This week we talk about MLG Summer Fighting Arena, Crunchyroll app now available on the PlayStation 3, Grand Theft Auto 1 & III get remade in the Rage engine, our 10 Most Frustrating Moments in Gaming and much more.
Rockstar have just announced via their site that all the rumours were true! Grand Theft Auto: Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony are both coming to Playstation 3 and the PC. The release date is set at March 30th, 2010.
Rockstar announced that Beaterator, which is already out and GTA Chinatown Wars would be coming to the iPhone this year. However there’s very little time left for the title to be released in 2009, especially when you add the fact that Rockstar has no comment regarding the game. A delay wouldn’t necessarily effect the sales of Chinatown Wars, if anything with Xmas just around the corner, they can probably release it early 2010 and have even more people get it.
So looking at the screen above, yes before you even ask, this is pretty much a GTA knock-off. It’s released by Gameloft, who keep pumping out a stream of pretty good games for the iPhone, is this one worth getting? So first of all the graphics are really nice, just looking at them is stunning, but they’re not prefect. The major problem with them is clipping happens often, and sometimes I just teleport at higher levels when I walk. If you don’t know what I mean sometimes when I walk up to a building, instead of getting stopped, I go on top of it. The physics are also a little wacky, especially with cars hitting jumps is awkward, turning is loose and you can drive through small objects like trees and light posts. Outside these minor problems however, these are some good looking graphics.
The sound leaves alot to be desired. The only real thing you can hear from the car sounds are the engine, there’s no skidding sounds. Then there’s the radio, which is basically just midi music, some might sound like popular songs you know. The only real thing of substance here is the radio commercials, that try to rip-off the funny GTA ones but for the most part fail.
The gameplay is where it’s at. There are many annoyances with it, but considering it’s running on your cell phone is amazing. The cops are brutally stupid, same thing with the enemies. They pretty much are programmed to only run towards you and shoot or punch, which means if there’s an obstacle in their way, they’ll just keep running in it and be stuck there.
So you can get a 3 badge rating and as long as you’re driving the cops are hard on you. The way you clear your wanted level is to stay out of sight for a bit or pick up badge power-ups.
The missions aren’t that varied, you get the basic drive here, do this and drive back missions, although you do get some pretty sweet moments in it. Some of these include sniping missions, photography missions, interrogation missions, these are truly to best ones in the game.
The controls and aiming systems are well done. When you’re on foot you have a virtual analog stick and an attack button, and in-car it varies. You can use tilt steering, on-screen wheel or a bar then for the throttle it’s either gas and brake icons or a bar. I preferred using the bars only because it’s more analog, with the gas and brake it’s basically full speed ahead!
The aiming’s an auto-lock system where you click touch who you want to shoot at, you can rotate your camera angle how ever you want by sliding your finger or thumb.
Story is not this game’s strong point, I loved the opening chapter but the rest felt stale and didn’t engage me at all. So you’re freshly out of jail from Mexico and now in the states with your hommie trying to build up rep.
I would recommend this game, but don’t go in expecting GTA 3 or anything. If you really want that, I’d say wait for Chinatown Wars which Rockstar has announced it’s coming to the iPhone in the near future.
Presentation – 10
The story in GTA IV is the best video game story you’ll play ever. In case you don’t know the basics already, you’re an immigrant called Niko, fresh off the boat to meet up with your rich and luxurious cousin Roman. Quickly Niko finds out this was all a lie and Roman actually just lives in a dump apartment and owns a taxi company. It spans from many different characters to culminate with one of the most epic decisions you’ll ever have to make in gaming.
The cinematic cut-scenes are produced in classic GTA fashion although the production value of IV is equal or even superior to those of big budget movies. The lip-syncing is done fantastically, it’s unbelievable that all this is done with the in-game engine.
Niko is the most like-able Grand Theft Auto character ever, for the simple fact that he seems to have more human qualities then any other protagonist in a GTA game. He gets mad, has past history to think about and overall just has more emotion then any other character in previous games.
Graphics – 9.5
The graphics are the best ever seen in any sandboxopen environment game. The characters look and animate fantastic, with only minor glitches such as the feet pointing upwards in specific situations, although it happens enough that it’s noticeable. The running animation has been improved upon greatly since last generation GTAs, you also lean when you do turns while you run.
