Archive for April, 2008
With all the controversy surrounding previous GTA games along with Bully and Manhunt, I was expecting the devs to cool it this time and keep a low profile. I was wrong.
This video is not safe for work at all. Higher res version here.
I have to admit, this game looks like a ton of fun.
Recently we pointed to IGN’s perfect 10 review of GTA4. I couldn’t be more excited about the game, however, some critics have a point: Isn’t the concept of exclusive reviews suspicious? Obviously, such an early exclusive review drives web traffic for the news site and creates influential early impressions among consumers.
Do exclusive reviews represent a clear conflict of interest?
A few points:
- Any pre-release review released with exclusive publishing rights, while other media outlets are under embargo restrictions, is obviously pre-screened. Even if all reviews were genuine and pure, the publisher is going to cherry pick among them and only grant exclusive-coverage deals to the more positive ones.
- Since game scores and media coverage is so influential, especially among the “inner circle” of influential media outlets, some corruption should be expected. There’s a clear conflict of interests. Publishers pour time/money into shifting media converage to a favorable light, and why wouldn’t they?
- IGN’s scores are widely respected for a good reason. They have earned a strong reputation among many over years of review scores. (Clearly, many disagree, but in general, they have earned high credibility). I still haven’t played GTA4, but I lean to believe that the review is justified. I’m sure that plenty of reviewers engage in corrupt coverage practices, however I’d suspect IGN is less guilty of this given their record.
Any SOCOM fans out there? Here’s a video interview with some actual gameplay footage in there. Once I get a job I might pick this one up – downloaded, even.
Of interest to me were the comments right near the end where they said that you can use the SIXAXIS motion controls to lean your character, among other things. I wonder if this will end up being the first really useful SIXAXIS feature?
The reviews for GTA 4 are starting to come out. IGN hasn’t given a score this high in ten years! Wow!
I tried this game with a dualshock 3, and it’s good, but IMO, to get the real immersion factor, you need the steering wheel controllers. The G force sensations are still the big omission, but overall, this game comes surprisingly close to delivering the genuine racing sensation. The force feedback effects are much more involved than the simple buzzing you get from the dualshock: you feel all the bumps in the pavement and the tension in the wheel whenever you go into a tight turn. Also, the full 900 degree turning radius on the newer wheels is a huge improvement over older wheels that just let you turn within an artificially small range. Even though you only use a small part of that during regular racing (you won’t be doing too much parallel parking), it makes a big difference.
I use the Driving Force Pro, but if you are thinking about buying a new wheel, you are probably best waiting for the Driving Force GT, which looks like a slightly upgraded model. The Logitech G25 is also highly regarded, but that is at a way higher price point. For all but the most hardcore looking to get a real racing wheel, I’d recommend waiting for the GT.
Overall, this game is great. It’s surprisingly improved from GT4. I wasn’t expecting much because: the graphics were already spectacular in GT4 so an upgrade in this department sounds predictable and mundane, none of the feature list bullet-points sounded exciting, and it’s the same basic formula with less content.
Thankfully, it’s a lot better than that. The graphics are a huge upgrade and it’s very noticeable. The driving feels much more realistic and the computer cars are more fun to race against. The track selection and event selection is definitely limited next to GT4, but there is still plenty to do. I’ve logged many hours into this already, and it definitely has longevity to it.
The new interface is great. Loading times are much snappier than GT4. The selection of cars isn’t near GT4, but it’s surprisingly complete and will have most favorites. The in-cockpit racing view is beautiful. And, overall, the whole game still has that hyper fine polish, style, and attention to detail that the series is known for.
There is a limited selection of tracks, and a limited selection of events and ways to progress through the game. While it’s great to finally get online play, the online mode is currently very simple.
I went to a large arcade recently, and played several arcade racers: it’s amazing how much better home systems are today. Of course, the arcade games are designed for quick novelty enjoyment, while the home systems are designed for more extended and serious play. Also, the home steering wheels are much nicer quality. This is probably because the arcade equipment is designed mainly to tolerate public abuse and easy repair rather than to provide accurate control and complex force feedback effects.