Riding Off Into The Sunset

Happy Weekend TAY! It is a long weekend for many, so enjoy 'em if you got 'em!

Xander was sick pretty much all of last week and missed a good chunk of school, so our Halo 2 game was put on the backburner. However, that didn't put too much of a cramp in my personal gaming.

I finally finished Grand Theft Auto IV. The story ends with lots of excitement, but boy am I glad that's done. The combat of the game was somewhat fun for its simplicity and I actually learned to like the driving quite a bit, even with the squishy controls. The story was well written and the cast of characters were all pretty lovable.

I still stand by my previous comments about the game though, it is just boring overall. I haven't played GTA V, but I hope many of the issues that bog down GTA IV have been resolved. Having almost no game in the driving really takes the wind out of your sails. Once the mesmerizing city has lost some of its wonder (the city design is the best thing in the game), then you are left with what amounts to just wasting time between missions. There is little to do in the city other than the missions. Plus, the consequences for traffic violations are so infrequent and laughably easy to shake off, you might as well just take the taxis everywhere. I never received above 3 stars for my wanted level in my entire time with the game.

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On top of all this, the mission restart system sucks. I'm all for punishing a player's death by restarting them at the beginning of an action scene; I only wish GTA IV did this. Instead, in GTA IV, the player is thrown back to the start of the mission which entails all the travel and cutscenes (which thankfully you can skip) on the way to the actual action sequence or "meat" of the mission. Very often the travel to this "meat" is just as long as the action sequence itself.

Grand Theft Auto IV really feels like the game is worse than the sum of its parts. Certainly the new coat of paint with the ICE 3.0 mod was a welcome bonus (thanks to Hayssam Keilany for his awesome work) but I have to say in the end, I feel a little disappointed with the game overall.

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Now with GTA IV under my belt, it was time for something new. I generally have lots of ideas what to play next and try to play something different than I had previously been playing. This time I was thinking platform game or RTS. Then I was speaking with Streen a couple weekends ago, here on TAY, who was playing the 2009 Wolfenstein. Once I remembered I had this unplayed on Steam, I couldn't get it off my mind.

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So, I've started. I've only played the opening level so far but it is Nazi shooting fun with a nice twist. The old id Tech 4 engine still looks great and runs like butter now. I'm excited to get back to more of it and see how it compares to the mixed reviews I've read over the years.

I also started Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris with my buddy as we have our Elder Scrolls Online game on hold waiting for the relaunch.

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I loved the original Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light and thought it was a fantastic co-op experience. Temple Of Osiris is very similar to the original game, though it feels a little stripped down and maybe a little too buggy to really match the original game's greatness.

I don't know how far we are in to the game and maybe many of my complaints will dissolve over time. However, I can't escape the fact that the throwing spears (think "placeable platforms") from the original game are gone and this seems to have made the game somewhat less interesting.

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The game looks greats and seems to control well, though the grappling hook mechanic is much less reliable than the previous game. On top of all this there are framerate issues in co-op, we crashed during loads several times, and we had a couple instances of the client (me) not being able to see the changes in the puzzles that the host (my friend) could see.

All-in-all, for the $7 we paid for Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris, I can't really complain too much. It is great fun, despite the technical problems. It feels fairly fresh compared to the first game and so far has had some amazing boss encounters.

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Hopefully I'll be able to get to more Wolfenstein this weekend and get a better taste of what the game is really like.

So, what are you playing this weekend?