Monday, June 01, 2009
Grand Theft April (And A Bit of May)
Life hasn't been all work as I did find some time to finally get back into GTAIV. It may have been a year late, but better late than never. Rockstar excelled at creating another living, breathing world to play in (even if the pedestrian banter did become a bit repetitive). Liberty City steals the show in its depth, breadth and diversity. I thoroughly enjoyed the story even when it seemed to meander into no mans land, drifting from away from the heart of the story, but the climax brought it all back around to a satisfying and shocking end.
Obviously, there are issues that persist from earlier entries in the series, namely combat. At this point, the developers should just rip off gun play from someone who does it right, like Epic's Gears of War style. And hand to hand needs to be overhauled completely. Button mashing never works and trying to finesse it was to sloppy as well. It was also a shame to see that the music stations didn't play as prominently as before. I can still remember most of GTAIII original music, Vice City's 80's sound track and San Andreas's gangsta rap, but Liberty City's music was largely forgettable and too eclectic.
After spending enough time to 100% complete the game (yes, I even took the time to kill every damn pigeon), I can easily say that I enjoyed every minute of it barring the frustration from some of the more difficult achievements.
I spent some time with GTA: Chinatown Wars as well. Unfortunately, not too many people bought the game, but it was well worth every cent. The smaller screens obviously shrink the viewing area, making driving and shooting somewhat difficult, but the developers made up for this by making cars more durable and a robust lock on scheme. Also, I have seen few games that put the Touch Screen to such fantastic use. From making and throwing Molotov cocktails to car jacking to keeping someone alive with shock paddles to guiding a parade dragon, the game continued to surprise me with new ways to use the Touch Screen. And because the circumstances vary widely and rarely overlap, the actions don't become repetitive or boring. Also, about the drug dealing aspect of the game, while controversial, there is something to be said about the basic supply and demand economics that it can teach.
I have yet to be disappointed by any of the Grand Theft Auto games since the jump to 3D, even the hand held versions. I have no doubt that Rockstar will continue to push boundaries and provide immensely entertaining games for years to come.