Friday, August 5, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 36

Stats of Import

Platform: Playstation 2
Absurdly Specific Genre: Building a more psychopathic criminal: the game
Difficulty: Beating up an old lady to steal money off of her corpse? 1... Driving a car close (but not too close) to another car, then taking on 10 armed thugs armed with a machine gun and a crappy targeting system? Something like a 7.
Beaten: No. Did anyone? I didn't think that was the point.

When my friend Matt brought this game over in December 2001, we were already excited. We'd played the first two games in the series, and the idea of playing a 3D version seemed like a slam dunk. It was.

The cliche criticism of the series is that no one ever actually plays through the missions. They just get lost in all of the random things you can do until they just lose interest. I never understand the criticism. It's all true, of course, as I've never known a person to actually beat one of the games (except Branny with San Andreas), but I don't know that I've seen a series where a player could sink so much time into doing nothing, and still come away feeling like they had enjoyed themselves.

I cannot even begin to figure out how many hours I just sat parked in a car in a garage or park listening to the radio.

That night Matt brought it over, we played for about 5 minutes before we discovered jumps. We literally spent the rest of the night finding jumps and driving over them while listening to Double Clef (the classical music radio station). Not a wasted moment in the bunch.

For best results, use "O mio babbino caro", by Gianni Schicchi. I suppose RISE FM works, too.
The missions themselves were largely hit-or-miss, which the series seems to have gotten better at as things have gone on. Racing missions are always a pain, because it's not what GTA is good at. The aforementioned targeting system has improved drastically with later entries, and the maps have gone from what seemed huge at the time (Liberty City seemed limitless in the beginning) to almost overwhelming (I really did feel like I needed a map to play GTA 4). GTA 3, though, was the one time the series gelled for me in the way it was meant to, where the game's world truly felt like the "sandbox" experience that I could lose myself in.

You also hit pedestrians with baseball bats, so that was cool, too.

Other Notable Games in the Series: The first one is fun. GTA 2 probably would've fallen in the low 40's (the top-down, even less linear games were a lot of fun. Vice City is actually right on the same level as 3, and only loses because of basic nostalgia. I hear that San Andreas is fun, and I own it, but I've not even taken it out of the packaging.

1 comment:

  1. I've beaten GTA3 and Vice City. I seem to remember having a lot of trouble with some late-game, but not the last, mission in 3 where I had to kill a bunch of Colombians. I haven't ever gotten around to playing San Andreas or 4.