>1. The latest Giant Bombcast is probably the best one they’ve come out with thus far; it’s funny without being “wacky”, focused, and informative. They also have a rather nice discussion about GTA4 that I soooooo wish I could have been a part of; namely, what to expect in the next iteration.
Ryan and Jeff talk about how Vice City and San Andreas were not totally unexpected choices when the franchise moved to 3D – those were cities where GTA had apparently already taken place in earlier games. I’m not entirely sure I agree with their implied assertion that the city came first in those games, and then the story (Jeff mentions something quickly about Vice City seemed like a great place for boating, which was a new mechanic in that game); it seems to me that it wasn’t the city but the films they decided to embody. Both Vice City and San Andreas don’t even really bother hiding their cinematic inspirations, as it seems pretty obvious that the developers basically picked Scarface and Boyz in the Hood as jumping-off points, respectively.
More to the point, Jeff says that his expectations for a new GTA game have definitely changed since playing GTA4 – it’s not the city that’s the most important thing as much as it is the story, and I absolutely agree – although it should be said that this new Liberty City is a staggering achievement, on a multitude of levels (technological, artistic, geographic, architectural, the city just feels right), and the city goes farther than any before it towards making the story feel real and emotionally involving.
That said, the city is usually the first thing that Rockstar reveals whenever they’re getting ready to release a new GTA game. Jeff talks about London (yay!) as something he’d like to see, but also raises a very interesting question, and one that I hadn’t considered – would American audiences be alienated by the switch to an unfamiliar locale, considering how the GTA franchise is famous for its satire of American pop culture? I think it could work if the lead character was an American; certainly that would help the American audience see the city through a foreigner’s eyes. London isn’t that strange a place, anyway, and certainly there’s enough of it that would be recognizable. I also think that Rockstar could do a lot with London, and not just in terms of “Austin Powers and ugly teeth” jokes. They’re from Scotland, anyway – I feel like this would be right in their wheelhouse.
Anyway. It’s kinda ridiculous for me to be theorizing about GTA5 when I’m still working on GTA4. I haven’t had much opportunity to play this week; I’ll maybe do a mission in the morning, before I go to work, and then I’ll play for an hour or so before going to bed. Last night, for example, I decided to ignore the story and go over to the airport to get the 4-star and 500-foot wheelie Achievements, which I succeeded in doing. I died a few times after that, though, and in the process I lost a ton of money and weapons, and I didn’t save my game. The Achievements aren’t going away, though…
2. Brought home BOOM BLOX for the Wii last night, and my wife and I played through a bunch of the multiplayer; we had a great time, but both of our right arms are absolutely killing us today. Towards the end of our time we figured out that it’s not so much in the arm motion as it is in the wrist, and we only figured that out because we couldn’t really move our arms anymore.
The game is loosely similar to Jenga, but more destructive and more responsive. The physics are absolutely spot-on and you really feel connected to the action on the screen; the controls are very intuitive and responsive, too (although not totally 100% accurate). I’m not sure it’s a game we’ll be playing forever and ever, but certainly it’s something we can pick up and play.
3. Had a rental copy of Metroid Prime 3 laying around for a while, and I decided to pop that in just to see if it was worth holding on to. Short answer – not really. The storytelling is sophomoric at best and the controls are irksome. I’m not a huge fan of the series so maybe that’s why I was so quick to dismiss it; in any event, I played up until the first boss and then sent it back to Gamefly.