found in the more recent games in the next-gen Grand Theft Auto series. The game's look also shares a remarkable number of similarities with Crazy Taxi -- such as using car transports as ramps or and lining your destination with big red bars. Though the game doesn't deal in ultra-realistic, highly detailed models, there's enough polish so things aren't a total write off. There is, however, a noticeable lack of car damage, which isn't a game breaker, but is always fun to see. If I'm going to jump my car off a two-story building, well damn it I want that 'just jumped two-stories down' look!
One of the things that really bothered me in terms of the city was that it was that they lacked any life. Unlike other games in this genre, street traffic doesn't react to you. Every car you run into is programmed to go at a certain speed on a certain path. This kills the thrill of going though against traffic since they're not swerving out of the way, they just drone on. Sure some drivers will just plow through you like they own the road, but this is just taking things to a new level. Except for the lobotomized cars and buses, there's really no life to the city -- no pedestrians, no side-walk cafes, no fruit stands to run through...nothing. The layout and design of the city isn't all that great either, but the in-game representations of Los Angeles have that 'big' feeling too them, even if most missions confine you to one area of the map.
Since this game ties in with the plot of the recent movie, I was surprised that more aspects of the film weren't incorporated into the game. During the game's intro you're shown a really neat montage of in-game graphics and scenes from the movie that really help set-up everything. However, once the game starts, the most you'll see is a still frame from the movie during a load screen. I wasn't expecting something as grand as The Two Tower's intertwining of movie and graphics, but at least showing a few movie clips like in nearly every movie-based platformer would have helped. There's also a distinct lack of people in any of the game's story sequences, which just feels silly.
Sound is about average and offers little to the game's overall presentation. The car effects are decent, but it can feel like you're driving around the city in a ride-on lawnmower at times. The mini-cooper is a powerful car, make it sound that way! The game's sub-par, techno soundtrack is also a bore. Think of a really good techno song and remove all the bass, and that's what you get in The Italian Job. To make matters worse, there's no Custom Soundtrack support in the game -- but I've already gone through three whips and two dead horses when discussing that issue. The game's plot is narrated by Mark Walhberg's character from the movie. However, the actor portraying him doesn't even attempt to sound like him (at least in my opinion) and just sounds like he's going through the motions.