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Grand Theft Auto Retrospective

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the garaaaanga dept.

Portables (Games) 292

Sadkey writes "In light of the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PSP, UGO has posted a retrospective around the GTA games. "Come take a trip through time, and see how a franchise went from a cult hit to a cultural phenomenon, set the tone for an entire generation, and made open-ended gameplay a buzzword of the early 21st century. It's a long, bumpy ride, but at the end, Grand Theft Auto stands tall as the game that changed everything.' ." I remember playing the top down GTAs and just loving it. Great games.

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292 comments

I miss... (4, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894266)

Two words: Kill Frenzy!

Re:I miss... (3, Funny)

planetoid (719535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894344)

The franchise hasn't been the same since the games stopped awarding you bonus points for running over an entire line of Elvises (Elvii?).

Re:I miss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894499)

Is this a localised thing, or something from GTA2? I never ran over Elvis's's, but I did run over a bunch of dancing Hari Krishnas or something... GOURANGA!

I know this is real offtopic (0, Offtopic)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894530)

and I'll cheerfully take the mod hit if someone can answer this for me. Is this true of UK cops?

*If police fear there might be serious violence in a particular area they can stop and search anyone in that area for up to 24 hours. In these circumstances the police do not need co have a reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon or committing a crime. This very wide power can be used at raves, demonstrations etc.*

Seen at the good Dr. Bong [nyud.net]

I realize the source might be questionable, but maybe it's right. I remember a heck of a lot of street cameras last time I was in Jolly Olde.

Re:I miss... (3, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894532)

Is this a localised thing, or something from GTA2? I never ran over Elvis's's...

In GTA2 (the last top-down view in the series) you could run over a line of Elvis impersonators for points, something missing from newer versions. I was referring to the also missing (since GTA2) "Kill Frenzy" mini-game where you're given a fancy weapon like a flamethrower and told to kill X people in Y seconds. If you complete the "mission" you get points.

They've removed Kill Frenzies from newer versions of GTA replacing it with with "Kill X Gang Members." I suppose it's supposed to be more sensitive since killing 40 gang members isn't as bad as killing 40 random people on the street (I guess).

If anyone's interested, you can actually get the full version of GTA2 for free from Rockstar's website [rockstargames.com] (or bypass stupid soul-sucking registration for a direct download [63.236.94.185]). Either way it's 345MB but worth it to see some of the game's roots and get a quick stress-reliever :)

Re:I miss... (2, Informative)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894697)

So, clearly, you've never played any of the 3D iterations of GTA. There are numerous "rampage" (that's what they're called now) missions where you kill random pedestrians with a varied assortment of weapons. Sometimes you need to go after a specific group, but more often then not it's just anybody walking around.

Re:I miss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894501)

GOURANGA!

Re:I miss... (2, Informative)

Voice of Meson (892271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894563)

I thought it was a line of Hari Krishnas. They would dance along chanting and run at the first sign of trouble so you had to get some speed up and plow through the whole lot of 'em. Classic. I really really really love that series.

Top down was ok.... (5, Funny)

austinpoet (789122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894279)

But i've learned to prefer the 'from behind' view

Re:Top down was ok.... (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894352)

Top-down view was a part of GTA being GTA. When they replaced it with "real 3D" in GTA3, it was one of those things which ruined the game for me (and I absolutely loved the original GTA). The others were non-linearity (you didn't have to repeat the same mission over and over again till you get it done) and actually humorous rather than idiotic missions.

Re:Top down was ok.... (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894379)

For some of us, it's the other way around: I never really liked the top-down GTAs, but I thought GTA3 was the greatest thing ever (or perhaps second only to Half-Life). I guess it just depends on the kind of game you want -- the older GTAs were much more "arcade-like," while the newer ones are more immersive.

Re:Top down was ok.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894630)

I really liked GTA when it first came out i played the demo for hours (it was one large city) the view was kinda odd but i got used to it.
But when GTA3 came out i was really pleased with the 3d look and the way it felt while driving.
They did alot of good with that game and the newer versions are getting even better,with more weapons differnt cars and now you can even ride a bike :D

 

The real question is... (3, Funny)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894286)

...when will they release Grand Theft Auto: Model T Ford edition when you travel the early 20th century speeding around at 15 miles an hour and running illegal moonshine.

Re:The real question is... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894296)

Someone already did that, it was called Mafia.

Re:The real question is... (3, Funny)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894336)

the model t could hit 45 mph. [wikipedia.org] the problem was getting impaled by the steering column. but with the moonshine flowing, you should feel fine.

Re:The real question is... (1)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894405)

There was a similar game called Mafia. They went to great lengths to make the cars handle realistically for their time which made them practically undrivable at fun speeds.

Re:The real question is... (1)

Severious (826370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894595)

Yah Mafia basically did that, and the game was horrible. I love GTA so i gave Mafia a try, but those cars are just agony to drive. I did not get past the first driving mission before I decided the game was just not fun and uninstalled it.

Re:The real question is... (2, Interesting)

beetlefeet (866517) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894633)

I loved Mafia, and I'm not too hot on GTA3+.

Mafia had a neat storyline and interesting thing going on with the stealing of cars. You had to learn how to steal each model of car, and you steal it by breaking into a parked car without anyone seeing, not just walking in front of it while it's moving and then pulling the driver out.

