I am now officially
moved. The last few weeks have been nothing but stress and chaos as
I moved at work and moved at home. However, it has all passed and it
is now all taking shape. I now have a bit of unpacking and
organizing to do, but I can happily say that the important details
I have my important game
systems hooked up, my Internet is live and active (as you can tell
by this being online), and my entertainment room is shaping up
nicely. Many thanks to Meat Shield for pointing out some important
steps to not only make my big screen more comfortable to view, but
also to point out how to make it more Wii-accessible.
There are still many
ways to improve and adapt to having so much more space, but I am now
finally at the point in which I can breath easy and relax a little
bit. I can take a little time to play some Puzzle Quest or Crackdown
between projects. I can also make things comfortable and not just
passable, if this makes sense.
On a different note, I
have yet to see the trailer for GTA4, but it is active and out
there. I have, however, seen some still shots of it, and I must say
that I really need to see the live trailer. Supposedly, it was
created with all in game shots of the actual game in action. I wish
Rockstar would clarify as to if this was PS3 or 360 images, or both.
However, the one thing I noticed right away is that people are
looking better and the water looks freakin' nice.
I hope the game lives up
to the standards that GTA3 through San Andreas created for the
sandbox-crime genre. It'll be hard to say until late summer/early
fall when the game finally hits store shelves. However, knowing
Rockstar (and how they usually fail, unless it's GTA), GTA4 should
be well worth the price of admission...at the very least.
I am also happy to see
that the main character is breaking away from many of the old
stereotypes. It's not an Italian Mafia type. It's not a black gang
banger. It's not some sleazy Miami Vice stereotype. If the main
character is indeed the Eastern European guy shown in the trailer,
then it's nice to see that we're not dealing with the standard issue
assortment. True, Eastern European crime lords have been done
before, but not to the large extent that the previous ethnicities of
GTA protagonists have been played out. Hopefully, this will be a
fresh start for a new generation, and hopefully Rockstar will keep
up the addictive quality title that they gave so much of last
I finally was given the
chance to see the GTA 4 trailer. I have to say I'm impressed. If
Rockstar was telling the truth (that the trailer was made entirely
with in game video), then this will be one hell of a smooth looking
game. The characters look great. The vehicles look smooth and
polished. Most of all, the backgrounds (including buildings and
water) all look breathtaking. This is going to be, at the very
least, one smooth and polished game when it finally hits in October.
I just hope that
Rockstar takes the lead set by Saint's Row and Crackdown by
revamping their combat controls. Saint's Row used a fully two
analogue stick aiming technique that was far more enjoyable than the
classic and broken GTA3-SA lock on button style. More than that,
Crackdown gave the Saint's Row controls, but with a really fun lock
on button that gave the ability to make precisely called shots.
Also, the leveling up system of Crackdown would fit nicely with the
skills that were introduced with San Andreas. If the entire
Crackdown combat system could be converted to GTA4, then I see good
things in the future for Rockstar.
Rockstar would usually be the innovator in sandbox games, it will be
an unusual position for them to be in. They are now being forced to
be the imitators in this new generation. However, if they can
imitate, as well as innovate, for the new GTA generation, then I see
some great times ahead for GTA addicts (like myself).
Also, seeing the
actual trailer, I now can see that this could be one hell of a fun
protagonist to control. The idea of playing Eastern European
(definitely not Russian in my mind, despite what message boards seem
to imply...maybe former Soviet country, but not quite pure Russian)
will open a lot of new style for playing. You're no longer the
traditional Italian American born into a comfortable life. You're
also not some gang banger trying to unite the ghetto.
You can now be
someone who truly has seen the worst of life, and not just the worst
of American life. While I did enjoy playing as CJ in SA, it was an
old story for my palette in entertainment. This mysterious
protagonist for GTA4 will be able to bring about some unique takes
on what may be mundane for a typical sandbox crime genre
Also, while GTA4
is obviously set in good old Liberty City (of GTA3), e it goes
beyond. Afterall, while a good deal of it was wasted space, I liked
the vast size of San Andreas. I hope they can go beyond and bring us
some suburbs, extra cities, or maybe even give us what may be the
most amazing possible idea; a game which allows us to travel, via
jets, to each of the PS2 GTA settings (like how we returned to St.
Mark's Bistro from Liberty City for a mission in GTA:SA). I would
love to have that scope of size and that level of exploration to a
game. Plus, with how nicely Liberty City has been touched up, I feel
like I need to see Vice City and San Andreas in the new generation.
