Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Is There Ever A Right Time To Stop Buying GTA Games? My Concerns




I love GTA, oh how I love it so. Ever since the tender age of 10 or so when I beat my first old lady to death with a bat, continuing on well into her death as the blood continued to paint the pavement in crimson red success around her, I knew I had a new favorite game. A Crash Bandicoot beater that fully deserved the title.

Now I’m just going to say for the record that Vice City is my favorite GTA and I found GTA IV relatively lackluster and pretty dull overall, although clearly very well made. Basically I saw the trailer to GTA V and then heard some rumors and what may or may not be official news and then based on what’s being lauded about the game e.g it’s size and multiple characters, I had a few fears that I wanted to vent about how I think GTA’s gotten quite drastically stale since San Andreas and a few of my concerns as to the potential ways in which the direction they’re taking the game may not help this fact.


Also I played the previous GTA games recently okay so don’t just say it’s nostalgia talking. It definitely might not be nostalgia. Let’s get going then shall we.

My first concern with the game is the supposed size of the map. Its size is larger than the maps of Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas and GTA IV combined. I remember the map from San Andreas, or at least part of it because you’d have to be rain man to recall all of that. I remember how impressive it was, how ridiculous the scale was for an open world game. But I also remember how long the journey times were, the expanse of nothingness for large parts, and I certainly remember no one including myself ever thinking that San Andreas was too small. If anything, San Andreas even back then, bordered on being too big. GTA, aside from its missions – which I’ll get to later, has only ever had rampages and for the most part very mildly distracting mini games to fill its world, give or take a few extra fun side missions like racing and vigilantism. Unless you’re blowing shit up or doing a mission, then there’s much else point to GTA other than going for a nice drive, which personally bores me after a few minutes.


But this is my concern about the size of GTA’s map, and that’s simply that by the sounds of it it’s way too big, and I mean to an almost retarded level. Sure they’ll throw in some minigames here and there, and alot more missions, but I still highly doubt that GTA V is going to take much longer to complete than its predecessors. Afterall, it took roughly under a hundred hours to collect everything in San Andreas, and that was the biggest GTA game to date. But GTA V is about twice the size of it and a part of me just can’t believe that it’ll take twice as long to complete. I mean GTA’s good but I really don’t see that there’s enough content to fill up what is basically a driving and shooting game. That’s all you really do after all. And even if it did take 200 hours to do, I can’t believe that that’ll stem from anything more than just extra time spent getting other places, or if you’re not retarded using the shit ton of money that you’ll earn to take taxis everywhere.

Although I've heard people saying that large rural environments are fine because red dead demonstrated that Rockstar can bring non urban environments to live with animals and such, this doesn't really fill me with confidence. Yes Red Dead’s rural environments were very much alive, but this was for two things, firstly that you noticed them because animal skin collection was a large part of the game, so you were forced to pay attention to the animals, as well as you were riding a horse at about 15 miles an hour. Now I know there’s alot of ways a gangster can make his millions in the game, but I don’t think that animal skins are going to be as great of an investment of the protagonists’ time as opposed to other things, like cocaine. I've seen a few junkies with syringes in their arm, but although I hope to, I've never seen a fur addict wondering the streets in his own shit and piss, thin and gaunt but hugged as snug as a mug by a fox skin throw. Regardless of that, the world always seems far more alive when you galloping calmly through it on a horse and not ploughing through at balls to wall speeds in a Scorpio. The unbreakable wooden poles in GTA are enough of a pain without having to plough through goats and bears and whatever the hell else is pissing about on the road, I’ll never make it to the objective, not that I would anyway because I’ll be bored to tears because of the insane journey times. This’ll be less of a GTA and more of a HD remake of Oregon Trail.

Which one is the Niko of the pack i.e fucking unbearable

Mission wise however is where I most worry about GTA V. I have to say that the fact there are three characters that you can switch between at any time sounds cool, and as long as it’s not messy, which given the fact it’s Rockstar, it’s going to look great and be smooth as hell, then that should add alot more complexity to the missions. I can actually see how this might cure the map being too large problem if you set out your characters in triangulated positions across the fault. It’s also good because if there’s a Niko in the pack it means we can swiftly abandon him for whichever character resembles Tommy Vercetti the most. I prefer my killers to enjoy what they’re doing. If I’m having fun then I want to know that the person I’m controlling is having a great time too. I don’t want to kill and entire city, carpet bomb a beautiful vista and then do a triple backflip out a jet and have my character complaining that it’s not the life he wanted, like a shitty house guest that came for Christmas and refused to leave.

I’m sure that plot and story wise this game will be excellent, the playable cast is getting bigger, there can be more interweaving plot lines, and it’ll feel like the attempted crossovers of the last three 4th generation GTA games condensed into  one big meaty as hell story. There’ll be killing, there’ll be reflecting on life and then there’ll be a bank robbery which will inevitably be the best mission. But what does concern me is that if there are no new features added to GTA then what I already felt was a stale mission structure can only get worse. I have to bring up saints row 2 here because I did feel, and I’m sure a few will agree with me that although it was nowhere near the standard of storytelling and overall quality of GTA IV, it did still have alot more stuff to do. It had more gameplay features and this led to overall more interesting missions. GTA IV to me felt like a perfect crime simulator, but in this case that wasn't a good thing, because a criminal’s job is boring. Go here, kill this guy, or maybe steal a car or kill more than one person. But there weren't many set pieces; there was no grand mission (other than the bank) that set each mission apart from one another. All it boiled down to for the most part was simply go here, kill or interact with that, and then drive back to receive your next mission, and I personally found it dull as hell.