You have a garage at your hideout (well it's an italian restaurant) where you can keep very many cars that you've previously stolen, and you can drive whichever one you wanted for any mission.

Also you often had to drive very sensibly in the game, you'd get police on you by speeding and things.

And there was alot of FPS action in it. The missions were pretty cool, I'm just remembering them and there was alot to them. Stopping the bad guy from leaving at the airport and stuff. (And the whole morality thing going on - you start as just a driver but end up doing some very bad things that you really don't want to do, so you decide you have to get out somehow...)

Yeah that game was very cool... Pretty much a ripoff of the gta's but really well done and better IMO.

Thank Yoy cmdrtaco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894292)

Wow cmdrtaco, er Violated, is posting stories instead of Zonk. What a wonderful change of pace to actually read something other than one of Zonk's thinly veiled advertisements.

Stop it! (4, Funny)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894294)

Stop it stop it stop it! You are making me feel old! I am only 21, it was NOT that long ago damnit!

Ok so I did spend two entire days downloading GTA from a Warez site over dialup 2MB zip file by 2MB zip file.....

Ouch that was awhile back wasn't it...

Re:Stop it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894422)

You must have lived in a hick town. I'd had a cable modem for at least a year by the time that game came out.

Re:Stop it! (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894734)

Sayeth the AC Troll:


You must have lived in a hick town. I'd had a cable modem for at least a year by the time that game came out.


Yah, Seattle, Hick Town! ...

I had a cable modem nearly the month it was available in my area. Blame TCI.

Re:Stop it! (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894487)

Don't worry your not that old. I'm sure that there are people reading this that can best me in old age but the 2400 baud modem I had back in the day only allowed me to interact with bulletin boards. And from there maybe I could download an ASCI version of hangman!

Re:Stop it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894524)

LOL, what a script-kiddie dumbass you are.

Re:Stop it! (1)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894529)

Just wait til you're 30, chief. It get's much, much worse.

You'll tell kids nine years younger than you about what it used to be like, and they'll think you're lying to them. And after a while, you won't even bother anymore.

Just for the record, I shined shoes to earn the money to buy a 300/1200 baud modem for my Apple ][e. Ah, The Source.

Good times.

Re:Stop it! (1)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894585)

21? Old?! What does that make me?! The game is sure nostalgic. I remember when the first game came out, I downloaded it (again with the ever-so-popular 2mb zip files from sites), played it for 2 days straight, then told all the people I know how great the game is and how its gameplay would revolutionalize the gaming world. Sadly I was the few that saw the potential of the series... I should had invested in the damn company.

Multiplayer (4, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894309)

Ironically, with the huge surge in multiplayer games in the last few years, GTA is one of the few examples of the death of multiplayer in a series. The first two GTAs (the top down ones) had wonderful multiplayer. It easily is in my top 5 list of the best multiplayer games of all time. The shift to 3D, for some reason, meant no multiplayer. Yeah, there is a mod for GTA (MTA I think) which adds multiplayer, and it's good but its still in its infancy last I checked. I really would like to see Rockstar add multiplayer to the game.

Re:Multiplayer (0, Offtopic)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894369)

I just realized I used the word "multiplayer" like 10 times in that post

multiplayer
multiplayer
multiplayer
multiplayer
multiplayer
multiplayer
there, got it off my chest

Re:Multiplayer (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894525)

This is actually quite on topic as multiplayer feature finally makes GTA on PSP. I finally might have a reason to consider a PSP if capture the flag really makes it in. That's like playing tag in the entire city while running away from 40,000 cops.... something I used to do when I was 10.

WAIT NO MORE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894392)

wait no more, the psp's GTA:LCS has over half a dozen multiplayer modes. I believe it may support only as little as 6 players, but don't quote me on that.

Re:Multiplayer (1)

Dunarie (672617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894404)

Agreed, a true, officially supported, online mode would be great. MTA is interesting, but it doesn't have any peds or AI cars driving around, it's more like your average FPS deathmatch in a REALLY big level. Of course having a patch for GTA:SA that actually fixed stuff rather than make things worse would be nice too. (I've found the PC version of GTA:SA extremely buggy, the only virtue is I don't have any problems with crashes)

Re:Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894454)

Liberty City Stories has ad hoc multiplayer out of the box. It supports up to six players via WiFi, three on each team, and has a variety of match modes.

Massively Multiplayer (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894515)

Anytime you're ready Rockstar. I mean San Andreas is by anyone's definition an RPG.. get on with it.

Re:Multiplayer (5, Interesting)

Forum Joe (841804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894520)

When asked about Multiplayer in Vice City (and then San Andreas) Rockstar always said that it would have been a nice idea, but their engine doesn't support it, and it's too much work to rewrite the entire engine to a multiplayer-compatible one, or something. I thought it sounded like a load of crap (because of Multi Theft Auto) but they stuck to their guns.
However, for the first time in a 3D GTA game, Liberty City Stories has multiplayer. Rockstar haven't stated why they included multiplayer in this version. Perhaps it's because multiplayer was a major selling point of the PSP, and they wanted to take advantage of that. Perhaps it's because this time the first platfrom is a multiplayer native one (lets face it, all the other GTAs are PS2 ports. LCS isn't). If their earlier reasoning is to be believed, I think it's because they had to build their engine for a new platform from the ground up, so they decided to design it from a multiplayer perspective.
I'm predictin g the next GTA on a home console will be for XBOX 360 and PS3 and will include Multiplayer... Liberty City Stories is just practice. :)

Re:Multiplayer (1)

affliction (242524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894596)

The first two GTAs (the top down ones) had wonderful multiplayer.


