GTA IV: Episodes From Liberty City arrive on PS3

In an announcement that surprised no-one, Rockstar finally divulged that the Episodes From Liberty City would be making their way to the PS3 and PC on the 30th of March 2010.  Microsoft pays roughly $50 million to develop these episodes, but PS3 gamers get them in the end anyway.  Works for us.

Committing Grand Theft Auto

I would like to announce with much fanfare that I have finally fired up my copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and I’m aiming to play right through it.  For me, that is quite an achievement.  The game has just been sitting there, gathering dust for over a year at my current estimate.  Partly I think it’s been due to lack of free time, and otherwise it’s been total apathy towards the game.

Apathy, you say?  Well, yes.  Back on the PS2 the Grand Theft Auto series was genuinely ground breaking and it offered something new.  On the next generation systems, despite great visuals, more detailed environments and gameplay enhancements, I’ve felt it’s been a case of peddling out more of the same.  Besides, during the launch of GTA IV in 2008, I got hooked on Race Driver: GRID anyway, which is a totally awesome racing game.  One in fact, that I need to revisit as all my gamesaves got wiped in the ‘Great PS3 Christmas Tragedy of 2008’ that I’ll continue to mention for a good while yet as it still hurts.

Back to discussing a bit of GTA IV- from what I’ve played so far, it mostly feels exactly the same as previous instalments.  The only thing that got my attention was the explosion of a car bomb, which looked so shocking and real.  A definite improvement from past instalments in the series.  Yet I’ve felt the apathy creep in again.  Although you play as an Eastern European with a conscience, you still end up going on a rampage like in previous games in the series, so I’m skipping through the cut scenes as I just don’t care.  A bonus in doing this is I figure I can go for the ‘Liberty City Minute’ Trophy where I’ve got to complete the main story in less than 30 hours.  Sorted.

Pausing to reflect for a moment: If there has been one downside to playing GTA IV and Prince of Persia, then it has been leaving Lara Croft on her own in some cave somewhere, waiting for me to guide her on her way…

Taking Liberties

Yes, I own GTA IV, but have I really played it yet?  Absolutely not.  At the time of GTA IV’s release, I was happily engrossed in playing Race Driver: GRID.  At the back of my mind from previous experience of past GTA titles, was that each games requires an enormous investment of time.  An investment I wasn’t willing to make without Trophies.

You’re probably thinking “Yes, Los Havros has really done it this time.  He’s finally sold himself out, putting thoughts of Trophies before the game itself”.  Fair enough, but this is my rationale for doing this.  The only game that I’ve been willing to play through for possibly the 4th or 5th time for Trophies has been Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.  Yet Uncharted has nowhere near the number of hours of gameplay that GTA IV has.

If I had already played through GTA IV, I doubt that I’d start from scratch again just for Trophies.  I’ve even seen quite a large number of posts from gamers who have stated exactly that.  Secondly, my time is precious these days.  I don’t actually have enough time to play each game in turn for 100% completion.  Even a game that I have actually completed like Uncharted, hasn’t been completed 100% as I haven’t collected all the Trophies for it yet.

So I suppose either over the Christmas period or through 2009 I vow to make a start on GTA IV by completing as much of the story as I can, and see how far through the Trophy system I can make it.  This isn’t a cast iron promise though, as something may inevitably crop up (there’s also the new ‘easier’ patch for PixelJunk Eden to consider).  But there you go.  I swear that after I’ve finished my degree I’ll be king of the jungle gym… of gaming.  Possibly.

Anyone got any games they haven’t yet started, but they’re going to have a decent crack at this Christmas?

So many games, too little time

I suppose that this post has as much to do about money as it does about there being loads of games out there, but not having enough time to play them!  Anyhow, I might as well recount from the beginning.  I got my PS3 for Christmas 2007 and played on Assassin’s Creed.  A lot.  My brother and I then got some extra games as well to be playing through, such as Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, The Orange Box, Resistance: Fall of Man and Colin McRae: DiRT.  Quite enough to be getting through, don’t you think?

I think I had finished Assassin’s Creed (or there about) a few weeks after Christmas as I had to go back to Uni for exams in January.  Between January and Easter 2008 I got hooked on Uncharted and played it as much as I could each weekend I was back home… every 4 weeks!  I then finally completed it at Easter.  Over Easter I got stuck into Resistance, DiRT, and the Orange Box.  I’ve still yet to complete either DiRT or Resistance!  Anyhow, I decided to attack the Orange Box over Easter and over the following months got a fair amount of it completed.  I then came to the end of my journey with the last bit of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 to finish and Portal.  By mid-May The Orange Box was completed.

Don’t even mention Grand Theft Auto IV; I just haven’t had time to go on it or been particularly bothered with playing it.  It’s not going anywhere, so I’ll get back to it at some point.  Since being home for the Summer, Race Driver: GRID has been out and I love it.  I have still got way over 3/4 of the game left to finish!  Other times, I’ve fired up GRID and decided to play online for a good hour or two.  Recently released is Metal Gear Solid 4, but there’s no way I can afford it, let alone have time to play it!

Assassin's Creed

I suppose this little story of my PS3 game playing journey might be a bit boring, but I’ve been trying to describe the plight of a gamer more often than not, not being able to play any games!  As a student I don’t have that much money to start shelling out on £40 and £50 games, and my PS3 is left at home whilst I’m away at Uni.  I can however appreciate people who have full time jobs as both this year and last year during the Summer, I have worked 40 hour weeks and you don’t necessarily feel like gaming after a particularly rough day.

Really, this post has become a kind of message to all those kids with a 40-strong PS3 (or Xbox 360, why not?) games collection who play every night and complete one game a week.  Which is ridiculous.  So my message is, erm get your homework done(?!) and gaming will have to take a back-seat in your life in future, so enjoy it while it lasts.

If anyone is wondering what on earth has being going on in this post, then you are not alone.  I, myself am not really sure either.  I’ve kind of gone off-tangent and started to rant a bit, but I’ve covered everything I’ve wanted to say, so I’ll leave it at that.  Comments, as always are most welcome.