With every GTA comes clipping, pop-ins and various other graphical glitches, and GTA IV is no exception. This being said, it’s definitely the most polished in terms of the typical hitches that happen. The only real pop-ins I’ve noticed while playing was going between the islands while others seemed to occur randomly. The draw distance is really far and while flying a helicopter, you can see across all 3 islands.
The vehicle damage looks super nice, the first car I drove in the first 3 seconds of being in it, I rubbed off something and it left scratches on the paint. Hitting a pole straight in the middle of the bumper will put a huge dent right where you hit. Rolling over will also put some damage on the roof, but will not cave in completely, the windows break nicely though.
The explosions look respectable, the real problem with them is there’s not enough. Flipping over the car will no longer make your car explode, and one of the most epic explosions in the game happens within 3 hours of play time.
Sound – 10
As usual Rockstar hit the nail square on the head in the audio department. All the radio stations are unique and of course, will depend on personal taste regarding which you’ll listen to.
Lazlow is back and produced the audio for every station, he also appears on Integrity 2.0. Integrity is a station where Lazlow is on the streets of Liberty City interviewing citizens with hilarious outcomes. The sad thing is that I seemed to have heard all of it while playing through.
I listened to Liberty Rock Radio and Liberty City Hardcore for my music fix and I was still discovering new songs near the end of the game. Although the DJ and commercials were getting repetitive near the third quarter of gameplay.
The sound effects are amazing, they sound just like their real life counterparts. Peeling out with a car sounds really cool and depending on your vehicle, it’ll also differ in sound. The weapons are great, no complaints and I’m sure you all know what guns sound like, well this title pulls it off with grace.
The voice-acting is done terrifically and you’ll encounter many different characters with diverse styles and cultures. Amazingly with all the various styles of voice-acting none of them are done bad, sure some are better then others but when isn’t it. The pedestrians also have dialogue, some are just normal conversations but most have a funny twist on them.
Gameplay – 10
The gameplay is what was always the best part of GTA. I really don’t know what to say that would be unexpected about this title. You rob cars, kill people, drive and run around.
The biggest alteration that actually makes a difference is the cover system, now you can hug up against a wall and blind fire some bitches or pop out and accurately head shot some enemies. The aiming system has also changed, you can shoot from your car similar to Saints Row. Auto-aiming was added as well, the option can be turned off but is a valuable asset, but it’s sort of picky with who it aims at. Sometimes I found myself face to face with someone and it would aim at a random guy in the distance.
Everything else that made the other games great are all here, with minor adjustments like the driving physics feels more realistic, yet still cartoony.
There’s a big social aspect to GTA IV, you get to make friends, girlfriends and work buddies. There’s advantages to do man-dates and dates. The man-dates are very crucial as once you get to a certain point of friendship, they’ll offer you stuff, such as Roman’s car service will be free. The dates only get you in the sack with them and well it’s virtual sex so who cares.
Fun Factor – 9.5
The online is flawed, it might only be my personal taste but I dislike it. I thought the map was far too big to enjoy any of the modes, seeing as the maximum amount of players is 16. There’s a mode that you have to steal marked vehicles and bring them to specific locations. If you just wait it out a bit to see where the other players are going, you could just take the one that no ones’ near for an easy point. Also the pop-in appears to get worst when playing online, I found myself crashing often in cars that popped up right in front of me.
The length of the main story is around 30 hours, plus all the side missions could lead you to a game that would last forever. This is the first GTA game I completed, as I thought all the others got repetitive fast. The difference between this one and the others, is there’s always one mission that is so epic in terms of story significance, that it makes you keep playing. You also get missions that’s kind of different from the others that it somewhat keeps it fresh, but mainly you’re still driving to point A, kill some guy, drive to point B.
Overall – 9.8
GTA IV is a cinematic masterpiece and an awesome value for your money, the online is flawed and there’s a few imperfections but none of them ruin the experience.
It’s currently making the rounds that Realtime Worlds founded by Lemmings and GTA creator, David Jones, bought APB back to sell it to Rockstar. Now why would Rockstar want APB? Well it’s pretty much a GTA MMO, and that’s what they’ll do with it.
No word from Realtime Worlds or Rockstar, but this could end up being really interesting.