>If all had gone according to plan, this post wouldn’t exist. The plan was to leave Thursday morning to go up to my dad’s house for Thanksgiving, and to eventually return to the apartment on Saturday night, and Sunday would be a day of holiday decorating and football. Instead, my wife had the flu and I had a nagging head cold, and we stayed home. And so I played a lot of video games.
In list form, in descending order of time played:
- finished Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
- got a few hours into Gran Turismo 5
- kept dabbling in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
- went and bought Burnout Paradise on the PC thanks to yet another ridiculous Steam sale and got back into it very, very quickly
- Train Conductor 1/2 on the iPhone is insanely addictive
- played 2 games of NBA JAM HD with my brother, for old time’s sake
- and some Pinball FX2 with the wife.
I will give AssBro a more thorough examination later, once I’ve had a bit more coffee. But I can say, now, that I think it’s the best game in the franchise, and it will most likely wind up at #3 in my Top 10 of 2010.
As for GT5; I’ll be the first person to admit that what I know about cars could be inscribed on the rim of a shot glass with a dull Sharpie. But I really love driving games, strangely enough, and while I tend to prefer crazy, insanely fast stuff like Burnout, I have been known to get sucked into a Forza game for hours and hours. (I do have an aversion to NASCAR, though, which is probably similar to my aversion to country music and the tea party movement.) I needed to see what GT5 was all about for several reasons:
- I haven’t played a game on my PS3 since I finished FF13;
- The last time I played a GT game was on my friend’s PS1;
- I am a graphics whore (which reminds me, at some point I need to talk about this fascinating article, which I got from the lovely and talented Caro), and if there’s one thing that the GT franchise is famous for, it’s graphics;
- I loved the hell out of Forza 3, and felt obligated to see if GT5 was better; and
- After 5 years of development and endless delays, the curiosity was killing me.
After 2 hours of playtime, here’s what I can say about GT5.
- It’s prettier than Forza 3, generally. I’ve read lots of people who have been complaining about how horrible some of the cars look; to my eyes, it looks great. It’s worth finishing a race in last place just so that you can watch the pretty, pretty replays, which are utterly convincing and gorgeous. Some people complain that it’s bland; I’ve only been on a few tracks, and driven a handful of cars, so I can’t quite speak to that. One could maybe argue that it’s a little sterile, or perhaps a little too pristine.
- Is it as fun as Forza 3, though? Not sure. It’s certainly more accessible than I was expecting it to be, but that’s relative – when you’re buying a new (or used) car, the game doesn’t tell you what the car’s Top Speed is. When you’re like me and know nothing of horsepower and weight and acceleration, not giving out a car’s Top Speed is basically a slap in the dick, and I ended up losing a ton of races because I had unwittingly bought the wrong car.
- Further to that last point, the game doesn’t really dole out new cars and rewards the way Forza does. I’m still only in the beginner tier of races in the career and at least half of the events I’m looking at require vehicles that I don’t have, and I’ll have to retry events I’ve already won just to earn enough coin to afford an applicable vehicle – a vehicle that I’ll probably only drive once or twice until I get something better. Seems odd.
- I haven’t raced online, but the fact that the game’s single-player campaign was so horribly fucked up because too many people were crushing the game’s servers is absolutely unforgivable, especially for a game of this magnitude. And if the game’s developer is telling you to pull your PS3 offline so that you can play single-player without running into problems, that’s just absurd. PlayStation fanboys love talking shit about Xbox Live and how you have to pay for it when PSN is free, but file this under “You Get What You Pay For” as Exhibit 375.
I remain intrigued, though, and there’s so much content that it’s sure to get me through the winter. Although I may pull out Forza 3 again, just to compare/contrast. My gut reaction right now, though, is that Forza feels more generous and accessible; GT5 feels more authoritative and legitimate.
I was really looking forward to NBA JAM HD, and when my brother came over we finally got to try it out. My brother had a Sega Genesis as a kid and we played NBA JAM endlessly. The new game basically feels like the old game, which is great. The problem is that it’s really meant to be played with someone sitting next to you on the couch, and my brother lives in DC (and doesn’t own an Xbox). So, while it’s tremendous fun in the right conditions, it seems pointless on its own. I felt a little sad sending it back to Gamefly, but it is what it is.
AssBro final thoughts will go up either later today or tomorrow.