I am so damned
tired today. Let's just say that plans, puppies, and sleep don't
always become the best of friends. So, sacrificing one of those,
sleep was the one to suffer. I probably made the right decision.
caught Harold and Kumar 2. I have to say this movie was everything I
hoped for and so much more. If you enjoyed the first movie, then
this one is required viewing. It's worth a matinee, followed by a
regular priced showing...probably with buying the DVD upon it's
release following in many months.
anything, there are two important scenes I have to just hint at on
how awesome they were. The first deals with how Kumar was introduced
to pot with a quick cameo of an emo Harold.
The second, and
without a doubt one of the best scenes from a movie in any comedy
I've seen is what follows after the scene from one of the trailers.
It's the point after Neil Patrick Harris tells Harold and Kumar to
hide under a blanket in the back seat of his car. It's also the
infamous unicorn scene. The pure comedy of this moment is beyond
description. If I was watching the movie on DVR or DVD, I would have
had to rewind and watch this one a second time.
In fact, any scene
with NPH, just like in the first movie, is amazing beyond words. I'm
glad to see that there's an actor out there who is willing to put
themselves into a role that is such a twisted spoof on their own
real persona. The only thing that comes close is James Woods on
Family Guy, and even that is horribly lame in comparison to NPH in
Harold and Kumar 2.
throwing out one more thing about the movie...when my friends and I
saw the credits rolling, we didn't know if we should stay or if the
movie was done. Well, the theater emptied and we remained. It was
worth it. There is a quick scene that only lasts a few seconds
afterwards, but it answers one of the most important questions that
lingers during the movie; what happened to a certain character. Stay
those extra minutes of the credits. It's worth it.
gears...you need to familiarize yourself with the clutch and the
stick in the center of your vehicle. At first you must take it
slowly, and depress the clutch. Upon full depressions, you can shift
gears, release the clutch, and apply the gas.
me into a useful and helpful person. You are now ready to
familiarize yourself with a manual transmissions. Next time we will
cover double clutch mechanics in larger trucks and older
midnight many retailers are having GTA4 launches. I'll be skipping
this. On one hand, I am so damned tired that I randomly decided to
explain shifting gears in a manual transmission. On the other hand,
by the time I got home from the Gamestop I pre-ordered at (near my
work, since it's three blocks from my work), it would be around 1 or
later. I would, therefore, just go straight to sleep...and not be
able to play until around 3PM tomorrow. On the other hand, if I
picked up GTA4 at work tomorrow and played upon returning home, I'd
be playing at 3PM, but I'd also be playing without sleep
deprivation. I think the means and the ends of these outcomes both
point to sleeping tonight.
However, you can
expect two things in the coming days. For one, I will not be
abandoning Rock Band, so I'll have my thoughts and/or experiences to
tell about on Zero and the two Mother Hips songs.
Secondly, I'll be
talking about GTA4 almost every post. This game is beyond amazing.
If you need further proof, check out the video review at IGN (which
I am too tired to find a link for), which was posted late last week.
This game looks like it's so much more than what I ever expected.
Even the reviewer in the video review said something that seems to
sound about right; it's more than worth $60...it's probably well
worth paying $300 for the game. This is possibly one of the first
games that may be worth buying a console just for one single game. I
cannot even begin to fathom that idea since I would never buy a
console for a single game...
...ok, I did buy a
Sega CD just for Lunar. However, that was during my youth when money
was something spent on fun and not spent on mortgages, utilities,
gas, and all of that adult stuff. Plus, Lunar was worth a (at the
time) $125 dollar add-on for my Genesis. Especially when I found
Lunar for $5 used at the local video store (before Blockbuster was
the only game in town, so you could find some cheap used rentals
that weren't just Pluto Nash and Water World).
To end my
ramblings for today, one more piece of advice; if you get a smart
and agile dog, prepare for boredom to set in if it's left alone. In
other words, if you play video games or have other cables lying
around, anti-bite sprays are important...so says my, as of 24 hours
ago, wireless PS2 Guitar Hero guitar. At least that wasn't a powered
cable, and now everything is coated with a nasty tasting mist. Also,
as bonus advice, spray on the stuff from far away from your
face...or else the mist will get in your mouth and death will seem
like a favorable thing in comparison.
