Into The Matrix

Happy Weekend TAY!

I hope those of you in the U.S. and the Philippines who are being affected by those nasty storms are dry and safe. We don’t see hurricanes around these parts (you have to go back to 1954 to get the only hurricane to hit Ontario, Canada) but I know too well the power of flooding. I hope those of you without power charged those portable gaming systems before the storms hit.

Little was played around here last week. I spent a good chunk of the week driving around parts of Ontario seeking out a specific lawn mower to replace our recently deceased one. Apparently Home Depot Canada cares very little about correct inventory quantities or selling new products in new condition, which results in the customer wasting a lot of time.

I did play a little Grand Theft Auto V during the week, though I still feel like I am in the tweaking stages.

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GTA V seems poorly optimized on PC. It is nice to have tons of options and being able to run the game at 60fps is a big plus, but it has been a headache to configure.

Different times of day and different locations in the game have highly varying performance and it is hard to tell what setting is being offended. I have been doing a lot of experimentation and research on the internet to see what works best and seem to finally have things going my way, but it has been slightly annoying.

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I’ve always found the argument for playing on consoles to avoid fiddling with settings on PC games a valid one. It is nice to just pick up a game and become immediately lost in it. PC gaming is almost painless to setup nowadays but occasionally you come across a PC game that needs a lot of attention. I’ve read the PC port of GTA V was considered a little sloppy, but I can feel for the developer having to deal with so many PC hardware variances.

I’ll deal with the annoyance though, the framerate junkie in me can’t help but squeeze every ounce from the game. It is really nice to have so many variables available to the user to make this insanely detailed world the best it can be.

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto. I’ve always appreciated the way the game’s technical achievements have fundamentally changed how games are made; GTA III was a landmark moment in video gaming. I also love the way Rockstar has challenged us to think about what freedoms we as gamers should have to choose in regards to our virtual activities. Rockstar has always pushed the limits of public tolerance and usually ended up moving the line.

That said, I’ve never really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto’s gameplay or story. I dabbled a little with GTA III and Vice City but I always ended up getting bored and becoming distracted by a different game and never returning.

I did finish GTA IV and thought it was ultimately boring, but the improvements in the story, world design, and driving mechanics kept me around until the end.

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GTA V is definitely an amazing technical feat and I’m impressed at the number of things you can do in the world. I’m also extremely happy with the improvements to the gunplay and I LOVE being able to play the whole game in first person.

It just isn’t grabbing me yet and has the same dullness I found in the other GTA titles. I’m sure it is mostly just me, GTA V isn’t one of the best selling games ever for no reason, but it doesn’t compel me to play it like a Mafia title or Sleeping Dogs.

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However, I can’t complain about the latest version of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), it is fantastic and makes me very excited for Red Dead Redemption 2. Maybe I’m just boring and that’s why my time in the matrix isn’t exciting. Oh well, at least Trevor is finally making things interesting in the story. Though, it still feels a little too much like it wants to speak to the inner 13-year-old in me.

I hope I’ll be able to get in a little Breath of the Wild this weekend with my kid and finish off another season of Boardwalk Empire with my wife. Otherwise, it is GTA V for me.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?