Sunday, July 13, 2008

EPISODE TEN: "Not A Review Of GTA IV"

In which I most-emphatically DO NOT review one of the biggest titles of 2008.



I went back and forth about putting this one up now, my main concern being that putting up what boils down to a "yeah, but"-ing of one of the four or five biggest post-Playstation franchises isn't going to do much to deter my apparently growing reputation as a cranky nostalgia-gamer - the gaming equivalent of some aging-hippie film professor who STILL won't concede that "Easy Rider" has or ever will be surpassed... BUT it's a relevant entry and (more importantly) was finished and ready to go. I know I've been very blunt about not having a set schedule, but I do start to feel like a slacker if I let too much time go by.

And, of course, the near-garaunteed uptick in traffic that comes from being able to accurately place "GTA" in one's YouTube tags doesn't hurt, either...

23 comments:

Fossilgojira said...

Well done, overthinker! I think the future zelda would work, but I don't think midna would appear in it, or any new zelda except for a cameo, a lot of fans didn't react warmly to her (I thought she chewed up the senery too much). I'm having a harder and harder time thinking that rock-star will do anything other than GTA (bully doesn't count, they just changed the age of the characters), and your video only helps me reach that conclusion. Can't wait for the megaman/rockman 9 vid! 8P

BUS100 Team said...

Now I'm going to have visions of "The Legend of Zelda: Planet Hyrule" spinning through my head.

Enjoyable as always.

I personally first heard about MM9 from a rumor site. My first reaction was, "Yeah, come on guys, it's not April." But then Nintendo Power gave up screenshots and a boss list, and, I was ready to have my Wii points at hand.

I think MM9 will be awesome, but will only get picked up by people who are already fans. Going back to the NES stylings that comprised the majority of the classic series probably will not draw in the unappreciative younger (Post-Playstation) crowd that you dubbed, "the hardcore".

More the fool they.

Mike said...

Great post. I really enjoy watching/hearing your rants. I'm also a fan of AVGN and Zero Punctuation, but what I like about yours is that there's more sincerity and thoughtfulness.

Anyway, I haven't played GTA4 yet (just got a Wii though and it is bloody awesome). Your comments really hit home with me, because when I saw GTA4, I just found myself not caring that much. You're right on the money that it feels like the same thing once again.

Kippiskipp said...

ok dude, I usually love your video's but it is clear after this one that you just don't get GTA. The reason GTA is successful is because it is hilarious has realistic voice acting, and just has this really awesome feel to the game play. Why is it that Saints Row Never took off, or any of the other rip offs. Its because they just don't have the same feel as GTA(not a feel we are used to, its how the story moves and how it makes you feel like a badass)The games totally impower the player and that is a great feeling. Now did I also catch you say that Zelda and Mario had more creative stories than GTA. ... Zelda has been the same game since the SNES age. and I mean the exact same game. Even the light vs Dark world thing, i mean they ripped off them selves in twighlight princess. Mario has been killing the same enemies and doing the exact same thing since the super nes version as well. I understand you love Nintendo, and I can see why you could not like GTA's story, but there are alot better games to give as examples of good stories other than Zelda and Mario which are basically the flag ships of rewrapping a game over and over again but just putting shinier wrapping paper on it.

Fossilgojira said...

Remember folks: don't bait the trolls, or in this case the eight-year old.

OmniGeno said...

Haha, love the DS9-Voy reference as well as River City Ransom, which is my favorite game on the NES.

Mark said...

I bought my PS2 used, a few years back. It was one of those Ebay "lots" that had a bunch of games with it.

It had both GTAIII and Vice City.

I, to this day, haven't played either. Why? I have no idea. I *want* to, but, frankly, I'm a little discouraged by how epic they all are. I think I'm one of the only people alive who thinks many games are too long. But think of it this way: does anybody ever say "That movie was too short?". Maybe, but more likely that it was too long. Howbout, "Gee, that book was too short! Give me another 400 pages!" Or even crazier: "This painting is too small!". So, yeah, GTA is waiting, sitting on the shelf, well alphabetized...

End rant. Suffice it to say, I haven't yet played GTAIV, but wanted to say "great video" as usual. keep up the good work.

Twilight said...

