Category: PC

Grand Theft Auto 5

In the world of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is akin our California and is made up of three major cities. In this is San Fierro, Las Venturas and Los Santos. Each of these represent and are modeled after real world cities with Los Santos being Los Angeles. Unlike in San Andreas when we strike out in Grand Theft Auto V we will not have an entire state in which to run amok, but instead Rockstar will focus on one city, Los Santos.  According to Rockstar:

“Developed by series creator Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto V heads to the city of Los Santos and surrounding hills, countryside and beaches in the largest and most ambitious game Rockstar has yet created.

A bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer, Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California. ”

This comes as good news. I was relatively fearful they would attempt a full scale state again like in San Andreas and, while very impressive, it was just far too daunting. I’m also not the only one who holds this opinion. By focusing on one city they can breath unprecedented life into it, which is what they are apparently intending to do. However I have one big question: what could they possibly mean by “bold new direction”?

The Grand Theft Auto series has been instrumental in open world video games. I’m not going to say that open world gaming wouldn’t exist without GTA, but I think many people can agree that without Grand Theft Auto we wouldn’t have worlds quite as, shall we say, grand. Rockstar is known to push a map to it’s limits and this will undoubtedly be no exception but with everything they have done previously what more can they do for open world-freedom outside of turning GTAV into an MMO?

According to Rockstar Founder Sam Houser:

“Grand Theft Auto V is another radical reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe,”
“We are incredibly excited to share our new vision with our fans.”

I think back to previous iterations of Grand Theft Auto. Vice City kicked off the ability to buy up surrounding property and San Andreas began to incorporate turf wars between rival gangs. Anymore in video gaming the worlds we exist in during the game are altered and changed in terms of how they look and how people react to you. Could this be where Rockstar is taking this installment of Grand Theft Auto? Let’s start the wildly unproductive machine called “Speculation and Baseless Theories” shall we?

GTA V Rumors

See? Even these girls REACT to someone running.

If we look back to the Grand Theft Auto V trailer released yesterday we see that the narrator is saying “He wanted to be a good guy.” Could this in fact mean that they will follow in the footsteps of many other games and implement some morality system that affects the world around us? This would most definitely create an entirely new element in the GTA universe. Historically you were an anti-hero. You were not what most people would call a good guy. You lived in that role and didn’t have a choice. While not actually developed by Rockstar, LA Noire put you in the other perspective. You were a  good cop and you didn’t really have a choice to be anything else. It’s time they implemented a little variety into the mix.

Think of it like this: A world where you can buy and build property. You can adjust rent and other factors that affect not just income but how the building looks. You actions affect those in the areas and neighborhood. If you’re good people react favorably to you wherever you go. You could be outwardly wonderful while behind the scenes you are a sinister ass-hat. Or heck, you could even be nice behind the scenes. However if you’re a price gouging slum lord who reducing the surrounding neighborhoods to squalor then odds are the news will not be nice to you. People will react to your presence with vitriol and dislike. It could even effect how carefully the police watch you and how much you can get away with.

Now in this world lie people who want your property and maybe even your life. You are bound to piss a few people off in your rise to glory and prestige and odds are they will be gunning for you. Since this is GTA we’re talking about they will absolutely be gunning for you. This could create plenty of drama and action to keep gamers coming back for more but still providing an outstanding system to build a world on that would absolutely decimate people’s time.

This would also be a “bold new direction” that would be a “reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe”. I mean at this stage where else can they take open world gaming? They’ve done so much that I’m more or less at the edge of my seat to find out more.

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

SPOILER ALERT FOR FALLOUT 3

Seeing as how the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases in a little over a week (Vote for what console you want Kat to play Skyrim on!), I wanted to take a look back at another game brought to us by Bethesda, Fallout 3.  I know that this game is old news; heck, even the full game expansion pack is likely old enough to be under $30 at your local retailer.  But I wanted to take a step back and examine what made Fallout 3 great.

When Fallout 3 first came out, I was only mildly interested, if that.  A game about a post-apocalyptic, war-torn land, with crazily mutated beings wasn’t exactly up my alley.  A friend brought the game over and showed me the gory head explosions (or whatever limb you happened to target) and seemed even less likely that I’d want to try it.

Fallout 3 Centaur

Yeah, this is really NOT what I picture when I think 'Centaur'.

