Friday, January 23, 2009

Grand Theft Auto Previewsplosion (DS and 360)

On January 21st MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo was invited down to Rockstar New York to check out Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned. The former has interested me the most seeing as it is "something new" that takes advantage of many, if not all, of the DS' strong suits. The latter is the long anticipated (I guess it could be argued by some) Xbox 360 DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV.

Let me start of by saying that Chinatown Wars looks to be fantastic. From what I have seen of screenshots the graphics look amazing for a DS game and from what I have read the touch screen moments of the game are something that I am greatly anticipating. Let me make a small prediction here: This could very well be the best selling GTA of this generation (I mean seriously, think about how many DS units there are out there).

Here are some key points that I pulled from Totilo's preview (I'll quote the ones I found most interesting and naturally you can just click away on that link to see anything else that might tickle the cockles of your heart).

-900,000 lines of code were optimized for the touch interface alone.

-The missions are scored with medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and from your garage you can later go and replay them to get a higher rank.

-It is played from the top down (ala GTA 1&2) but has a full 24 hour cycle and licensed music (with no words)

-You will be playing stylus in hand because there are that many touch based moments.

These few bullet points are just the bare bones of it but again these are elements that I think matter most. I will say though that I am a bit skeptical about the medal system because if is anything like what Sonic games turned into (making it nigh impossible to get a gold medal) then I am going to be pushing holes through my screen with my stylus. Also I do not mind at all that this game is top down instead of third person POV though I am a little sad that we will have licensed MIDI's instead of full tracks (obviously I understand the limitations here and I am sure when I play it I will not mind at all). Lastly I am happy that it looks like I will be equally using the buttons and the stylus.

The last thing that I have to say about this game is that it looks like I will have to hurry and beat The World Ends With You so that I do not feel bad about picking this game up when it comes out.

Next up on the docket is The Lost and Damned which also looks promising. This is the 20 dollar piece of DLC - dropping February 17 - that if it didn't require the GTA IV disc might as well be a whole new game.

I say this because all of the previews that I have read all lead me to believe that this piece of DLC will be in the 10-20 hour range. I paid twenty for Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 1 so I will more than likely be paying twenty for this.

Now for the bullet points that I again took from Totilo's preview (that guy is so on top of his stuff huh?):

-Rockstar is calling this a full game that only uses the GTA IV disc to render the city.

-The downloadable episode adds some extra "grit" and "lighting". It all "adds more fidelity to character models".

-There will be new weapons and rewards for riding in formation with your gang.

-The handling of the bikes will be different for the DLC.

-Rockstar says that they are not "milking it".

I am honestly excited about all of these things. I think that this "full game" is just easier for them to make seeing as it renders the city from the disc. To me this looks like a Vice City or a San Andreas to me and though I know it is not as long it does feel like something new. I like that they are improving on an already well done city by adding extra layers of "grit" and "lighting". Perhaps the thing that I am most excited for is the improved handling of the bikes because this was the only thing that I was worried about when this episode was originally announced. And lastly Rockstar says that they are not milking this and I truly believe it. This is what they are good at. One could argue that the whole franchise is milked but they have the quality to go with the quantity.

They will also have my 20 bucks come February 17.

You have heard it before but DLC is truly the way of the future.

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