Wonderful multiplayer? I beg to differ. When GTA2 first came it out my friends and I gave it a whirl. 4 players on a LAN with top of line machines (P2 350, if I recall) was hardly playable. You knew when someone had found the rocket launcher because the game slowed to a slideshow for 5 minutes while the explosions played out. Yeah, you could drive around on the same map at the same time, but it sucked if you happened to find one of the other players.

Nobody played GTA for the multiplayer. That's what Starcraft and Diablo were for.

Re:Multiplayer (2, Interesting)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894622)

They really should do an online multiplayer edition of GTA3. It would dominate the market for both pcs and consoles.

    Imagine taking on players from around the world in attempt to control the city or cities. Instead of doing odd jobs for ai bosses, you do odd jobs for actual player bosses. OR you jack into a virtual environment looking like an average citizen. And other players can't tell if you are real or ai character. It would make you think twice of hijacking a car in the game.

They could call it Grand Theft Auto 3: LIVE for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Just picture a game like that.

Re:Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894687)

"I really would like to see Rockstar add multiplayer to the game."

Liberty City Stories has different multiplayer modes.

It's a long, bumpy ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894314)

It's a long, bumpy ride...spent looking out the sideways view if you catch my drift

Was GTA 3 the pinnacle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894320)

I loved GTA 3. Played a little Vice City. Have they really added value as they have continued the franchise or are they beating a dead horse (until stacks of stacks of bills appear).

Re:Was GTA 3 the pinnacle? (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894358)

In my opinion, some things that they've added in Vice City and San Andreas do have value, but some others do not.

For example, I like how Vice City added planes and motorcycles and whatnot, as well as the extra mission types (pizza delivery, "property" missions). I also like how San Andreas was just so big -- unlike Vice City and GTA3, it actually feels like a world.

The thing I don't like about Vice City and San Andreas, though, is how the character has his own personality. With GTA3's "generic thug" character, it felt more like it was you in the game. It's considerably harder to suspend disbelief in San Andreas, since the character has such a strong personality of his own.

Interesting (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894411)

Most people I know (and those on the gtaforums.com site) aggree with me that, while Fido was good, he was one of the aspects of gta3 that could have been improved on. The gameplay and exploring the city, not the story or suspension of disbelief, is was keeps most of us replaying the game years after its release.

I actually enjoyed Tommy Vercetti the most of the GTA protagonists, simply because he had an aditude. Fido's inability to speak kind of hurt the storyline and suspension of disbelief, if you ask me. But I don't really care.

CJ is probably my least favorite protagonist; he's just too naieve. It's as if rockstar is trying to dumb the game down so that people understand the storyline on the first play through. Oh, well.

Great series, regardless.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894476)

Oh, I never meant to say that the GTA3 character was perfect; in fact I agree that the fact that he couldn't talk was a flaw in the game. However, to improve upon that requires that the character talk with the player's words, not ones that are scripted into the game.
The gameplay and exploring the city, not the story or suspension of disbelief, is was keeps most of us replaying the game years after its release.
This serves to illustrate my point -- the reason I don't like CJ as much is that there's too much story. Sure, you have the illusion of choice, but the main storyline plays out more like a movie than a game. At least it's not as linear as Half-Life, but if they made it really open-ended, like an urban Morrowind or something, it would be even better.

I do like the Tommy Vercetti character, for the same reasons you do. Additionally, they managed to not load it down so much as to become obnoxious (unlike San Andreas).

Re:Was GTA 3 the pinnacle? (3, Insightful)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894373)

"Have they really added value as they have continued the franchise"

No. They've expanded, and they've introduced things like new vehicles, different scenery, etc, but it's the same game, just with new content. Hence the "franchise" aspect. As long as franchises are popular, then each successive game is just an expansion pack that doesn't require the original. Which is great - there are some games I'm dying for sequels because I just want more. But I know that I don't want them to change the things I like - so we expect a degree of permanence in the features and the feel of the game.

Re:Was GTA 3 the pinnacle? (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894408)

There's been some steps value added with each release, but not as much as there probably should be.

So far as open-ended goes... (4, Insightful)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894322)

I seem to recall a few obscure games from a company called Maxis! Sheesh, GTA3 is great, but they hardly invented or popularized the open-ended game.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (2, Insightful)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894323)

It's a total re-invention of the open-ended game though. In the Maxis games you never were just one person, making one city Hell On Earth.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

chriskenrick (89693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894659)

And of course, there's the other 3rd person view city based semi open ended game that everyone always forgets about, that being Syndicate [the-underdogs.org].

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (4, Insightful)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894346)

That's true, but for all the Sim games, it is macroscopic, whereas this is microscopic. The Sims was similar, but that was on a level of finer detail than GTA - you don't have to worry about whether you slept or ate in GTA. So in this sense, GTA is unique in that it was a day-to-day kind of open-ended game play that also happened to be a crime spree.

