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My brief review of GTA V.

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Grand Theft Auto is and always will be my favourite game franchise so, I guess, yes, I am a fan boy. I have played these games ever since I was a kid and GTA's original open world/arcade concept made me fall in love with both its series and open world genre games in general.

 GTA

I'd been looking forward to the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 since I first heard about it and yesterday, finally, I received the game in the post, calming my child like excitement and leaving me almost in a state of disbelief... Has it really been 5-6 years since the last game came out???

 

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Once the game was installed and I actually started playing, I was thrown straight into the action in a Prologue that introduces us to some of the characters, Michael, Trevor and Lester all of which play key roles later in the story. The opening mission, which is a heist, introduces you to the simple game mechanics, such as aiming, shooting, character switching, covering etc. All of these mechs had a familiar feeling, characters had a feeling of weight, but the controls had been improved upon in comparison to its predecessors. I won't go into too much details about the Prologue for spoilers but once this mission is over, the team are separated and Mike is presumed dead but instead is now part of a witness protection programme and is relocated to beautiful Los Santos.

 

The next section of the game introduces you to Franklin and Lamar. Franklin and Lamar work for a car dealer who orders the pair to "repossess" cars in return for a reward. Franklin is a great character, as is Lamar. They stretch away from the cliché "gangsta" crap that is so glamourized these days and you actually feel a sense of empathy for the pair, they just want to make it, but they are brought up in a world where they are not told how and survival of the fittest comes first.

 franklin

After playing as Franklin for a while I got a real good feel for what the game had to offer, the thing that always made me fall in love with GTA was the little details, the things that, if you stand back and watch, only become apparent when you take a moment to drink in your surroundings. At this point I had unlocked a few extra features by playing some of the missions and took my time to enjoy the sandbox. I started out by visiting Franklin/Franklins aunties house, you could do the usual, change clothes in the wardrobe, save your game by sleeping and watch TV. Then after investigating the house some more I could drink beer and smoke pot while watching cartoons. Though I do not encourage the use of marijuana, yet though don't exactly disagree with it, this was a nice touch, it added to the persona of Franklin and a touch of realism. Why pretend that pot isn't rife amongst African American gang culture?

 

So after getting high for multiple hours, watching a hilarious satirical take on shows such as The X Factor and Britain/Americas Got Talent, I decided to take my dog, Chop, for a walk. The thing I liked about the addition of a dog for your character is because Chop is both a powerful ally as well as a great companion for burning some leisure time. You can take chop with you in most cars that have passenger seats and when with Chop you're given a baseball and you can play fetch. This is when more of those little details came in; I drove myself and Chop to a part construction site beside a railway and we started to play fetch. At one point I threw the ball too far, sending it to the side walk, landing in the centre of a group of three construction workers. The three of the walked towards me, cursing and yelling and all of a sudden one of the workers smacked me in the face. Little did I know at this time that engaging in conflict whilst you were with Chop meant that... Well it wouldn't end well for your attacker. Chop leaps in the air and brings the construction worker to the ground and starts biting him while he's on the ground. Whilst Chop was busy on him I attacked the other 2 workers and knocked them out stone cold. After this event I took Chop home, then went to a strip club. In strip clubs you can watch strippers on the podium, tip them dollar bills or shower them with multiple. You could drink from the bar and get rat arsed or get a private dance which actually surprised me. The fact they finally incorporated topless strippers as part of the norm in an M+ video game was great, it's like someone had a breakthrough. I'm not saying this for perverse reasons but purely because, GTA still contains sex, gratuitous violence and heavy drugs and language yet it meant it was a crime against all things to have one exposed tit in a video game??? Ridiculous.

 

chop

 

After getting a private dance I returned to my home, in the early hours of a morning, sat down, smoked a doobie and hit the hay. This occupied roughly an hour-hour and half maybe of my play time and this was just playing with the world and the things in it. This is why I love Grand Theft Auto. The moment I realised that I was going to enjoy this game was once I had managed to start playing as Michael again. Within one day I got drunk at my house, customised a "borrowed" vehicle and went to go and visit my shrink. After visiting the shrink I decided to go and get my haircut at one of the higher end barbers and upon walking it triggered an event with no forewarning. I was forced down to my knees and I had a gun held against my head, the place was being robbed by an Asian gang. After they leave I was left with a choice; cower in fear and let them get away or chase them down kill them and retrieve the stolen money. Now if I chose to get the money I then had the option to either return it to the shop owner or keep it for myself. I decided to return the money as I was playing as Michael, had I been playing as Trevor the outcome might have been a little different.