Today I should
have GTA4 by the time I post this online. For now, I'm at work and
it's a few hours before I will pick up GTA4, and that's a few hours
before I post. If I lived in a different time (read: if GTA4 came
out before I changed employers) I would have taken the day and maybe
the week off from work to become completely entrapped by this game.
However, living in a day when I don't have a bank of vacation and/or
sick days, it just means I have to deal with my day job before I can
get to my desired activities. Viva the grown up life!
My only fear at
this point is that I don't get my copy of GTA4. Sadly, the more I've
anticipated a game that I pre-ordered, the more likely it is for
Gamestop to give away my pre-order. It happened with a few games
(Tales of Symphonia for the GCN stands out particularly in my mind),
and it always comes back to haunt me.
Anyway, today is
also the day that Zero comes to Rock Band for DLC. On top of that,
this is the week that also brought us Mario Kart for the Wii. It's
just too much at once. I guess it's good to have so much now instead
of only getting all the best titles and DLC in the fall. Still, it's
a bit overwhelming to put up with it all with so little time and
money to go around. At least the money part is offset at this time
of year due to the wonders of tax returns (hint: owning a house
really makes tax returns into something special...thousands of
Speaking of the
other end of the year, the first batch of
DLC for GTA4 on the 360 is being expected now around the fall.
While I like the thought of DLC to bring about more life from a
game, I really don't care for DLC not coming until half a year after
the game launches.
By the time most
DLC comes along for a game I care about, I simply no longer care.
There's only so long that most games can hold my attention span. The
sole exception being Rock Band, but that only seems to be true
because of it receiving DLC every single week to keep the game
Anyway, I have
important things to do right now instead of post. That simply
translates to the fact that if I don't get my work done for the day,
then I'll be at work late and stuck from my precious GTA4. So,
instead of rambling any more, I'll just part with one last thing to
say...expect a lot of thoughts about GTA4 tomorrow.
First of all, the
rock band songs for yesterday...
I have to say that
I was less than enthralled by the Mother Hips songs. The note
charts looked like they were probably pretty fun, but the sounds of
the two songs were just a little too folksy for my tastes.
While I do enjoy a good note chart, I still need it to be found with
a song that I find fun to listen to. So, with that in mind,
those songs just weren't for me. If it's your thing, then more
power to you. However, I'd give the songs a listening (listen
to a clip in the Rock Band store) before buying. If you like
the sound you hear, then download and guitar will make you happy.
Zero...awesome song and fun note chart. Yes, the guitar is a
little repetitive, but it's still a blast to play and the song is
one of the best choices for the Pumpkins on Rock Band. I call
it well worth the price ($2) of admission. Plus, it might be a
Pumpkin's song that's easy enough for all parts to rock out at
without any instrument being put through an unnecessary gauntlet.
Now to heart of
the matter for today; GTA4!!!!
Holy shit, this
game is awesome. However, before going on about how great it
is, I have a complaint I must address. Why address this issue
right away? Because it is one issue you may encounter right
away (before starting a game). The game is one of the few I
know that doesn't let you play with any controller when the game
starts. What does that mean? It means that if you're
like me, with four controllers always plugged in (two guitars,
drums, and a regular controller), you may be asked to sign in
despite having your regular controller plugged in. I had this
happen. I wondered what was up and saw that only my drums
would allow me to make any selection (log in or don't save
progress). I unplugged the drums, and then I fired up a back
up controller (now on slot 1). This still wouldn't work, so I
quit to the dashboard and restarted GTA4. After a long load
screen, I then was told to log in again. Neither controller
worked, and the game required one of my guitars to log in. In
the end, the solution is simple, but defeats the wireless
controllers of the 360 (being able to fire up a game from the couch
or a chair)...you have to unplug all other non-standard controllers
prior to starting the game and then one of them will be able to play
the game. This is not something I'd expect in a time when
other games will allow any controller, regardless of slot its active
on, to be the player's controller.
Ok. After I
fixed that issue, I started the game. Like with any GTA game,
the first few minutes is like treading water in a vat of Jell-O.