But even with GTA, the "open ended" aspect wasn't really all that great. The frustration of not being able to leave the island, even if you figured out how to get around the barriers set up, was one example. And it's not like the "life of crime sim" was new, Rockstar just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Same for Maxis, actually.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (3, Insightful)

ejito (700826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894438)

but for all the Sim games, it is macroscopic

Wrong... Check out Streets of Sim City and Sim Copter. Both were 3d worlds and played from the perspective of one character.

  Check out some sim copter screens... [gamespot.com] Remind you of something else? [g-unleashed.com]

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894459)

You got me there. But a) there was no Sim Copter 2 or Streets 2, which suggests my next point that b) the games sucked really bad. A better counterpoint would have been sim island, sim farm, and sim ant. In retrospect, I should have said the "Sim City" games, becase, being in its 5th(?) iteration, it is the game with the longest track record of all of Maxis' games.

Furthermore, Sim City, etc. were macroscopic and that was the difference from GTA. Sim Copter and Streets were both nearer to the physical point of view, but nowhere near the complexity level or level of detail.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

ejito (700826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894478)

Sim Copter and Streets of Sim City weren't great games, but they were still good (entertaining). Both were open ended, and you could either ride around in your city, or actually do missions.

Eitherway, those 3d sim games came out ~6 years before GTA3, and a year before GTA1.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (3, Interesting)

sp0rk173 (609022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894586)

Dude, I loved Sim Copter. I would play it for hours when I was age 12 - 14. I'd make cities specifically to fly through, pick up injured people and hear them gurgle endlessly. The real problem with those games is that they came out far before 3D graphics could truly bring out their full potential. Most of the buildings were blocks, the copters were literally flying polygons visually...the trees were odd...your character didn't have a fact. It was still fun and had all the little silly aspects of most Maxis games, though. And they really need to bring back sim ant. I was addicted to that game, too. And sim tower...and...sim farm. Good stuff.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894442)

you don't have to worry about whether you slept or ate in GTA
That's becoming less true as the series progresses. ; )
But even with GTA, the "open ended" aspect wasn't really all that great. The frustration of not being able to leave the island, even if you figured out how to get around the barriers set up, was one example.
This is also becoming less true as the series progresses -- in fact, I'd say it's the most important improvement in San Andreas. Of course, to completely eliminate this problem we'd need to build the Matrix (a real one, not the video game).

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894738)

Except you still can't get around the barriers they set up between the islands. If you go there you have every cop et al after you, even if you immediately go back to the main island where you're allowed to be. I can see making it so you can't buy anything, or meet anyone in the new area til you've earned it, but I don't see the problem with letting people explore.

Yeah, I thought of a few myself. (4, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894431)

Final fantasy once you get the airship, the "Secret of..." games from the same company, the Legend of Zelda games (moreso than the Squaresoft games). Mario 64?

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

Nailer (69468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894671)

In the SimCity games there wasn't a world to explore. Just one to build, with a very limited set of structures. It's a different kind of realism.

Re:So far as open-ended goes... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894745)

Not to mention every space game ever made. Remember Elite? Privateer? "Find a Job" has always been the battlecry of the space sim.

top down view owns (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894327)

GTA was only fun with the topdown view. GTA3 seems like it just lost the spirirt of the games.

GTA was fun (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894330)

GTA 1/London/2 and GTA 3/VC/SA shouldn't be called the same game series. They're vastly different (in playing style and looks) to the point where they're almost polar opposits. It's like comparing the 3D sonics to Sonic on the mega drive. One was great and the other is good but it's just not the same.

Re:GTA was fun (1)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894388)

Well, yeah, in graphics & in style maybe they were different. But zelda is still zelda when it's in 3D. If you mean that one game is better than the other, give a substantive reason - the elements of the game were totally different, the difficulty level was more reasonable - something other than "it looked different."

Re:GTA was fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894390)

really? they seemed pretty much the same to me. especially 1 and london. the only big difference was the side of the street you drove on. I haven't played 2 extensively, but the only difference there was that the separate gangs were more important to the "story" those games claimed to have

What I'd Like To See (3, Insightful)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894361)

I've never really liked the GTA games personally. I've thought that they had alot of potential, but for myself- and I'm sure a lot of other people, the story and the missions never really held much appeal for me. It's not that I'm against the violence in the games, I enjoy violent games quite a bit- but I've never been able to empathise with the characters of the series at all.
What I would like to see is some of the "influence" that the GTA series has supposely had in gaming put into something other than making clones with crappier gameplay and crappier stories. Instead I would like to see developers take the massive non-linear 3D world concept and create more games like Shenmue, or given the emphasis on driving in the games, something like Fast and the Furious where the player starts down at the bottom, maybe jacking cars or working as a delivery boy, and rises on the street racing circut (OK, I would hate that game too, but it's just an idea). What about an RPG that takes place inside of a single living city? Something like Blood Omen where you play a vampire who stalks the streets of a huge vibrant faux-new york city feeding on the innocent and battling for territory against rival vampire gangs?
Of course, GTA wasn't the first game to take place in a large, non-linear city. Shenmue had a much deeper world and IIRC was out a few years before GTAIII. Crazy Taxi had a huge non-linear city, fast dangerous driving and missions as well.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that GTA may have been well executed in a lot of ways, but it wasn't necessarily THAT innovative, and that if it was as influential as the article states, then why are the only games I can find now that are vaguely based off the GTA formula horribly inferior ripoffs with the same criminal motif?