At the very least, Vice City and Las Venturas and/or Los Santos (San
Fierra was a bit empty for my taste the first time around).
On a different
note, I think Harmonix is finally reading minds. Afterall, ever
since Guitar Hero came along, I thought that they needed to tie in
games like Karaoke Revolution and Donky Konga, in the sense of
including drums and a mic to really bring about that whole feeling
of being in a rock band with your friends. Well, that would be the
basic gist of their next game;
The only part of
Rock Band that has me concerned is that it's so far looking like a
game more focused on the PS3 than being equally focused on 360
support (however, there are so many articles out there with unique
information on this game that I may just not have read enough to see
the whole picture...yet). Considering that four people could make
the game work right, and three would not be too bad, the 360 should
be entirely plausible to play a game like this on. I know that
Microsoft is being a jerk in regards to making wireless accessories
for the 360, but you could always use wired instruments (like with
Guitar Hero 2 on the 360), and toss in the requirement of a USB hub
to round out to four players. In fact, since the drum doesn't have
to go anywhere, the drum could include a built in hub on the back.
Also, with the
obvious benefit of the 360 Live Marketplace versus the half-assed
PS3 online store, it would be an obvious advantage for the game to
be 360 friendly and include the future ability to download new
content packs (songs).
Most of all, with
the much larger install base of 360 versus PS3 in the US, and how
Rock Band will obviously be a game mainly targeted to the US, it
would only make sense for Harmonix to go for the largest possible
audience...ala the 360.
I know it's still
early in the Rock Band development to get too many conclusions
formed about the game. However, I hope to see more hints that the
game is being made equally for both consoles and that the 360 is
less of an after thought.
problem with scaling games from 720 to 1080 that the PS3 has, and
the obvious price difference, I know I will not be joining a Rock
Band this year unless Harmonix makes a cross-platform title. I still
refuse to buy a PS3 until it can handle my awesome 1080i TV (that
lacks 720 support). PS3 fanboys can say, to their heart's content,
that I need a new TV...however, my TV rocks and I still feel that
the PS3, on the other hand, needs a proper scaler before it will
enter my home...and a realistic price point.
There were no posts the
last two days for a couple of very good reasons. The most important
being that my father and I were tearing up my new house to get
everything in working order. Most of it was boring and un-geek. I'm
talking about putting in a new kitchen faucet, fixing one of my
fridges, adding a button to go with the two exposed wires that make
up the doorbell, and other minor issues.
However, the most
important part, for my geek side, was also handled. We placed the
wall mounts for my surround sound system. This means, for the first
time since I bought my surround sound system (in 2003 or 2004) that
the speakers are all placed in uniform places within a rectangular
room. In other words, I now can use real surround sound with a real
quality place and not just stack speakers on whatever object
approximated what I wanted. Toss in the fact that my sub-woofer can
now be cranked up (living near the airport means all my neighbors
have good enough insulation and windows to keep out my fun noises),
and I am becoming one happy geek.
The other reason
for my lack of posting was how I neglected my surround sound pumping
systems in favor of the addiction I call Puzzle Quest. I am now
about level 43 with my warrior, and I can easily see that the
warrior is broken starting at level 30.
Level 30 sees a
skill called Deathbringer appear in the warrior's spell list. This
spell, assuming you've level fire mastery (which increases your max
red MP and how quick you obtain red mana), sees you making one skull
for every two red in your mana pool. This means, with high fire
mastery, that out of the 64 pieces on the grid, you can make about
30 or so skulls. That equals a lot of damage and a great chance of
getting four in a row, or better (which equals a free extra turn).
If the enemy survives, and you have enough saved up, a quick dose of
berserker rage (I think that's the name) killing off your foe as you
turn all red mana pieces into skulls, along with the ability to make
another free action. Put those two skills together and the enemy is
I don't know how
close I am to finishing Puzzle Quest, but I need to keep playing. I
don't mean I "want" to continue...no. I NEED to. This is an
addiction unlike any video game I have ever encountered. It's as
addictive as Katamari, but since PQ is so much longer, you cannot
stop for many more hours.
I should be
posting more next week than I did this week. However, for now I will
call it quits. I just don't have much to say, unless you want to
hear more about PQ...in which case, I suggest you get the game and
become an addict yourself.