From a Gamer’s Basement

It’s Christmas week folks, so today is going to feature a very quick edition of From a Gamer’s Basement. We’ll start with two quick letters and answers (and/or) opinions and responses too them and then a brief commentary from me afterwards on whatever I want. Perhaps I’ll talk about cookies. Perhaps not. There really is only one way to find out. If that isn’t suspense I’m not sure what it. So let’s not waste time and get right into the first letter which (GASP!) actually didn’t like GTA: San Andreas. Needless to say, while I did put that stunningly positive Tribunal together, I myself don’t share in a fond love for the game so I needed to print this letter. Jason Mis writes:

Blurry, awful graphics while driving. At night the screen is so dark in some areas I couldn’t see where I was going. A camera that constantly pulls in right behind my car so I can’t see what’s in front of me, or when I change views it pans out too far. Huge areas that just mean extra aggravating driving to get from A to B. Inclines that slow most
vehicles to a crawl. The aiming has arguably gotten worse, the soundtrack mostly sucks. Loads of missions after Los Santos make little to no sense.

Then came the mission to kill officer Pulaski, who inexplicably is harder to take down than a T-1000. That was the last straw. When I was made to compare this game to Driver 2, I knew it was time to quit. It’s like Rockstar said let’s put in the equivalent of 250 hidden packages, 70 jumps, give a lone stealth move, finally let them swim like we always should have, and make confusing missions that are either tedious or near impossible. Sure the overall quality of the game will plunge, but “There’s so much to do!” everyone will say. Just keep them busy. I loved GTA3 and Vice City. PS1 graphics and some tedious side tasks could be let go when the missions were fun, but not in San Andreas when it just became a test of my will to finish it. This game should have been done on PS3 where it could be properly overhauled, but Rockstar got greedy.

It’s not like I want to bash a game I paid $50 for. I was having so much fun starting gang wars and recruiting members in Los Santos. I even got into the heavy rap that I normally hate because it just went with the atmosphere so well. But when the second area unlocks everything I did in LS was wiped out. The turf I fought to get and keep gone, no more Grove Street members to recruit. It’s like none of it counted for anything, and it killed the game for me.

If you guys could enjoy this game, good for you. Personally, I think Rockstar needs to stop adding icing and make a better cake. And I wish they would have had the guts to follow through and make the whole game gangsta style.

Well thought out criticism. I got a hate mail letter as well about the Tribunal, but decided to not print it, simply because this letter made a lot more sense, and he spelled everything correctly. Bad spelling really is a pet peeve of mine. Anyways my feelings on GTA: SA are this: I think it’s a good game. I’ve played it over some friends houses and seen other people play for extended amounts of time. I simply don’t think, even with all the gushing over “new” features, that it has added anything to set it apart from previous installments. In fact this game, while good, instills a fear in me. A fear that this is setting an example that says, “Yes you can give us the same game over and over with some slight variations or new, but not so new, features to keep you occupied while we never give you an actual original material.” So this letter, I think, accurately voices the minority opinion on GTA: SA. Jason’s points are valid, and I happen to agree with nearly all of them. Anyways, the next letter, from a Robert D., asks a question concerning my recent preview on the X-Box racing simulation game Forza Motorsport Robert asks:

I’m a die hard racer and Forza from what I’ve seen on the demo disc is not a true simulation – if it was it would have a true in-car view – not 10 feet behind or floating above the track – I can’t find any info anywhere on the views except for what’s in the demo – any info?

After doing some more research I shave found a definitive answer. Forza Motorsport, in edition to all the customization it features, will have four camera views for you to enjoy. They are: a “cockroach cam”, driver seat view, a close up view from outside the car, and a slightly further view from outside the car. So in a nutshell, yes, is does seem that you will have an inside the car view to give you that final racing simulation touch to give this game the complete package. Once again I would like to echo, as I did in my preview, of how solid a title this game seems to be. Mircosoft really seems to have gone the extra mile to make a game that caters to the racing fan in every sense of the term. But thanks for the question Robert because that information is probably of interest to a lot of gamers who may be debating on whether or not to own Forza Motorsport.

So with that taken care off, I’ll finish off with a brief commentary. Mostly I just want to wish everything a Merry Christmas. It’s a great time of year and it’s a time to take a look around and be very grateful for what you have. I know this holiday season (with my special circumstances with my girlfriend) has really been special to me for the simple reason because I am truly aware of how lucky I am, and how life can sometimes really surprise you. So make sure you stay safe and have a great time. Don’t forget to enjoy the games you guys get, because I know I will (I got some good stuff to open come the 25th). In terms of a column for next week, I make no promises. I am getting my wisdom teeth pulled at the ripe old age of 21 on the 27th so it’s going to be touch and go as to whether or not I feel like writing something. But fear not, today I finished up my preview on the new Star Fox game for the Gamecube, so you should see that sometime next week. Until then, once again, have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you back here again for another edition of From a Gamer’s Basement.