There were a few stand out missions, but for the most part every mission descended into going to an area, getting rid of all the red dots, and then leaving the area. For the first time in a GTA game it was the plot and not the missions that kept me going through that game. Even by GTA San Andreas the missions were getting slightly duller, but this was also an issue of the map being way too big, but this problem was solved for the most part by including jets and bikes and hovercraft and planes and gang members, as well as that rarely used burglary mini game that managed to just about hold off the tedium. Not much information has been released at the moment, but we do know that jets and dogs are in the game. Now jets are good because you can have alot of cool missions in a jet, and it removes the constant grind of driving to a place and killing a man, when you can fly in a jet, land or alternatively sky dive out of it in order to kill a man. Unfortunately this has already been done in San Andreas and up until most recently Ballad of Gay Tony. It seems like they already shot their wad far too early and will have to add something a little more special but it will at least mix it up mildly. 

Aside from any other problems it may have, one of them isn't going to be not looking damn incredible

The problem is that if GTA’s core remains too similar, e.g driving and shooting, then that shit is just too old now to remain fresh. It’s stale as day old French bread. GTA IV tried my patience, but another 100 hours of just that for a basis of missions. That’ll kill me. It really is time that GTA needs something extra added to it, and it can be done in such simple ways that it doesn't even matter. Parkour would instantly give alot more mission variation. Although I would hate to see it even a Max Payne style bullet time would liven up the combat. Jesus even the Assassins Creed Revelations, pointless as hell, waste of time, excuse to lie to the audience and make them think you give a shit about content anymore bomb creation tool would liven up the game. I’m sure they’ll add something, but my concern is that if they play it too safe, if we've left that small period between Vice City and San Andreas where Rockstar seemed to be adding variants to the combat, adding more ridiculous stuff to do while not dipping in to the zany swinging dick show of Saint’s Row.

But there’s a part of me which thinks Dan Houser is probably too pleased with GTA’s realism, it’s sleekness, it’s respect and it’s ruling over the videogame medium as the Goodfellas of games, while saints row handles the Bugsy Malone side of the business. I just want more shit to do along with the basic drive and shoot package, and I don’t think that you need to sacrifice the seriousness and charisma that GTA has currently in order to do this. Like if you were going to make a sequel to Goodfellas it could be just as good, it wouldn't necessarily have to be a Joe Pesci spin off where he gets resurrected and becomes a rapper.
Although technically this has already happened...On second thoughts maybe they should leave GTA V well alone.

I’m just saying there’s a sweet spot, and if they could find it, you know that thing, that magic, then GTA can save itself from becoming stale, or staler than it already is. But I'm getting a worrying feeling that having had a game with back to basics features set in Liberty City and now a game with jets, dirt bikes and parachutes set in San Andreas, it almost feels like Rockstar are just giving us the same thing as the last console generation all over again but in a newer engine. And if that is the case then where the hell is the Vice City remake.



I guess all we can do now is wait and see what they lay out on the table in the subsequent months before its March release. And if they don’t then I’m still gonna buy the damn things anyway so who cares what I think. Rockstar I salute you and your ability to release the same product over and over again and still make me buy it because I’m just too bored to find something else to do.

God bless the gaming industry

10 comments:

  1. Can i just say, i know diddly squat about Grand Theft Auto but welcome back Billy Bob - you've been gone too long!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou stranger, I'll be sure to have more pointless thoughts and write about them

      Delete
  2. That has to be the worst question I have heard this year! Please do us all a favor and stop posting this garbage and keep playing your GTA 3! You gotta be on some good shit....saying GTA 4 wasnt good, moron.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, GTA IV was really fun.

      Delete
  3. Let us hope there a lot of mini games to keep us from getting bored and something that gives us a reason into exploring the world. Originally, that is what got me into GTA. Wondering what ridiculous mini-game I had to perform by going across the map. One of my favorites actually turned out to be the big rig 53 foot truck driving missions in San Andreas. There was 10 levels and I remember levels 7 and on were really tough. If you hadn't explored or paid attention to the roads you really had a tough time of completing the missions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree they were strangely addicting, although bordering slightly on too long and a soul drain to tip it just at the last minute. Also watching that damage bar with all the concern of a mother watching her retarded son near a canal was stressful as hell, but with some K Rose on the radio and my limited edition San Andreas bandana on my head, nothing made me happier as well.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous 2nd - if you're going to call someone a moron, you'd better learn how to spell favour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaah a grammar and spelling battle, this is the reason I set up a website with a comments section.

      Delete
  5. This looks like it will be the best game of 2013, of course it will be worth buying, have you even seen the second trailer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah saw it after writing this. Pretty damn excited now, but then again Rockstar trailers are always incredible. All I'm concerned about is that the game will burn itself out if it's too long and not varied enough. There could still only be just one great train crashing mission and then it could be tedious from then on. But I agree, probably won't be.

      Delete