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Goddamn Two

I. Oh, Paula. You're the drunkest drunk who ever drank a drink.

II.

Because I'm pretty swamped with freelancing, I only played it for about an hour and a half last night, but it's pretty damned awesome. It looks and sounds incredible, and often in very subtle ways (especially the depth of detail, the physics and the lighting effects); the acting, despite the absence of big-name voice actors this time around, is top-notch; the story is pretty fascinating and, as is typical for the franchise, contains lots of really funny moments so far; the music is phenomenal (and the talk show -- and now, TV! -- programs are hilarious); and so far, I like all the changes in play except for a couple of minor ones.

There's a bit too much of the Sims/social development-style stuff for my taste; that stuff is fun, but it can stretch out the gameplay endlessly when you're trying to accomplish story goals. The hand-to-hand combat system is also kinda clunky compared to the previous, stripped-down ones, and it involves a lot of investment of time considering how little you actually do it in the game.

But the targeting dynamic is much improved, the car physics are way better, the load times are practically nonexistent, and there's lots of little stuff that make it more fun to play. While driving around endlessly can be lots of fun, it can also be tedious if there's too much of it, so the ability to hire cabs, take the subway, and skip non-goal-oriented trips is a godsend; the introduction of the GPS as a way to track your route from one marked location to another avoids a HUGE amount of frustration at moments when you're not yet familiar with the map; and the more realistic role-playing stuff, combined with a new feature where, at key moments in the game, you can make multiple choices about how to resolve a situation -- with each choice causing the storyline to branch out differently -- is terrific and makes the human landscape as interesting as the physical one. (For all the talk about killing hookers and stuff, that was never a requirement of the game -- but with this iteration, you can actually be rewarded for not killing people.

I'm not nearly far enough in it to say how good it really is, or if it supplants GTA: San Andreas as the best video game of all time, but so far, it's fairly well kicking my ass. Too bad I blabbed for a week about how excited I was to get it; if I hadn't, I might could have gotten away with taking a sick day today so I could stay home and play for a good 8 hours. B'oh.

Comments

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calamityjon
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh lordy, I never read the site. What's she doing today?
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Read what site? If you're asking about the Paula reference, I meant Paula Abdul from American Idol. Last night, she gave a lengthy and heartfelt critique of Jason Castro's two songs, except, uh, he only sang one song.

Even weighed against the rich history of Drunk Paula moments, it was a glorious Drunk Paula moment.
calamityjon
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, I confused Paula with Pamela, that chick from Atlas Shrugged. It's confusing, with all the drunks running around, me included.
rjwhite
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
Same exact thing, here.

On all counts.
quba
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Man, awesome. I can't wait until Gamefly comes through with my copy. Not like I have any time to play it, what with all the wedding planning and getting laid I've been doing.

Is it more fun than getting laid?
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't know.
dreamweasel
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
That's the second time Simon has backhandedly called a contestant "very, very clever" for singing a patriotic song. Oh, those gullible red-staters!
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
OK, sorry to be self-serving on your journal, but I can't find the credits online anywhere...can you check the manual and see if my name is there? I want to feel important. Then you can get back to killing me repeatedly.

Also, there's no PS2 version, right?
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
You are indeed listed in the booklet as "Robert Ligouri"!

I'm not sure which one you are, though...
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
That is AWESOME, except they spelled my name wrong (or maybe you did) - it's Liguori.

I won't be able to tell which one I am until I actually get to play the game and get to kill myself.

I don't think I can overstate how excited I am at the possibility for killing myself in a virtual world. Repeatedly. Or how I find it fun and more than a little weird that probably hundreds of thousands of kids are killing me, repeatedly, right at this very second.
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
Ach, that was my typo. The booklet gets it right.

If you figure out who you are before I do, make sure you let me know so I can start wasting you virtually at every opportunity...
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
My friend, you will be the first to know. Sadly, I don't think I'll get a chance to find out, as I do not have/cannot budget for a PS3, and neither does anyone I know who is within subway distance.
doraphilia
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
are you joking or is this for real?

Also, Leonard, I know you're not my writer-pet who I can tell to write whatever I want, but I will admit to being bummed there is no Idol review today. I started watching Idol because of your awesome recaps!
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
quba
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
FRIENDS ONLYED.

Just for that, if I ever see you in Liberty City, I will kill you.
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Sorry 'bout that. Most of my journal is friends only. I just wrote the following last July:

"So, Rockstar is releasing Grand Theft Auto IV this October.

I have a friend who works for Rockstar.

They need voiceovers for some of the characters in GTA:IV.

Guess who's playing a pedestrian?"

And please, if you find me, kill me a lot.

The irony is, I live in New York City! Which is the model for Liberty City! What a country!
picodulce
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
I NEED TO GET THIS GAME IF ONLY TO KILL YOU IN A SLOW AND GRUESOME WAY.

oh. i didn't mean to type that, just think it, but what's done is done!
lester22
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
::cracking up::
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
No joke -- Rob is really a pedestrian/bystander voice in the new GTAIV. He's in the credits and everything.

I wish I could have written a whole Idol recap, but I missed almost half the show; I was just too busy. I barely even caught Paula's drunken craziness. I'll do better next week, I promise.
brandawg
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Much like real life, I think I enjoy the drinking aspect the most.
rjwhite
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
The subway? You can take the subway? Man.

I saw a video of a helicopter tour of the city. I so want it, just to go out and wander around the 64 world's fairgrounds.
ludickid
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
You could take the subway in GTAIII too, but it was just, you get on a train, two-second cut scene, you get off the train at a different location. In GTAIV, you actually can take the whole journey, have adventures, interact with people on the trains, etc.
rjwhite
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
MAN.

This, the upcoming Ghostbusters game and LA Noire are wearing me down more and more.
fiberpunk
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
I'm impressed with how they pace the introductory missions so that you don't have to deal with too many of the game mechanics at once.

My gripes are that driving quickly is a lot harder (Roman's car isn't so bad, but I couldn't drive a sports car above about 40mph without fishtailing all over the place), and that in the second girlfriend mission, the system deleted my car and then refused to send a taxi, forcing me to kick out the windshield of a van. That's usually something I save for the third or fourth date.
brandawg
Apr. 30th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
But did you try your luck for some warm coffee?
fiberpunk
Apr. 30th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Sssh! My wife reads this!
hipsterdetritus
May. 2nd, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
I loved the little gag they had at the expense of the whole Hot Coffee ordeal.

You know what else I loved? Some of the stuff on the TV -- I actually folded laundry while I watched it. There was actually a televised poker tournament... and guess where it was held?
moondispatches
May. 1st, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
I actually took the day off work to play it yesterday, which I realize is making my claims of not being a "gamer" harder and harder to swallow. While I am loving it, I don't think it is going to beat San Andreas for overall greatness. And I'm ok with that.
editrix26
May. 11th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Keith and I were amused that you can steal an airplane step car, which he did in homage to Arrested Development, although it turns out to be a crappy car to steal.
( 29 SHOTS LICKED — LICK A SHOT )

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ludickid
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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