Re:What I'd Like To See (1)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894413)

Oooh! You mentioned Shenmue. I admit it - I love that game like I love Fable, and I love Fable like I love a secret drug addiction. And Deus Ex. *sigh* The games are flawed, no doubt, but there's so much power in them. I wish more than anything that Shenmue would have given a bit more to do in the world - like more side stories that you could follow - but the grandeur of it and the feeling of being in a city looking for a person that you have only a clue as to where they are, that was really brought across in the game.

GTA is like a #1 pop song - it's never the best one, either by the artist, or certainly that the industry has to offer. For some reason, it was there at the right time, and it blows up into a phenomenon. All we can try to do is take the parts of it that worked the best and add them to what we already know to be valuable - good gameplay, solid story, and now, open-ended worlds. GTA doesn't offer non-linear play, which I can't ever pass up in a game, and that's why it never really held me. But find me a game with GTA-like open-ended play *and* non-linear stories and I'm in love. So maybe it wasn't the greatest game, but I can't complain if that means I can now go take a break from shooting everything in site and explore some barracks or something in the next big FPS.

open gameplay - waste of time (1, Interesting)

dindi (78034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894365)

I enjoy so called "open ended games" for a few minutes to a few hours, after that I feel that it is a waste of time.

All respect to Rockstar, the game is kickass, I just cannot help it but it leaves me all the time with the game unfinished and me bored to hell of it.

I can't help it. I KNOW that it is not more of a waste of time, that playing far-cry hours long online and stealing the sample and shooting the same buddies in the same time for hours, or running thru a doom 3 map and killing monsters from hell, but somehow it just gets boring to be so open-ended.

Kill all humans took me 1 hour to showe it in the "never see it again pile", while GTA kept entertaining me for many hours.

I have the same problem with racing games. I progress, and progress, and progress .... then I am just bored of it suddenly.

In GTA, the missions give some linearity, but it is too "open" to restart a mission without driving for 10 minutes, but to linear to skip a mission that just annoys you.

You might say that I need directions, but I don't in real life - I am working alone without a boss, and were in management a few times here and there and can plan a day or a project on my own.

So what is the problem? Could not figure it out.

Online play can entertain me for hours: I can play CTF or TS on xlink or xbc for a day straight, but DM makes me bored in 30 mins tops.

I've read that Japanese players cannot take open ended games in general as they need a score or a mission to chase/finish all the time.

Dunno, I guess I will skip the next installment of GTA and choose something with a good multiplayer mode as story modes are just getting the same old crap over and over to mee to.

Hmm, actually just got a bunch of games to try, and realized, that all I am interested in gaming is shooting or racing people online untill I fall asleep in front of my projector...

Am I missing the point of GTA ? Maybe I need an online version of GTA-style open endedness?

I was actually looking at reviews of matrix massive online multiplayer, but so many people complained that I decided not to buy it at the end... So what ?

Net play (5, Funny)

lampiaio (848018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894377)

One of the best bugs^H^H^H^H features of the first two GTAs was the fun-packed, sync-less net play! I remember playing it in my school's computer lab (which had a very laggy network) with other "students":

Player 1: HA! Burn, mother fucker!
Player 2: What do you mean? I just ran over you!
Player 3: Hey guys, will you stop walking towards the building's walls?

the good side was that everybody always won.

Biased Media? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894378)

I was looking forward to GTA: LCS because I thought they would finally fix the series problems (in my eyes). I've seen from the reviews that they haven't. But everyone is giving it great reviews (not 100%, but high up, 90s at least). But have you read the reviews? Read this Joystiq post [metacritic.com] to see what I'm talking about.

I realize that GTA has fans, and that this game is unlike ANYTHING that has ever been on a portable platform (self-made portable PS2 hacks notwithstanding). But how can a game with such terrible flaws (read the reviews) as no difficulty difference between early and ending missions (except for the fact your weapons are terrible at the start), a bad camera and terrible targeting system, and mind-numbingly boring/anoying missions get 90+% grades?

Simple: no one wants to risk pissing off GTA lovers and losing them as readers/viewers/subscribers.

Don't get me wrong. I loved GTA 1 and 2. I played GTA 3 and found it fun to drive around but I didn't get far due to the terrible targeting. I loved Vice City even more (great soundtrack) and got farther, but I eventually dumped the game for the same reasons. The game was better, but it still wasn't there. I haven't played San An, and I don't intend to play LCS now.

Bugs and problems were OK for GTA 3, it was a first of it's kind (being a 3D world). Vice City was buggy and they should have done better. I don't know if the targeting was fixed for San An (I heard it was better) but I didn't care by that point. Then they release this game shortly after with all these problems. I realize it's the first on the platform for the series, and that the second analog stick is missing, but come one. You've made THREE OF THESE GAMES BY NOW, can't you fix some of this stuff?

They were rushing it, or they didn't care. Those are the only two reasons I can think of for having the same problems that put me off of GTA 3 four years ago this week.

The sandbox they created is fantastic. The stories and great, and the games have tons of replay value. But playing occaisionally makes me feel like I'm running towards $1,000,000 in a foot and a half of water. There is something great there, I can see it, but getting there is just so hard .