Details on the game you mentioned in the last 2 seconds please? I could barley catch the name and the fact that it sounds like an unnoticed gem.

burnout said...

They (Rockstar) tried using the same formula GTA had, took away all the guns and hookers, and ended up with Bully. The game was well made, but it never sold in the same numbers the GTA series did. Why? Because they did something different, took a risk, and fell short. It's now apparent that a very small portion of the sales are attributed to the open ended gameplay. The vast majority of sales are attributed to shooting hookers, cops, and stealing cars. This is why the GTA series is stuck in the same rotting city environment. It sells.

NeoRanger said...

I know I'm over a year late in the party, but I'm going through as many installments of the series as I can again and I find it almost frightening how much I agree with that analysis.

The entire series is merely average; Rockstar seems to have ideas, but they either suppress them in favor of mediocre ones that bring money, or they just implement them poorly and to this day, every single GTA title is full (and I mean FULL) of bad design decisions.

I liked Vice City a lot, I admit, because the setting and the absurdity of its presentation worked. GTAIII was understandably successful, but scarily bland. San Andreas is, to this day, the lowest point of the entire series. It was a needlessly huge piece of crap, where "sandbox fun" translated to cutting your hair and screwing the stupid pile of polygons of your choice, while it carried the same design issues its predecessors did, on the same outdated engine, without the slightest bloody effort to truly improve on the series and make something worthwhile of it. What's worse, it felt mean-spirited,as what was once violence put under the perspective of cartoonish absurdity, had turned into "cool" just because it existed.

GTAIV at least has some consistency and effort that makes it an enjoyable experience-- the first time around. The entire shift toward realism, however, not only created hundreds of new problems from a gameplay standpoint (Liberty City seems huge only because you have to follow traffic laws, since the cars control like crap), but also in its lasting appeal. Did you really want to go back to the game once the story mode was over?

I've ranted in an old video for too long, so I'll just stop here. I just hope at some point the audience will get their shit together and allow the entire industry to move forward instead of clinging back to old habits, just transferred on newer hardware.

And then, we might get a game like Bully (the best Rockstar game I've played).

masamuneeternal said...

IV has been to date the only GTA I have ever finished and that's because it was the only one whose shooting I could actually tolerate. I've never been able to drool over the series and even after IV the best I can say is "yeah, it's solid". Plus the game had too many mechanics (like hand-to-hand for example) that it did for a mission or two and never, ever went back to since the guys at Rockstar know full well that the series' target audience just likes using it as a time-waster for jacking cars and shooting pedestrians.

The claims of IV being the best game since Ocarina of Time are also overblown and just an attempt to hype it. You can't say something like that when a game first comes out, that's something you say a generation or two from now and wonder what it did to shape the landscape of the industry. III might have done that with open-world gameplay last gen, but I don't see what IV does that could possibly influence things to come.

God, how long until Agent?

little rudi said...

To Kippiskipp:

You must be an extremely delusional person if you think GTA hasn't been the same thing for the past three titles. You are a fanboy, therefore you cannot be reasoned with. No one cares about the voice acting, no one cares about how funny it is. And if you feel like a badass from playing GTA then you must be either a total shut-in or still in grade school.

One more tidbit for you, the Saint's Row series has been doing really well. In fact I'm going to go as far as to say that it's better than GTA. You want to talk about empowerment? In Saint's Row, you can create your own character, recruit gang members that are actually useful in combat (San Andreas I'm looking at you.) It also has side missions that are actually pretty inventive and a blast to play, like the mini game in Saint's Row 2 where you shower people with a septic tank spewing sewage truck, or the hitman minigame where you actually have to go out and find the person you're supposed to kill instead of just being told to go somewhere and shoot someone.

You obviously have no idea what you're talking about.

Johannes said...

It seems you really do miss the point on GTA here. I agree with some of your criticisms, but the strength of GTA to me has never been the sandbox or the gameplay, it's the games social, political and video-game commentary.

GTA as a whole is a parody of American culture, knowingly pushing the boundaries for questionable subject matter just because they can. GTA doesn't force anyone to buy hookers and kill them, neither do they encourage or reward you in any particular ways for these actions, but programs them in to the game for you to choose to do by yourself.