That is to say that it's different enough from past GTA games that
you will be sloppy at the game when you start. While the main
(on foot) controls are quick enough to pick up (at least enough to
play), driving is a lot different than previous GTA entries.
That cars are a lot more realistic (no more turning on a dime with
the hand brake), and more difficult to control. Maybe I'll
pick up their controls better with time, but for now it's just a bit
weird feeling. There is something that will help you out on
this front, but it comes later in my post.
As for the main
single player game, it's all like you'd expect. Which is to
say you have a giant ass city (and this city is freaking huge) with
a lot to do (see a show, go bowling, darts, video games, watch TV,
explore, build friendships, build relationships, have "warm coffee"
with girls) and a lot of cool place to see. I mean you have a
far more accurate feel of New York City this time around with the
Statue of Liberty, Time Square, Central Park, more islands, and a
lot more detail in each place. You also can explore more areas
with better swimming controls, the ability to climb ladders, and
better ability to climb over fences and obstacles. You also
have your usual assortment of missions to chose from, with driving,
shooting, extorting money by throwing bricks through windows (and
you can pick up and throw some objects like bricks), fighting, and
escaping from police.
That brings up the
change in police. If you're wanted, you get a small search
radius around you, which grows as your wanted level grows. At
one star, it's small, and at four it will be hard to get out of.
As long as you're being followed by cops, the circle is with you.
To lose the cops, you need to get out of the circle and avoid any
police until the heat dies down. Supposedly you can help
yourself with back allies and other less traveled areas. You
can also hit a Pay-N-Spray...but only if a cop doesn't follow you in
there. If you're seen going in, they won't just give up
anymore. You have to think these things through now.
Another thing that
changed is that drivers will run your sorry ass down if you run
across a busy street. They don't care if you are the
protagonist...to them, you're just road kill waiting to happen.
People will act more realistically also when you attack a random
citizen. You will find similar people (same ethnicities, etc.)
will back up their potential friends. You can even take
advantage of the more realistic AI by calling the cops when you're
in a shootout. Stop shooting when the police show up and let
them take the trash out for you.
The part of the
game, however, that claimed most of my time last night was
multiplayer. I was almost planning to cancel my Live Gold
since I don't play online. That has changed. A yearly
price of Gold status was worth it just for last night. Three
of my friends (at first it was two friends) and I played a few games
and it was a blast. There was free mode, which is just what it
sounds like. You do have weapon spawn points that show up on
the map (as wells as icons for your friends), and you can just go
crazy. The most fun was when one friend flew us in, on a
military style helicopter, to Central Park while his machine guns
were blazing. My other friend and I jumped off and took the
city by storm.
We also played a
few other modes after spending way too long on free mode. The
GTA Race is a race through checkpoints (or from start to
finish)...but you get weapon drops to use to kill your friends.
Slain people respawn, but it will slow them down. Race is like
that, but no weapons. However, creativity can work for you in
killing a friend. For example, I was on a crotch rocket
(whatever the latest super motorcycle is called), as well as my
friend who was behind me in second place. I hit a wall, flew
and died. I grabbed a car when I came back, went to my
motorcycle (still waiting for me), and was going to jump out of the
car to get my bike. I knew my friend was coming through, so I
stopped my car in the dead middle of the road and watched him fliy
through the air with the greatest of deaths.
By the way, these
online races is how you can learn the vehicle controls in a hurry.
Nothing like high stakes to get the controls down quickly.
Speaking of quick, add an Infernus or Cheetah to this picture and
you will learn quickly and also...I think I might have time
traveled. High speed (like maximum in the Infernus on the
freeway) is incredible in GTA4!
We tried one more
mode that I don't know the name of. In it, you have to go to a
place, with your team, kill a bunch of guys while collecting cash,
then kill some fleeing witnesses. We failed on the fleeing
part, but this mode was some of the most fun to play since it's real
team work. Just make sure all players have headsets or the
game might become sloppy in a hurry for this one. We failed
because we tried to hard to kill the fleeing people in squads.
