Grand Theft Auto 4 Collector's Edition - $93.99 (with overnight shipping )
Total spent to date: $98.99
This week's gaming time was spent almost exclusively with GTA4. I've racked up somewhere around 13 hours with the game, which is easily the most I've played any GTA game, and I'm definitely in the addicted category. It's an amazingly fun game.
The most impressive thing about the game is the city that lives inside it. This is the closest anyone's gotten to creating a living world inside a game. Traffic builds up during rush hour, while at 3 AM, the streets will be completely deserted. The areas of the city flow into one another organically. The citizens react (fairly) realistically to the mayhem that you cause, and interact with each other as well.
More importantly, the story and the characters it involves are interesting and have some depth to them. Your cousin is a blowhard bullshit artist, always telling you how awesome his life is, when really, it's two steps above utter shit. At a certain point, however, something happens that forces him to face reality, and cracks start to appear in his upbeat demeanor, revealing his upbeat personality to be a mask that he wears to conceal his despair about how miserable his life is. It's an impressive bit of characterization for a GTA game.
The rest of the cast I've run across is equally impressive. There's the rasta drug dealer who's patois is all but unintelligible, even with subtitles on, who surprised me by arriving on his own to back me up during a sketchy situation. There's the girlfriend who's strangely curious about my criminal dealings. There's the ultra-male juicer/stolen car dealer who's doping on bull shark testosterone, and is like a steroid-ridden self-help seminar turned up to 11. I can't wait to see who else shows up.
Finally, there's your main character, Niko. In past GTA games, the main characters have either had no personality, or one that was strictly stereotypical. Niko has a past. He's done bad things, and while he doesn't enjoy it, is willing to do them again if he must, but he doesn't feel good about it. He's a funny, sarcastic guy. He's someone that I wouldn't mind hanging out with, but who I would be careful not to piss off. He's the kind of character that I look forward to spending a lot of gametime with.
Of course, what would GTA be without a ton of unscripted going-on. There's plenty of crazy cop chases, both intentional and unintentional. I love that you can steal a car by standing in front of it and aiming your gun at the drive, who will generally jump out and run. Alternately, if your gun is in hand and you try to jack the car normally, instead of simply pulling the driver out, you'll hold the gun to his head while helping him from the car, and then apologize as you drive off. Once, while dropping my brother off, I pulled up next to another car. Instead of getting out, he socked me in the jaw, knocking me out of the car, then hopping over and getting out the driver's side. After, I figured out that I'd pulled up too close for him to open his door, so this was apparently the most effective way to get out of the car.
So, since it's my last new game for a long while, I guess it's a good thing that I like it so much.
Things I'm Sad I Can't Buy This Week:
Boom Blox comes out for the Wii this week. It's a kind of puzzle game involving physics and exploding blocks. It looks like tons of fun. I would love to play it. Sad for me.