Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grand Theft Auto 4 on Xbox 360

So, here's the latest Tardis in my life, GTA 4 which will consume any of my time left over from watching playoff hockey and the smooth running of my family and getting to work and stuff. The title is simply amazing. It's fun just to get out of your dingy Liberty City (New York) apartment and jog around the dirty neighborhood inhaling the sights, sounds, and smells (oh why oh why didn't the Creative labs smell blaster take off!) of the hyper realistic neighborhood. Heck, it's fun enough just to frig with the guy's cellphone!
You play Nico, fresh off the boat from Eastern Europe and trying to make his name in the seedy Liberty City underground. When your cousin picks you up you're treated to a blast of Vladivostok Radio (radio stations and music are such a big immersion factor in these games). I actually switch the radio station to that one now when I carjack in the game! It rocks! As usual if you carjack an elderly couple their radio will be tuned to Lawrence Welk, or a cabbie will be listening to Punjabi 105. It's such an easy way to add realism.
Not for the kiddies though. I scraped by a car downtown early on and the guy rolled down his window and screamed that he was going to "go to the bathroom" in my mouth. Gee. Remind me to be careful of that next time I'm in NYC (I mean Liberty City).
They have thought of pretty much everything in this game. If you manage to snag a police car, you get access to their state county municipal offender data system and you can look people up to find out their last know address etc. I can actually watch TV in my apartment (the Bas Rutten show is hilarious!). There are comedy clubs to take your date too and I have yet to see the same cheesy act twice! The RAGE engine they used is amazing and uses some new fangled technology to blur stuff at distance your brain doesn't care about so when you climb up really high and look around, the scenery seems to go on forever!

There's all kinds of realistic touches. One thing I noticed is how cars on the road swerve at the last minute to avoid killing you when you run out into traffic and throw your car door open to get in your car. There looks to be a fantastic "drunk" simulator that i've yet to play, but I've seen footage of it on the net. The voice acting is superb! My favorite character so far is the Jamacain guy, "Little Jon". It's weird. Yyou can hardly understand what he's saying half the time but about 10 seconds after he stops talking, it all makes sense. They added firing from cover in this one, so you can blind fire from doorways and such. You can aim from your car too, which is always fun. They came up with a free-aim mode where you hold the trigger down half-way and point whereever you want, combined with a full aim that selects the body and if you push the left stick up or down, will select the kneecaps/groin, or head or whatever specific body part you want (depending on what you're trying to do).

They have hit the ball out of the park on this one. I hear it's gonna do $400,000 in sales this week, which is like, more than folks spent on ticked for Spiderman 3 all summer when it was the biggest movie release in history. Check out this trailer. If it looks like the latest Hollywood blockbuster, it's because it kinda is. Times 100. In which you can decide how the plot goes. This is so far, the best video game ever written to date.

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