Video Game Gameshows, Vegas is Fixed, and more GTA IV than you can shake a hairy hooker at – Welcome to the column that will get Grand Theft Auto IV as soon as we figure out how to pay for the gas and the case of Mountain Dew known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. 39&21 in WoW Land. As you can tell from the numbers, I played the heck out of my rogue this weekend. I was questing hard in everywhere from Desolace to Hammerfall. Somewhere around 12k experience away from level 40 and finishing a few Hammerfall quests, I got burnt out. I have about 160 gold, 200 Blacksmithing, 223 in Mining, First Aid, and Cooking (which is really odd to have the same number in three professions). But I’m burnt out because I still only have 7k into my exalted rep for Undercity with 14k remaining. So I kinda quit, I went back to Undercity, took the orb to Silvermoon City and decided to explore another area. I will get 40 on the weekend, pretty much by default. But since I have not quested in that area at all, I figured it was worth a shot. I know I will be getting mostly Silvermoon/Blood Elf rep where I am, but I decided I want to take it easy for the week before resuming the struggle to 40. Next week, I’ll have my mount (which unless a miracle takes place will be a raptor) and I will be happy because I won’t have to walk around anymore. Somehow, I will still miss stealthing on foot into areas that are 10-15 levels above me. Good times, good times.
This picture rules and it’s only because of one reason (and it isn’t because she’s sporting her younger blonde look). The Asteroids standup in the background. (Insert joke here about looking at her asteroids) Classic awesomeness in this picture. Just think if Morgan was around back in the rustic time of gaming giving insight with leg warmers and poofy hair. Perhaps a ragged Motley Crue shirt with way too much make up to match. Even if we know those days are gone, we certainly know that Asteroids still rules.
Ubisoft has released a title update for the Xbox 360 version of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 that includes a host of game improvements and bug fixes. The team has stated on the official forums that an update for the PS3 version with the same tweaks is currently in the works, but no release time frame was given. The update will be automatically downloaded and applied when you log on to Xbox Live while playing Vegas 2.
The following improvements have been made to the game.
Swapping to & from Pistols are now faster in Multiplayer.
Optimized sound bank to improve weapon firing and helicopter sound clips that loop over and over.
Servers now update their pings more often so that players have a more accurate value of server performance.
Team Leader Respawn Modification
Spawn Shield is shorter when respawning with the Leader.
When there are more people on a team than the other, there is an overall XP modifier applied to all XP gained during the game.
By pressing the start button, players now have access to the outfitting menu in observer mode.
Team Deathmatch Respawn Modification
Respawning in Team Deathmatch now work like regular Deathmatch (random points throughout the map) which intensifies gameplay and minimizes spawn camping/trapping.
Faster respawns for Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. You no longer have to wait a full 10 seconds!
Players who enter a room using custom search then exit will be brought back to an automatic search with the same criteria.
In addition to those improvements, a series of bugs have been fixed. Find their descriptions below.
Rank Reset Glitch
Fixed. Players will be able to use their Xbox guide during the game loading without risk of losing their rank.
Private First Class – Achievement
If you are ranked Private First Class or above, you will automatically get the achievement after the title update is complete and you load your gamer profile.
Freedom Shall Prevail – Achievement
If you’ve passed all checkpoints on Story Mode on Realistic and finished the game, you will automatically get the achievement after the title update is complete and you load your gamer profile.
That Wasn’t So Hard – Ribbon
Your ribbon now unlocks when you get the achievement.
Light Machinegun Sound Glitch
When firing continuously with any light machinegun, the sound of the weapon will no longer get cut off.
Civilians & Hostages on Tactical Map
No longer are displayed as terrorists.
Shield Teleport Glitch
Players can no longer teleport when trying to take cover with a shield
Out of Map Glitch
Players can no longer cover-peek into each other to raise a team mate above their heads that allows them to walk into areas outside the designated map.
Friend Invite in Ranked Matches
Inviting friends in Ranked Matches now work correctly.
