... headache finally gives in ...
Grand Theft Auto
Well, Vitenka decided that doing the verbal equivalent of beating me with a baseball bat with “Write a GTA3 review” written down the side was a good idea, so I relented and am writing this article. Never mind that the game has been out ages, and that a patch has already been released. Oddly enough I recently passed my driving test (only took 3 tries) and finished gta3. Coincidence? No chance, and ill explain why later.
I initially had my doubts about this game, it is after all a port from the ps2 and therefore evil in several ways. I thought it couldn’t generate the sheer scale of the previous two games using a fully 3d engine. I was only half right. It can’t make a city the size of the ones in the other Gta’s, but its come damn close. This scale of playing area comes at a price though, the game is very power hungry and will happily chew my 1.2ghz athy and geforce2 and ask for seconds.
The graphics are rather impressive, and apart from some slightly bland looking building it’s all rather nice. Of course, you can have details OR large playing area, but not both. The cars and the people are both nicely done, the cars having several areas you can damage and break. This means that you will constantly have to get out of your beautiful red sports car, in order to execute some old woman who dented your rear bumper in her stupid mauve SUV. The people are all very explodeable as well, nothing as satisfying as standing on the top of your limo using the sniper rifle to pop peoples heads off, and they do pop off. Fly straight up followed by a jet of blood, not exactly realistic but enjoyable nonetheless.
Like its predecessors the sound and radio stations are both brilliant. In fact the radios are probably one of the best features of the game, they will provide hours of entertainment. For some fun, grab the .mp3’s which have the radio station on, burn ‘em to a cd and play them while you drive around in real life, its sure to make someone wonder if you can tell the difference between GTA and reality (its easier to do drive by shootings in real life).
The gameplay, aah, now this is where it starts to shine. It works. The whole idea of you being a hired thug, a getaway driver and a hitman all rolled into one WORKS. It’s actually fun. Although at times very silly, flipping a tank off a bridge, doing a somersault and landing it again is a bit daft but fun. Unlike GTA’s 1 and 2, you don’t progress to the next island when you get enough money, you can only move there as part of the story. While some may find this limiting it shouldn’t be, the story is a rather good one, the little mini cut scenes are normally well done and the voice acting is pretty good.
It’s not just the central missions that earn you rewards either. Fancy being a cop? Well nick a cop car and go do some vigilante missions, hunting down criminals for prizes. Wanna pretend to be a paramedic? Nick an ambulance and go rescue some poor souls. Actually, I doubt you’ll make it round the first corner in an ambulance, it’s as unstable as a sociopath convention. There’s even a plane to fly, it’s hard as hell to actually get off the ground but provides a good mode of transport.
Now, the correlation between GTA3 and passing driving tests. Everything you do in gta3, and I mean everything, is a bad idea. I spent my time thinking, “Alright, what would I do in gta3. Now I do the exact opposite.” And lo and behold, I passed my test.
Gta3 does have one flaw, and jesus is it a big one. No multiplayer. Seriously. Which is a great pity as gta3 multiplayer would be brilliant. Another symptom of the ps2 portyness and one that they say they may resolve in a patch. But not the patch that’s already out, oh no, that would make my life and your way too easy. I’m not holding my breath but it would certainly be nice to see something.
All in all, gta3 is a worthy descendant of the original. Not as clever as the original, but its certainly progress over gta2. I enjoyed it at least.