 

FIVE

 

So, so far my experience of GTA V has been brief, I have only played the game for about 10-11 hours or so and have only just started to scratch the surface. Rockstar always manage to improve upon its predecessor and make it look so weak in comparison. The gunplay is better, the open world is better, the graphics are beautiful and detailed and the setting/atmosphere which changes when playing as each of the three protagonists is seamless. The soundtrack is great, there is tons of radio stations offering different tastes and genres, and the overall pop culture and satirical references are as good as ever.

 

The reason I don't give GTA V a 10 is because I don't believe any game could ever possibly be perfect. There is always improvements to be made regardless of if the game is an instant classic or not, there is still something's that could be done better. I'd give this game about 9.8/9.9 for pretty much being the best game released in the last half a decade.  

 

I'd recommend this to any die hard GTA fan and even to those who are not. This is a must play... Believe the hype.

 

Stay tuned for my run down of GTA history, filled with my own experiences and why it's my favourite franchise of all time.

The end of a (Console) era... nearly.

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As we are nearing the end of this ground breaking generation, I take a look back on some of the greatest games to be released in the last 9 or so years to celebrate the arrival of the Xbox One & Playstation 4. Ok so they are not out just yet and there are still a few games left to come on current gen consoles, but regardless here is my rundown of some of my favourite games during my time of owning an Xbox 360.

In no particular order: 

 

1. The Elder Scrolls IV & V - Bethesda Game Studios

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Oblivion and Skyrim have probably consumed most of my time as a console gamer. I was 13 when Oblivion was first released and was the first title on the Xbox 360 that I played. I was a major fan of Morrowind on the PC and remember being as excited as a kid in a candy store when I knew Oblivion was on its way. Oblivion did everything right for me in terms of an RPG game. There was no limits, just pure adventure, with huge open maps which offered new oppertunites at every turn. I had the same experience with Skyrim which was realeased in 2011, five years after Oblivion! Skyrim had a bigger world, was more detailed and I am still playing it to date, discovering new areas and creating my own story. The Elder Scrolls games provided every player with their own experience, you could play the game as in depth or as simplistically as you liked, the choice was yours. The Elder Scrolls series will always hold a place in my heart due to how open and immersive it is.

 

2. Red Dead Redemption - Rockstar North & Rockstar San Diego

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Red Dead is probably still one of the best looking console games I have ever seen. So rich and detailed capturing the true essenece of The wild West, America in 1911. Not only did the game look great but it felt great to play and had a simple yet engaging story which was classic of a Wild West genre. The game held a great cast of characters and had the classic humourous undertone that most of Rockstar's titles do. The online segment of the game was also a blast to play with friends and still has a large and thriving community. Red Dead's only downfall was having such a massive world with little to do in it except run around from town to town and do the missions. Hunting, horse riding and other things became tiresome after a little while, other than this the game was my favourite release of 2010. 

 

3. L.A. Noire - Team Bondi & Rockstar North

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Although being more of an interactive movie as oppose to a game L.A. Noire was my favourite alternative title to come out in this generation. This story driven epic was engaging, intense and beautifully crafted. The game only really offers a one time play through though, playing again wouldn't be the same but it was something to be cherished. The facial mo-cap technology was fantastic and sometimes quite scary due to how amazingly well captured actors facial expressions were captured. The game had you inspect crime scenes and solve cases as Detective Cole Phelps as he worked his way through various desks of the LAPD. You go from working the beat to solving homicide cases to inspecting the charred crime scenes on the Arson desk.  The game was dark, gritty and brutal but was an extroadinary experience and took inspiration from films such as L.A. Confidential. A definate must play.

4. Fallout 3 - Bethesda Game Studios

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I was originally skeptical about Fallout 3 due to being a fan of the originals, I wondered if this would only spoil the franchise further (What with its other spin-offs) yet I was wrong. When I found out the creators of The Elder Scrolls were responsible for the franchises reboot I had more faith. Fallout 3 turned out to be one of the greatest games of 2008. The game essentially worked the same as the Elder Scrolls titles, a lot of people named it "Oblivion with guns", mechanics wise they weren't far off. The post-apocalyptic setting is what made the game stand out with its gritty relentless violence and the feeling that the remaining population truely were willing to do anything to survive, but more importantly it asked you the question "What would you do to survive?" With this in mind Fallout 3 became an excellent adventure wether you decided to follow its story or not there was fun to be had. The VATS system and the amazing soundtrack were the cherry on top for this game, if you enjoyed TES titles, Fallout was not to be missed. 

5. Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City - Rocksteady & Warner Bros.