These days I'm getting less and less time to play games. My backlog is piling up. I just finished Pyschonauts (Great game, but the framerate on the PS2 version was a JOKE), and I'm in the middle of Sly 3 now (better than Sly 2!). If I was a freshman in highschool and had the time to commit, I may be able to play it. But at this point I don't need to fight a game to play it. There are a couple of games I've got RIGHT NOW that I know will be good that I won't have to do that for.

Sorry Rockstar. Try harder, huh?

-- A guy who wants to love GTA

Re:Biased Media? (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894462)

I played GTA 3 and found it fun to drive around but I didn't get far due to the terrible targeting.

Exactly why I always say the mouse and keyboard are currently the best 3D controllers. I thought the game was much more fun on the computer.

Re:Biased Media? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894473)

You should try San Andreas. On PC. The targeting is fine (mouse + keyboard, just like any other FPS) and the missions are much more interesting than Vice City / GTAIII (once you get past the first few introductory missions). And you get to fly a fighter jet - what else can you ask for?

Eh? (1, Flamebait)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894380)

Let's see, the game(s) glorify pimping hookers, killing cops, stealing cars, and just about every other lawless act imaginable.

It's a long, bumpy ride, but at the end, Grand Theft Auto stands tall as the game that changed everything.

This is a good thing? Sorry, but I'd rather see a fresh new installment of Mario 64 (where art thou?) than another GTA. I realize a lot of people disagree with me, and that's fine. But I don't see anything so great about pushing games that promote ugly and disgusting behavior, regardless of whether or not the players can tell the difference.

Or to put it another way, if it's not okay in the real world, why waste your time immersing yourself in it? Go read a book or something. (Argh! Must... resist... temptation... to... complain... about... crappy... commercialization... of... books...)

Re:Eh? (5, Interesting)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894428)

Jeez, pull the stick out. Wether it's GTA3, Doom or Custer's Revenge the appeal of anti-social games is simple: Catharsis. The whole idea isn't that you're doing things which you wish you could do; the idea is that you're getting an oppertunity to do things which you'd never do. It's closer to primal scream than anything else. But if you take gaming that seriously, maybe you should stick to mario 64. ;)

Re:Eh? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894505)

the appeal of anti-social games is simple: Catharsis.

The problem is that most players don't realize how it affects their day to day outlook on life. i.e. If you get a lot of negativity out of your environment, you can expect to become a very negative person. Real life offers more than enough difficulties in this area. Why would you want to add more of it?

The unfortunate answer is that most people have a streak of masochistic curiousity. Unchecked, this curiousity can get you into all kinds of trouble. A common example of this is how people will often watch a television show or movie that they don't want watch and are not entertained by, but "nothing else is on". The idea that playing a board game with others, going out somewhere, or even curling up with a book would be a more productive use of that time simply isn't enough to outweigh the desire to stay glued to the television. It takes a rather large helping of self-determination to turn the TV off, pull your butt off the couch, and go do something better.

The part that is frightening about something like GTA is that people are actually parting with hard cash rather than exerting sufficient self-control to say, "No, I'll go do something better with my time." As I said in my original post, that's their choice. I may disagree with it, but I can't force others to agree with my viewpoint. Personal responsibility and all that. But when it comes to changing the very way the industry works, why oh why must the entire world be subjected to the whims of the Lowest Common Denominator?

It's just like Reality Television. It's crap, and everyone knows it's crap. But enough people watch it that TV Stations would rather make a quick buck off of the LCD than a hard earned mint off of engaging shows for the much larger and more intelligent populace. :-(

Re:Eh? (1, Flamebait)

UberHoser (868520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894514)

I think he is pointing out that playing GTA3 desensitizes you to violence,etc.

Also I firmly believe that no one under the age of 18 should get thir hands on any of the GTA games. Kids are just too impressionable these days.

TV/Games/Movies shape what people think and do. Remember when smoking was 'cool'? Look at the Marboro man :(

'Insert flamebait'

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894482)

Hate to tell you this dude, my dad has a whole shelf full of his grandparents books from the 1890s and thenabouts. Most of them: crappy, commercial, and pretty trashy. Most of the classics you read in school were commercial failures, frequently published with university or patron's aid (much like the high-brow fiction of today), then, as now, commercial and artistic successes like Dickens were the exception.

And as far as immersing yourself in things not OK in the real world, I'd hardly hold up written fiction (or cinema, or opera, or mythology or...) as a good example of the "right" way of doing things.

Re:Eh? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894561)

Hate to tell you this dude, my dad has a whole shelf full of his grandparents books from the 1890s and thenabouts. Most of them: crappy, commercial, and pretty trashy.

See? There you go. You had to get me started. ;-)

Seriously, there's always been a lot of trashy literature throughout history. The "pulp fiction" of the early 20th century is a perfect example of this. (So named because it was considered so bad that no one would bother printing it on anything but the cheapest pulp paper.) The tradition of such pulp fiction lives on today in googleplexes of trashy romance novels and lousy sci-fi. But that's not actually my complaint.