Months later, the Game of the Year edition went on sale at Target.  I decided to purchase it and give Fallout a try.  After all, Bethesda had also given us the Elder Scrolls games, so that should say something good about Fallout.  Fallout 3 starts off pretty safe, with you growing up as a child in a vault that has protected you from the ravages of the radiated Wastelands.  Escaping the vault was both nerve-wracking and thrilling.  And stepping out into an eerily empty town with partially or mostly destroyed houses set a great, lonely tone.  It was a relief to finally make it to Megaton, knowing that there actually were survivors out there.  I decided to keep up with the ‘Following in His Footsteps’ quest.  I wanted to see Liam Neeson *ahem* – dad – again.  Unfortunately, since I’m such a Scaredy-Kat, going into the tunnels caused me minor panic attacks (Feral Ghouls, Super Mutants?!!!  Limited ammo?!!), and I gave up.  You have to admit, some of the creatures are very creepy.  (Centaurs!!?)

A month ago, I decided to pick the game back up, and was sucked in.  I found Dogmeat, and having a companion by my side made me feel much better about traversing the Wasteland and even… tunnels.  Once I had this confidence, I was able to see Fallout for the great game it actually is.  There are so many aspects to Fallout, so much to do and see.

Fallout 3 Couple

*ahem* This couple was clearly enjoying themselves when disaster struck. And the creepy part is, you still have the option of sleeping in that bed...

For one, this certainly is no kids game.  There’s the more obvious limb exploding and violent deaths, but there’s also a lot of rough language, sexual aspects, and just plain horrific events.  Visiting Minefield and seeing a smaller skeleton than most in a room that contains kids toys is just heart wrenching.  The whole deserted mood of Minefield is haunting (no pun intended).  Did anyone else pick up through their conversations that Jericho raped/attempted to rape Jenny Stahl?  And of course, there are the perks:  Lady Killer, Black Widow.  There are actual sex benefits to choosing this perk (at least for a woman as a Black Widow), and one being a threesome, in fact.  Nova is there for more than just viewing pleasure.

Fallout 3 Springvale

Telephone Poles: Built to Last, even through Nuclear Catastrophes!

Another is that this game, the whole Fallout series, presents a unique idea that hasn’t been explored as much as a genre like fantasy has.  And they do it damn well.  The vistas, while fascinating as a torn apart and gritty world, don’t exactly make me want to live in such a world.  But they speak strongly for what the game is portraying.  The mood created in the game is often lonely, always eerie, and deserted.  Most of what you encounter in the Wasteland is going to try to kill you.  Finding a town might be a safe harbor, but you can’t rely on that.  In fact, a lot of the towns will have something nasty lurking inside; Raiders, mines, fire ants, super mutants.  But in a world like Fallout, that fits perfectly.  It’s to be expected.

The story of Fallout is great because, while there is plenty of tension waiting around every corner, and you never know what you’ll encounter next, but there’s hope in this dark world.  There’s hope that life will continue, despite all the hardships, and that what’s been destroyed can be rebuilt.  And that’s really what keeps me playing.

-Kat

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)

Grand Theft Auto V Logo

Recently Rockstar began to tease Grand Theft Auto V without giving anyone any real information as to where the game was to be located. In it’s fifth outing rumors and speculation began to flutter wildly around the interwebz as to where the new Grand Theft Auto V would be. Would it be Washington DC, New York, LA, Shanghai? People began to dissect the logo looking at every minute detail of it to try to glean some new information from it to break the “code”. Well ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Vinewood.

What we see is an idyllic Hollywood style town called Vinewood. It starts off with the narrator talking about how he wanted to live a perfect life, to retire and become one of the good guys. He wanted to start a family and be a dad. However life doesn’t always go as planned. But Vinewood is only part of the greater world. It seems that San Andreas is once more our stomping grounds for GTAV. The question now is “Will  San Andreas in GTAV be as large as it was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?”

What’s interesting about the Grand Theft Auto V trailer, and maybe it’s just  me here, but I can swear that we see Niko as a hobo at 0:58, CJ running at 1:06, and Tommy Vercetti 0:39. We can almost be certain that Grand Theft Auto 5 will have it’s share of cameos, but are they going all out in Vinewood? Has everyone come out west for a piece of the San Andreas Pie?