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With Nolan bringing the Batman movie series back to life in his own way, Rocksteady were doing the same for the Batman video game franchise. Rocksteady released Arkham Asylum in 2009, and personally is one of the best Superhero games I have ever played. It captured the grittyness of the Nolan movies and the style of the Miller graphic novels and combined them both to create this badass title. Arkham Asylum had you facing the Joker as he takes over the Asylum and all of its inmates, trapping you inside. The game had 2 core mechanics, the fighting and the investigating. Investigating had you make use of your gadgets and your brain to properly check an area and follow clues, fighting had you landing combo's seamlessly one after the other using the new "FreeFlow" combat system which worked a real treat. Arkham City (2011) had you doing more or less the same thing except against a wider cast of characters, a bigger world and a more brutal one. It even let you play as Catwoman and various other characters. Both of these titles really revitalised the Batman universe alongside what Nolan was doing with the movies, both are must plays.

 

6. Saints Row 2

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 The Saints Row series in general deserves a mention but I found that the 2nd title has been the best so far, it did everything the first one did but better... the third on the other hand did nothing that the previous 2 did. Saints Row 2 came out in 2008, even though I played it a lot later than that. The game was like GTA on acid, it was funny, slapstick, stupid and probably the most fun I have had on a sandbox game. You could fly planes, take drugs, be a transexual, customise cars, blow things up for money and purchase various houses across the huge activity filled map. Saints Row did one thing that Grand Theft Auto never did which was fill their worlds up with things to do. Saints Row 2 was so barbaric it made it an instant controversial classic.If you are ever looking to blow off some steam by shooting the crap out of things or flying planes into populated streets then Saints Row 2 is for you. 

7. The Orange Box - Valve

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Not so much just one game but one disk which contained Half Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 & Portal; all of which are worth mentioning. The Orange Box released in 2007 and was worth about £25 - £30 when it was released, not bad for 5 games! Half-Life 2 and its Episodes were all classics, they a beautiful, well paced, well thought out and developed games on all platforms and still rank for me as some of the best games made of all time, not just this gen. Portal was Valves brilliant Puzzler that played with physics and... well portals. Team Fortress 2 was probably the worst out of a good bunch but still provided a few fun hours of online competitive multiplayer (personally was much better on the PC). 

8. Hitman: Blood Money - Io-Interactive & Eidos

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I have been a fan of the Hitman series since Silent Assassin. I loved its sandbox style and the fact there was the choice to be as silent or as loud as possible. Hitman: Blood Money did everything right and is 10x better than its dissapointing sequel "Absolution" released in 2012. Blood Money released in 2006 and I always though it had the mentality of "If it aint broke dont fix it" and kept pretty much the same core mechanics which Silent Assasin & Contracts had. The game looked much better, had a slightly improved physics engine and shooting/gunplay was much slicker than in previous titles. The amount of choice and option that you had in Blood Money is what made it so great, there was so many reasons to come back and play each of its brilliantly designed levels and testing out new ways of taking down your targets. The game has a forgettable story line but everything else in it works, one of the best early titles for the Xbox 360. 

9. Grand Theft Auto IV/Episodes From Liberty City - Rockstar North & Rockstar San Diego 

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Grand Theft Auto is my all time favourite video game series. From the nostalgia of playing the original PC games before Rockstar were even called Rockstar, to present day of being stupidly excited for GTA V, Grand Theft Auto has always given me that feeling that I just cant explain. The older Grand Theft Auto's were broken, sometimes boring and weren't visually special, but at the time of their release no-one else was even attempting to make games like GTA. They made Sandbox games cool & infamously controversial. Grand Theft Auto IV and the Episodes, Ballad of Gay Tony & The Lost and Damned, were all excellent titles for the Xbox 360. Views on GTA IV are mixed as it was a seriously over hyped game but i loved every minute of each of them. GTA IV became more realistic and more meaningful. Missions were great, the new physics engine was brutal yet hilarious at the same time and once again had a great and memorable soundtrack (Most notably the soundtrack in TBOGT). Again though with this rich, hugh and detailed world comes its biggest flaw, its lack of actual things to do. Beyond the missions and a few side activities there was not much to do in this fantasticly crafted city. Hopefully they wont make the same mistake with GTA V, but it's looking promising thus far. Either way, one of my favourite games ever released and a great addition to the series (GTA San Andreas just beats it though).

 

Other mentions: 

Bioshock 

FarCry 3 

Mafia II 

Splinter Cell Conviction 

(I had written about the above until i accidently closed the page and lost the last 4 sections, in a fit of rage i decided to paste what i had saved and will finish off the last 4 entries later on this week)


 

Please feel free to add your thoughts, experiences, whether you agree or disagree in the comments below!

Today's games, greenlight & some other stuff.