My complaint is about publishers who once held a high standard, but have slowly let such standards slip over the years. A perfect example of this is the PocketBook franchises. Hardy Boys, for example, used to be 300 or so page long books that were printed in regular type. The newer books that were introduced later were 150 page, oversized softcover books, printed in huge type and plenty of whitespace. The result was that thorough mysteries became slightly lengthened short stories. Now move onto the Star Trek franchise. The same sort of watering down with filler has become commonplace. Whereas I once enjoyed such novels as "Strangers in the Sky", "Enterprise: The First Mission", "The Final Reflection", "Q-in-Law", and "Imzadi", I now am forced to chose between purchasing 10 books to read a complete serial (which could have far better fit in one novel, with the filling removed for better pacing) or single "episode" books like the latest in the StarGazer series. Allow me to ruin the entire book for you in 4 short sentences:

Okay, bad guys attack. No one knows why. Ule acts strange. Turns out bad guys actually want their spy who's disguised as Ule back. The End.

WTF? Where's the depth, the plot twists, the cliffhangers, the character development, the parallel events, THE ATTEMPT AT REALISM? My 10 year old brother (if I had a ten year old brother) could do better than that! I mean, would it kill Simon and Schuster to reimplement a few quality standards, like they used to have? Apparently so.

Unfortunately, such lousy books have become the bread and butter of mainstream publishers. So much so, that the *only* books I can find worth reading are by a small time publisher like Baen. And if I'm being perfectly honest, Baen's books aren't exactly the highest quality, soon to be studied by the next generation, prose ever written. In fact, a lot of it is very much "pulp" Sci-Fi. (Sorry, Weber! Still a fan, but I gotta be honest, here.) Which says a lot about the mainstream publishers when pulp is being rated higher than the supposed "quality" stuff. :-/

Re:Eh? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894639)

I suppose then in a hundred years the trash like Harry Potter and Dan Brown will be forgotten. I hope.

Re:Eh? (1)

Voice of Meson (892271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894589)

Jeez, name me a book not prefixed with "The BabySitters Club" that does not contain violence, drugs, sex, profanity, greed, lust... etc. Thats what makes life interesting.

Re:Eh? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894679)

Contain != Condone or even Revel. What makes much literature interesting is taking the time to analyze the human condition, and see how people handle complex situations, often with no clearly defined "right" or "wrong". Inperfection is what makes us human, and it is of great interest to unravel it.

To compare GTA to a book, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a book that glorifies lawlessness in the same fashion as GTA. Nearly any book worth reading on the topic would not only look at the attraction to the lifestyle, but the shear cost of it as well. How many friends will you lose in gang wars? How many young women's lives will you destroy in pimping? How much does that drug dealing cost you personally in comparison to the monetary gains? If you shut it all out, are you even human any more? What continues to drive you after you shut out your emotions? Is there a way out? Can you see it?

Books make an ideal vehicle for looking at these situations. Video Games, on the other hand, cannot be expected to show the same amount of depth. (At least not until VR becomes a reality.) When you go around killing people, stealing cars, selling drugs, and pimping women in the game, the only things worth concerning yourself with are the scoreboard and a game over sign. There are no lives destroyed, no personal costs, nothing. Therein lies its appeal, but does that really build you up as a person? What 'fun' exactly are you deriving from role playing such a destructive character? Or are you playing it because it's "cool" and "everyone else is doing it"? (Insert mother's scolding about everyone jumping over a cliff |here|.)

Personally, I can find far better reasons for playing a game. For example, the battle of wits and piloting skills in Wing Commander, the precision and speed of SF: Rush, the engaging humor of Space Quest, the friendly duels of Quake III, the chance to be a hero of the future in Elite Force, the fast-strategy of C&C, the hand-eye puzzles of Mario 64, and the on your feet thinking of Tetris.

Exactly! I mean, go read the Bible or something! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894689)

If we're reading books, why don't we read THE book, eh?

No lawless acts in there, besides having sex with your daughter because God said, killing all the women and children because God said, making women leave the city when they have their period because God said, stoning to death fags because God said, etc. etc. etc.

What was your point again? That games promote ugly and disgusting behaviour?

Have you even READ a book besides "See Dick Run?" Go to a bookshop sometime -- it's wall to wall ugly and disgusting behaviours in there!

That's what fiction is, an exploration of the stuff we don't generally do.

I mean, really. Criticise games if you like, but please MAKE SENSE.

Re:Exactly! I mean, go read the Bible or something (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894723)

Because the Bible glorifies "sinful" acts? Ok, whatever.

I already addressed your "point" here [slashdot.org]. I have to say that it's rather disturbing that so many people can equate containing certain themes to glorifying those same themes.

Taking the Bible as an example, what happened when David slept with Bathsheba, then bumped off her husband? The profits certainly didn't show up and start yelling, "You da' MAN! Those moves are the shizzle!" Try opening the Old Testiment sometime. It shouldn't take you long to find something along the lines of, "Yet XYZ did not turn from their sinful ways, and God's wrath poured out upon them." (The New Testament is a heck of a lot more lenient due to the coming "grace" talked about in Galatians, but it still didn't glorify ugly behavior.)

Or moving onto more complex literature. Was the point of "Gone with the Wind" that Rhett Butler was such a great lady's man? He was manuvering Scarlett O'Hara toward the bed the entire book, but when she finally consented he merely said, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." Why do you think that was, hmmm?

Is there any part in GTA where your character suddenly realizes the toll his lifestyle is taking and wants out? No? Why not? After all, isn't GTA like fine literature, chock full of lessons to be learned and humanities to analyze? Or perhaps it's just one big, antisocial, utterly meaningless, and depraved wankfest? "Look! I slept with the chick and bumped off her boyfriend! I'm the shizzle!" Great.

