Wednesday, October 27, 2004

grand theft andy

so...here's a little adventure i took last night.

As you all know, the latest grand theft auto game hit stores yesterday. this was a big deal for me because i love the gta games and am always entertained while playing them. i think rockstar (the developer) does an incredible job of creating a life-life feel in the game; everything from the open ended nature (you can walk/drive/bike around a huge city, just for the hell of it) to the life-like dialogue is amazing...everything just seems to fit.

of course, the main draw of GTA is the fact that you always play some sort of thug and you can pretty much do whatever you want. of course, you may build up some stars (increase your wanted level) in the process, but that only adds to the fun.

anyhow, i've been looking forward to this game for quite some time. knowing how popular it would be, i decided to take advantage of a special target had going: put five bucks down on gta or halo2, and get ten bucks off another game instantly. since i was buying a game in the next few days, i thought this was a great deal. i went to target, put my five bucks down, bought rainbow six 3: black arrow, and thought everything was great. until last night.

last night, i get home, grab my 'reserved' ticket, and head back out into the rain for my game. i get to target, walk in, head for the electronics "department" (if you can call it that - it's the definition of lame) and slap my ticket on the glass counter housing the digital cameras and lithium batteris. the kid looks at me for a second, and i know i am going to be very unhappy; i can see it in his dulled eyes.

"yeah, uh...that game, you know? we have it..."

"okay, cool, i reserved one"

"well, see, our department manager, who's like, eighty years old and doesn't really know what he's doing, wrote in our store ad that the game isn't available until tomorrow."

"but...it comes out today."

"yep, i know, huh?"

"so, i could just run over to fred meyer's (our local one-stop-shopping conglomerate that has yet to be taken over by wal-mart) and buy it then, right?"

[looking surprised and wondering why he hadn't thought of that] "well, yeah! you could!"

"so...what's the point of reserving a game and then not getting it the day it comes out?"

"you know...our manager's, like eighty years old..."

I was out of there. I could care less if I spent five bucks (which I ended up getting back, anyhow) to reserve that game...i was getting it last night. so i went across the street and spent my money else where...take THAT, target!

but i digress.

so, i played the game for an hour or so and am loving it, save for one reservation, which i'll get to in a second. first off, the game plays pretty much like vice city, which is cool. no learning controller configs or anything like that. secondly, the soundtrack (as i had predicted), kicks serious ass. anything from the 90's, from hip hop to rock, is prominently featured. whenever you get into a car, 2pac or soundgarden or swv or any number of early 90s musicians are playing. very cool and very authentic.

thirdly, the dialogue is taken to the next level on this one. while the first two gta games were monumental in providing gamers their first official f-bombs, they were done so sporadicly [sp?] to ensure the game wasn't banned. obviously they don't care this time around, because the game is unreal in how many swear words are packed into it. i'm not offended by it, so i think it enhances the flavor of the game, especially since the game is supposed to be taking place in gangsta la. so, think "boyz in tha hood" or "menace 2 society" and you pretty much have an idea of the dialogue - it's graphic, but it's supposed to be and feels in place with the game. also, the celebrity voice talent for the main characters is, in short, awesome. Sam Jackson, Chris Penn, Peter Fonda...seriously...unbelievable.

alright, now for my one reservation: the graphics. while the environments certainly look real enough and are detailed, the graphics overall just aren't doing it for me. i guess i've been playing too much xbox lately, because i can really tell where the graphics just can't hang in comparison to the xbox. the game seems to to get choppy every now and then, but other than that, san andreas is an unbelievable game (so far) and it's set to only get better.

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