Anyway, I do have
to agree with the majority of reviews. This game is damned
near perfect. The only flaw so far is with that controller
issue I mentioned at the top of this post. Ignoring that, I
have not enjoyed a game this much for a long time (not counting Rock
Band...which is pure awesome still). This game is worth
standing in line for, paying more than full price, and whatever
other hurdles come your way. If you liked any GTA games to any
extent, then this game is worth buying a 360 for. If you don't
get anymore games for that 360, as long as you have a Gold Live
subscription, then you'll never need another game anyway.
By the way, it
wouldn't be right to end without mentioning this...find a dude to
kill, or even yourself, on a high building and find a way to send
the body down where it would hit as many objects as possible on the
way down...it's fan-f#@$ing-tastic! Also, get a helicopter at
some point and look at the city below you, especially at night.
Yes, the visuals in this game are good enough to justify flying
around for hours on end doing nothing else.
After spending the
day at home yesterday, I have a lot more thoughts on GTA4...and no,
I didn't stay home to play. It was just a happy thing to come from
being home miserable with a side effect to a vaccination I received
First off, I do
have another issue with the game. It would be the mini-map and
plotting a course/goal on the map. While it usually works quite
well, there are times when the map will freak out. I've usually had
it happen in unimportant times (when I'm just trying to find a
location for shits and giggles.
It did get bad at
one time yesterday. I was in a race with some friends online and the
map had the green line tracing backwards on itself. I was instructed
to, according to my map, get off the freeway, immediately pull a
U-turn, then get back on the freeway, flip another bitch, get off
the freeway on the other side, then go under the freeway and get
back on the way I was originally heading. There was nothing in the
road design to call for this and I really don't know what the map
wanted from me. All I could tell is that I had to pause after a
while to look at my map, while my friends kept rolling. A second or
third place finish was soon turned into a third place ending without
me finishing the race. I guess this would be a good reason to learn
the streets of Liberty City so I can go without the map to confuse
me. Afterall, this all took place on Cannon Island (or whatever the
tiny island near the middle of the map) when the finish was at the
east end of the northern most island (the one with the strip club).
However, the worst
part of this is that Saint's Row did the whole mark a place to go
thing on the map a couple years ago and that one never gave me these
issues. I suppose it's a small price to pay for the rest of the game
being so damned good.
I am now far
enough to have the achievement Low Point. That is to say that I'm at
the second safe house in the game. This has allowed me to surf the
fake internet, watch some fake TV, and do a lot of missions while
also doing some fake drinking.
I will say that the three missions leading to the second safe house
are awesome on a level unlike anything any previous GTA could
deliver. Especially the one that deals with you having a warehouse
shootout. That mission is insane in every possible way. You have to
use cover, you have an intelligent AI partner, you have to plan out
how to survive, and then you have to plan out how to escape without
raining shit on yourself...the last part I had trouble with as I
needed to lose a three star wanted level (due to me being a bit
trigger happy) while keeping my partner alive. In short, this
mission was beyond awesome, and was one of the best adrenaline
rushes of all time.
awesome, try going to a bar with an AI friend in the game. The
visual effects and the movement of your friend and yourself as you
stumble around is great. It's especially fun just trying to get to a
taxi (haven't tried drunk driving since I was surrounded by police
when I exited the bar) without being ran over. In the end, I had to
sober up before I could continue since Niko could not stop falling
face first into the gutter.
Anyway, the more I
play this game the more I see one simple thing; Rockstar had fun
making this game. You can tell that the developers had to have fun
or else we wouldn't have nearly as many fun things taking place in
this game. The proof is in the details.
The one thing I
would have liked to had seen would be for there to be more
diversions in the city. There's only one clothing store in the first
part of the game, only one strip club in the city (why not have a
sleazy low class one with some bad humor involved), only a few bars,
not many restaurants, and only one arcade game (that I've seen so
far, at least). Still, there is enough to keep you interested, but
it's best when seen on multiplayer modes since single player doesn't
have people being insane to keep things quite as interesting.
On a final, and
very random, note for today; poop can be humorous, it serves an
important purpose, but it should never be a weapon of revenge.
Be it for monkeys, people, or puppies. Think about it.
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