Ben's Week In Review: April 20
We're inching ever closer to the biggest launch of the generation, and I must say, I'm pretty excited about it. So excited, in fact, that I'll be kicking off with that very topic...
GTAIV is golden, and it will soon be mine
Rockstar should be sending me the game, but even if they don't, I'll be getting my hands on Grand Theft Auto IV as soon as humanly possible. Don't forget it has officially gone gold! Not only is it the biggest release of the year, but I'm also a huge fan of the previous three entries. I distinctly remember becoming enamored with Grand Theft Auto III, and I also remember being coerced into buying it. Thing is, I was very reluctant to make the purchase, only because I hadn't been a fan of the top-down GTAs on the PS1 and PC. Of course, I understood that GTAIII would be 3D, but even so, it just didn't seem like my cup of tea. Boy, was I wrong. That game hooked me from the start and never let go, and I loved both Vice City and San Andreas (my favorite being VC just 'cuz I'm a huge '80s fan), so obviously, I'm ultra-psyched for GTAIV. It seems like forever since partaking of the awesomeness that was SA, and while I still miss my RPGs, GTAIV is bound to capture my attention - and keep it - for a good long while.
I don't doubt the greatness of GTAIV, but I do have one crucial question: how much of a difference will there be between the last installment and this one? After all, we're talking about another generational leap, but can we really expect something as massive as the PS1-to-PS2 leap? That was 2D-3D, so probably not, but even so, I have to wonder...
TimeSplitters 2 in HD? Okay!
I know some people aren't the biggest fans of this idea, but when I heard that Free Radical would do a TS2 remake in HD if enough fans requested it, I was kinda happy. TimeSplitters 2 was one of my favorite games on the PS2, and the next entry (Future Perfect) was also a great deal of fun. They didn't have the greatest graphics, so an HD remake would do wonders. Plus, it was the gameplay style itself that attracted me to the franchise; I've never played another FPS that moved as smoothly as a TS game. Never. Of course, one could argue that it makes it feel as if the player is sliding on glass, with no resistance whatsoever, but I liked that. Furthermore, as I didn't play with the aiming reticle, it forced you to be more aware of your position and more careful of your ammunition. Lastly, there was a kookiness to the TS concept that I really enjoyed; it wasn't exactly cartoon-y but it was almost tongue-in-cheek with the humor and zany characters.
Obviously, I want TimeSplitters 4, too, but TS2 in HD would be just fine by me. I actually want to play that game through again now that I'm typing this! Some will say TS was "only for the multiplayer," but that's baloney; the single-player campaigns were always great fun, too. You're missing out if you've never played one!
Personal gaming update
Sadly, as I was unable to complete Lost Odyssey after 54 hours of play due to the ruined fourth disc, I just gave up and started in on Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds. As expected, I love it to death, and I've already advanced up to Seeded Pro. At first, I thought I would really miss the Store where you could buy clubs, balls, and other stuff with acquired points (it was in Fore!), but I don't mind its disappearance. I typically despise relying on luck in games, but picking a prize at the end of winning a tournament is just fine by me. The only thing I really don't like about this new entry is that they've actually made the greens harder rather than easier...which is just plain ridiculous. They were bad enough in Fore!, and now, even the first two courses you encounter have greens with really difficult breaks. I'm not a bad putter - I've gotten a whole lot better over the past 10 years - but it really annoys me. It also doesn't help that the hole itself is even more temperamental: I've had balls literally hop over the hole at moderate speeds and unless it's directly in the middle of the cup, it'll always rim out. Well, unless you can get perfect pressure on the X button, which I can never do.
But other than that, I really do love it. I've yet to lose a tournament I've entered and I usually win by many, many strokes. I attribute that to all the time I spent with Fore! online. Even with a low-level character like Jasmine, I was able to get a -8 on a 9-hole and a -15 on an 18-hole tournament. I've got Felipe now, and I'm pretty happy with him. Long story short- it's just plain excellent, but I will put it down when GTAIV arrives. That's just a given. Heh.
4/19/2008 Ben Dutka