The Frayed Ends of Sanity said...

I thought this video would end up differently until you came to the point of "GTA wouldn't be GTA with out actual grand theft auto" (or a reasonable paraphrase). The hard part of dealing with this series is always how far are you willing to go with a premise and I find myself encountering this again with Fallout: New Vegas. I loved the first two Fallout games and of course, I loved 3 despite the change in mechanics. But New Vegas is basically the game with a new story. So am I disappointed? Nope. Still love it. Sure, I would love them to make it more in depth and change the mechanics in some way to get a better game. But, what has always attracted me to Fallout is the story and the wonderful sense of humor.

And lets face it, GTA is no Fallout. I bought the 4th one nearly a year and a half after it was released, when the price had dropped enough for me to be interested and its everything I expect. If nothing else, the story is deeper, but GTA will always be GTA. The story HAS to be about crime and then the graphics can come in. The few twists in mechanics (stats, more customization, etc.) that I liked in San Andreas are gone. And the little winks Vice City gave you are gone as well. And GTA3... well, that's all there, but thats just core stuff. That WAS innovative. Give us something new GTA. Give us a reason to say, "Hey! This game is taking a new tact." Of course, as you said, they likely won't because of the worship of the series. So what they need to do instead is give us a new story tact. Give us something more to care about. I liked the interpersonal relaitonships of Nico, but did it have to be so intrusive. If I don't call a friend or ladyfriend for a day, why would they stop being my friend? Give us more contingencies ala a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game. If I don't make a certain buddy, it changes my experience. If I screw up a date, then I may have screwed up a possible ending. Its an open style game, so why have an closed style ending?

The Frayed Ends of Sanity said...

I thought this video would end up differently until you came to the point of "GTA wouldn't be GTA with out actual grand theft auto" (or a reasonable paraphrase). The hard part of dealing with this series is always how far are you willing to go with a premise and I find myself encountering this again with Fallout: New Vegas. I loved the first two Fallout games and of course, I loved 3 despite the change in mechanics. But New Vegas is basically the game with a new story. So am I disappointed? Nope. Still love it. Sure, I would love them to make it more in depth and change the mechanics in some way to get a better game. But, what has always attracted me to Fallout is the story and the wonderful sense of humor.

And lets face it, GTA is no Fallout. I bought the 4th one nearly a year and a half after it was released, when the price had dropped enough for me to be interested and its everything I expect. If nothing else, the story is deeper, but GTA will always be GTA. The story HAS to be about crime and then the graphics can come in. The few twists in mechanics (stats, more customization, etc.) that I liked in San Andreas are gone. And the little winks Vice City gave you are gone as well. And GTA3... well, that's all there, but thats just core stuff. That WAS innovative. Give us something new GTA. Give us a reason to say, "Hey! This game is taking a new tact." Of course, as you said, they likely won't because of the worship of the series. So what they need to do instead is give us a new story tact. Give us something more to care about. I liked the interpersonal relaitonships of Nico, but did it have to be so intrusive. If I don't call a friend or ladyfriend for a day, why would they stop being my friend? Give us more contingencies ala a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game. If I don't make a certain buddy, it changes my experience. If I screw up a date, then I may have screwed up a possible ending. Its an open style game, so why have a

tempatwisatadibandung said...

You can't say something like that when a game first comes out, that's something you say a generation or two from now and wonder what it did to shape the landscape of the industry. I'm going to go as far as to say that it's better than GTA. Did you really want to go back to the game once the story mode was over? The game was well made, but it never sold in the same numbers the GTA series did. Why? Because they did something different, took a risk, and fell short.

tas branded said...

Great post. I usually love your video's but it is clear after this one that you just don't get GTA.I understand you love Nintendo, and I can see why you could not like GTA's story, but there are alot better games to give as examples of good stories other than Zelda and Mario which are basically the flag ships of rewrapping a game over and over again but just putting shinier wrapping paper on it.

sriwijaya air said...

It also has side missions that are actually pretty inventive and a blast to play

batavia air said...

Can't wait for the megaman/rockman 9 vid! 8P. You're right on the money that it feels like the same thing once again.

baju batik said...

I think MM9 will be awesome, but will only get picked up by people who are already fans.

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