Now even though Rocstar was just a publisher for L.A. Noire I’m curious to see how much the map is similar. I mean they have the map why not try to get some more use out of it. A great deal of care and effort went into creating it; just make a few changes and let ‘er back out there. It will be interesting to see if this is the case though. Will the Grand Theft Auto V map be the an updated L.A. Noire? I might actually find that relatively enjoyable.

Also am I the only one who thinks the person talking sounds like Uncle Kracker?

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Syndicate 4-player co-op

When the new Syndicate was announced we advised people to give it the benefit of the doubt. It was a game with a history beloved by video gamers and fans of RTS the world over. It was one of the better parts of video game history and as such Starbreeze Studios has some rather big shoes to fill. As the trailers and screenshots and gameplay tailers came out we began to get a little worried that some of the elements that made Syndicate so great were being left out in favor of other, more modern, elements. With this trailer many of these fears have been put to rest:

I don’t know what it is about a team of 4 Syndicate agents in long coats that makes me shudder with delight, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t do it every time. While this doesn’t clue us into every gameplay element in the 4-player co-op in Syndicate it does let us know a few things.

Syndicate Staples

For starters we know that they are maintaining the integrity of 4 member teams in Syndicate. This is good because it will allow you to plan and strategize without simply just trying to overwhelm. In this light it won’t be a standard online FPS.  Additionally they’ve carried over the “trench coat” style from the original Syndicate. While this isn’t something that will make or break the game it’s still nice to see it carried through. There’s a thematic styling that should be maintained and Starbreeze seems to be attempting to do just that.

Around 0:37 into the clip we see an agent pick up a package. This lets us know that the there will be more than deathmatch style gameplay in this FPS co-op. Not every mission in Syndicate was about killing other agents. There were assassinations, recon, and personnel acquisition. Each of these elements could play an interesting role in the online multiplayer. We suspect (or at least hope) that what we witnessed was a piece of intelligence gathering or reconnaissance.

Syndicate Changes

While we catch a glimpse of my personal favorite weapon from Syndicate (the minigun) we still don’t see any use of a Persuadetron. However we have yet to see any real use for it. The other thing we notice is that this seems to be directed at direct combat in some form of corridor. The nice thing about Syndicate was that it was open, there was life, people, and random things to blow up. The “only us vs. them” approach is not what Syndicate was about.

Syndicate 4 player co-op trailer

There has to be people somewhere that aren't shooting at us

Open the map up and throw some civilians in it. Allow agents to blend in, persuade people to be human shields, and wreak untold havoc. Agents didn’t always notice you and that’s what made it fun. When you’re the only thing on the board moving around you pretty much know you’re going to get shot. Think more Assassins Creed: Brotherhood less CoD.

In fact that lack of true tactics was not all we didn’t see. Vehicles were nice in Syndicate because they allowed you to blend in. They also allowed you to drive around 150 of your closest persuaded friends. We see them littering the landscape but nothing interactive or engaging. It’s this element that helped make the original Syndicate so much fun.

However just because we didn’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it just means that it wasn’t in this 1:43 gameplay trailer. Starbreeze Stuidios have themselves  a very  interesting video game on their hands. If done properly their online co-op could create a whole new style of online play for first person shooters. Or they could just shoot for average run of the mill co-op. Only time will tell what they have in store for us, but we’re waiting with our hopes held high.

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

As if Skyrim wasn’t awesome enough they went and upped the antee a bit this time. It’s one thing to offer screen, after screen, after gorgeous screen to help entice a user to want to play. It’s something else entirely to say “Let’s pay actual actors to act this out.” Over at Bethesda that did just that. As always we won’t prattle on about the trailer until you take a gander:

The first thought that comes to mind is a resounding “Yes please. Now please. Thank you.” The second thought was “what the hell was in that bucket?” No I mean it, look at what happens 25 seconds in to the live action trailer. I assumed it was water but a bucket of water spilled onto a fire doesn’t cause that kind of a flame up. Apparently in Skyrim people drink nothing but alcohol. But it makes sense really, to properly fight dragons you’re going to need something to take the edge off. Alcohol from the ground might be just what the doctor ordered.

I think at this stage it’s safe to say that those of us who are excited about this could just about spear a dragon with our “excitement” while giggling like a toddler while doing it. While this trailer offers us nothing in the way of new information it does serve to provide additional excitement. It more or less throws “Skyrim water” on the fire.

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)