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We are currently in the golden age of gaming. The term nerd just for being a gamer is becoming a thing of the past, our wives, girlfriends and even our mothers are getting involved and it seems everyones joining in with the hype, especially on consoles. Gaming is now almost as big as the movie industry, what with celebrity voice actors, major advertising on prime time television and games selling by the millions, its hard to not be in the know when it comes to the latest release of a new game for the xbox 360, Playstation 3 etc. Though with gaming hitting the mainstream this can also mean that games are more dissapointing and "Over-hyped", as they get rushed to meet deadlines and queues of fans willing to pay £40 - £50 for the brand new title which will need a stream of updates before it irons out all the bugs that the devs were willing to leave in, just to get the game out earlier. Despite our golden era i grow less excited for any new titles that are being released and instead find myself resorting back to older games such as "System Shock 2" or the original Deus Ex. Games such as the Call Of Duty series bore me to death. It's the same thing - different location, no doubt the new COD will involve some slow motion sequence which involves aiming through your sights to shoot a no good terrorist between the eyes to save the poor hostage after just blowing the door off with C4. Sure that sounds awesome, but i am pretty sure I have already done this about a thousand times in the previous COD games (ok maybe not a thousand times but still quite often). It seems as though Activision have just lost sight of Campaigns (along with other developers) to create a competitive and successful multiplayer experience which takes you away from any kind of smart gaming. Games like this almost fall into the ranks of reality TV which provides nothing but mindless crap for an hour. Don't get me wrong i have enjoyed playing the odd game of COD online with pals or even on my lonesome, but people play this stuff for hours/days/months on end and let their minds turn to dust. Even some of the least geeky people i know play COD religiously alongside FIFA, which they pay £40 for every year just so there is one new feature added alongside updated teams and slightly better graphics (thanks EA). Whenever i talk to a major COD fan about something like L.A. Noire or Mass Effect, i am looked at as if i am some kind of cretin. Story driven games seem like a thing of the past, campaigns for shooters are short and unfinished and focus more on their multiplayer feature. People only buy such games to play the multiplayer, playing alone or experiencing a story is no longer considered the core of gaming. There are a few exceptions such as Minecraft which just features simple drop in - drop out mechanics which make playing with friends much more fun, and it is more of a co-op experience as there is no competition involved. At least on minecraft i am not paraded by small children cursing at me or calling me a "n00b" just because i killed them multiple times in one game of Halo. On the whole, Campaign and single player is dead. The most recent game i can think of that has more story driven gameplay for a console is Sleeping Dogs, though the campaign in all is relatively short. Also what happened to the fun of multiplayer gaming? Everything is so competitive now, also people think they are real soldiers or could easily join the army because they get 30 kills on cod...BLAH. Anyway thats my first rant over. This rant leads onto my next subject of Steam: Greenlight and how i think Project: Zomboid definately deserves its place on there and how The Indie Stone deserve to be featured. For those of you who haven't heard of Project: Zomboid, it is an open-ended, survival sandbox experience placing you in the shoes of a survivor during a zombie outbreak in a place named "Knox County". The game is from an isometric view point, and combines elements from multiple survival and sandbox games to create a unique experience. Bed sheets can be turned into bandages to stop bleeding, pills can be taken to fight depression, trees can be cut to craft wooden planks to seal doors and barricade yourself into every building that you walk into. I have always dreamt of a game like this in terms of a genuine zombie survival game that doesn't require you to hack and slash your way through, but to fight with your own demons and evaluate your environments for the best escapes and storage for supplies. The game is still in its very early stages but its next update looks very promising including new animations, co-op and even the oppertunity to turn those bedsheets into ropes so you can escape windows from the second floor of the house you were hiding in, which has now been breached by the zombie horde. The game even in its early stages features such interesting and promising mechanics and has obviously had a lot of thought put into it. So please, there are many other titles on Steam that deserve being added but P:Z is by far my personal favourite and i have been a supporter of the project for years so please VOTE NOW: Vote Link: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92916900&searchtext=

Starting fresh, new account!

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I have decided to start a new profile as my previous account (Tinkertown) did not hold much value anymore. Besides the fact that i had lied about my age in order to watch the age restricted videos even though i was only about 13-14 years old when i created my account, but i can now confirm that i now the legal age of 19 and i am allowed to watch these videos without any sense of guilt... On my previous account i had been a member for 7 years, adding reviews and comments here and there. My reviewing style wasn't exactly fair and was pretty biased as i used to review a game hours after buying it, purely to express my love for it, then only to be dissapointed a few days later. This is no longer the case, my choice in games and my comments towards them are blunt and to the point and i am willing to play any game thats put in front of me (even "My Horse" for the iPhone which helped me get in touch with my feminine side a little bit). I thought i would just start a new account, purely to add fresh and good reviews to gamespot alongside blogs expressing my views and opinions on all sorts. So please if you are interested at all please, follow my reviews and blogs and feel free to leave comments and send me mail!