Re:Exactly! I mean, go read the Bible or something (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894729)

s/profits/prophets/g

It's late, so there's probably more typos. That one just stuck out at me, though. Good night.

If you really miss top down that much... (5, Informative)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894384)

GTA 1 and 2 are free downloads now from RockStar...

Grand Theft Auto [rockstargames.com] - Free Download

Grand Theft Auto 2 [rockstargames.com] - Free Download

Re:If you really miss top down that much... (2, Informative)

peruvianllama (835969) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894558)

Direct links to both, to save the effort of filling in bogus info on the pre-download registration forms. Note that there's a EULA you're supposed to be agreeing to before downloading these:

GTA [63.236.94.185]

GTA2 [63.236.94.185]

Whois info [arin.net] for the above IP, since I didn't recognize it myself. I'm not sure why they're hosted 'offsite'.

Re:If you really miss top down that much... (4, Funny)

timothykaine (821252) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894652)

... then change the camera angle to top-down. I know it exists on the Xbox in GTA3. I use it from time to time when the 3d cpu-controlled camera shows its main weakness, off-angle views.

Or I suppose you could keep complaining. That might work.

what we _really_ remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894425)

"It's a long, bumpy ride..."

oh yeah, bumpy ride, all right... *cough* coffee scene *cough*

"Grand Theft Auto stands tall..."

not the only thing standing tall ;)

Overrated (3, Insightful)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894465)

For my money, the GTA series has to be one of the most overrated franchises currently being milked. While it certainly enjoys lots of free press by virtue of its once-shocking but now-old-news violence and depravity, it really doesn't seem to have grown much since it first went 3D. Rockstar found a working formula in GTA3 (after the the original games failed commercially), and have been suckling at that same teat ever since. I played the original GTA3 for a short while, and saw a little of Vice City, and I have to say, it does nothing for me. Once you get past the shock value of being able to beat a granny to death with a baseball bat, there's really not much in the way of compelling gameplay. The missions are fairly uninspired, the story is utterly generic, and there's nothing in it that really grabs me. I think "open-ended" in and of itself doesn't necessarily make for a good game, and leads to the pacing of the game being very haphazard, depending. I'm sure fans of the series would disagree, but perhaps they're better able to overlook the games' flaws than I am.

Re:Overrated (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13894572)

At a default score of 1, your comment, for my money, has to be the most overrated nonsense currently being milked.

Aside from weapons, cars, etc., VC improved on GTA 3 by giving the main character lines, making the map a loop as opposed to a line allowing for more fluid movement between sections, had better side characters, such as the coked up lawyer no doubt inspired by Kleinfeld from Carlito's Way, and of course a more satisfying ending. SA further evolved the main character idea away from the simple brute of VC, had a rich cultural environment of cityscape, clothing style, hair cuts, tattoos, eating, working out, of course a fucking great soundtrack, was way larger than GTA 3 or VC, had planes and parachutes, and perhaps the best advancement, you could finally swim.

But, I guess your right, no change, no fun game play... I guess all of us who love the series are just smoking crack.

Grand Theft Lemmings (1)

cdtoad (14065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894593)

Please!!! They didn't even mention Lemmings... if it wasn't for this classic GTA wouldn't have gotten anywhere! Come one seriously look at the first GTA & Lemmings! Whats the difference? There was tons of BLOOD in LEMMINGS TOO!!!

Apparently retrospect is 20/200 (0)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894681)

With the next generation on the way, one could expect bigger cities, better graphics, more realistic AI, pedestrians who live unique lives, and the same irreverent style that made GTA what it is. Who knows, perhaps when we next see Grand Theft Auto on a console it will not be merely a city or a state...but instead an entire country or world!

Uh, bigger cities? Better graphics? Isn't that all they've been adding since GTA3? So far all they've added since GTA3 is a bigger world, subpar improvements to graphics, new vehicles, new missions and new side-missions. That reads expansion pack to me. Theres no new physics engine, no new real major additions (still no aircraft), and the graphics are bland considering how long and how many games Rockstar has developed for the PS2 (and Xbox).

I'm sorry, 'realistic AI'? Apparently no one remembers the failure known as State of Emergency. The AI in that game was supposed to be Rockstar's shining example of how well they could AI to add to gameplay. Instead it turned out to be unusable, annoying and pointless.

How the hell would 'pedestrians who live unique lives' make a game more fun let alone make a GTA game more fun? Last time I checked GTA was all about being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want and if you wanted to depopulate the city single-handedly, you could do that. Killing off NPCs who live 'unique lives' sounds like a great way at messing up the gameplay when you accidently shoot the mission NPC on his way to the grocery store.

Gee, wow. A GTA on a state or nationwide scale. How is that different from simply adding more areas? Oh wait, they already do that. The whole article is fanboyish considering how many of Rockstar's failures and flaws they look over.

GTA is pure evil (0, Flamebait)

onlyjoking (536550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894725)

Anyone who thinks role-playing drive-by shootings and glorifying criminal culuture is kewel needs their head examining, in my book. Get a life. Go out and find a girlfriend. Learn to dance. Support a charity. Fill your life with anything but this evil rubbish.
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