Previously, Custom faces were sometimes copied over to another player’s face. This is no longer the case. Custom faces will display the proper faces.
Radar Jammer now work for clients, not just hosts.
That one famous area in ACT 1 “Ambush” will no longer allow XP Farming.
Players will no longer be stuck in the respawn screen at 0 seconds while in observer mode.
The weapon restriction configuration is no longer kept in Terrorist Hunt, Story and Co-op Story.
Custom Camo 3 Save
The color and pattern of Custom Camo 3 now saves correctly.
Alright, so I finally get my Private First Class achievement. I know a few people were convinced that they would never fix that, but they did. They also fixed a lot of other things. I noticed some of the bugs they mentioned such as Weapon Switch, Sound Loops, and the Rank Reset Glitch. Luckily, my rank never actually got reset but it did act like it was going to before I quit out of it by going to Dashboard. The Faster Respawns is nice if you are one of those who doesn’t like to wait and watch your teammates briefly before walking into another barrage of MTar gunfire and Frag explosions. But the respawning in different places is actually pretty cool and helps to cut down on spawn camping. The famous scene in Act 1 where enemies will continuously respawn is cut out, however most people have already used this and other methods (like loading up Killhouse or any other easy map in Terrorist Hunt and just keep running it for XP and ACES points) to get up their rank. I wonder if they have fixed the bug which lets you keep weapons from the Story mode that you pick up from a fallen enemy regardless of whether you have earned it in your ACES experience tree. I still have a Raging Bull for my Pistol and use it in Terrorist Hunts & Xbox Live even though I still haven’t hit level 10 in my Assault ACES. There is something soothing about a weapon that recoils like a shotgun and can be heard on the other side of the map.
Let’s lead off what will be an epic Sunday with a goldmine of retro-game nostalgia: Starcade. Not the commenter, the TV game show in the early-to-mid 1980s that ran in syndication, and featured contestants battling it out on Ladybug, Sinistar, Mr. Do, Defender, etc. Fifteen of the shows are available at the site, and it also features a rich “games of Starcade” to serve as a nice stroll down that memory lane.
And I’ll throw it out here, too, does anyone remember “TV Powww!” (hope I got the right number of Ws). That was a mirror into just how hamfisted folks were to make a buck off the video game craze. Kids would call the studio on the phone, and then say “Pow! Pow!” whenever a spaceship floated across the crosshairs on the screen. If anyone’s ever played that, let me know
Episodes can be found at http://www.starcade.tv/starcade/episodes.asp. Why do all of the sudden I have a hunkering to watch Tic Tac Dough and Press Your Luck? Seriously this is great stuff, I never saw this show when it was on (the GameShow Network needs to get on this stat) probably because I was too young but would have been easily addicted to it. (Trying to figure out how to get the episodes on disc so I can play it my xbox or dvd player). However, I do remember a Video Game Gameshow when I was much younger. It was late 80’s/early 90’s I think and perhaps it was on Nick or some other kids channel. However, it had a gameshow atmosphere with kids playing obvious copies of pong along with real games like Battletoads, Double Dragon and I think even the first NES Simpsons game. I’m really trying to remember the name of it but they also were playing timed versions of the games where they had to either collect the most items or score the most points.
I know there are people out there going well why don’t you watch those Tournaments they put on that HD Gaming Channel (Dish Network Ultimate HD, oh yeah). I actually do, however if I wanted to go to sleep that badly, I would take some Nyquil and find a cold kitchen floor. The commentating is awful (yes I could do better and would gladly do so) and the excitement just isn’t there. They are trying so hard to make it a serious sport competition and should make it more of a spectacle with colorful commentating and yes a gameshow atmosphere. Have them compete for classic games, have them compete for cash, have them compete for cases with hot women that contain a game they have to score 50,000 on in a minute or less. Book it, Merv!
Grand Theft Auto
It was inevitable. With the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 competing for the “next-gen” first place spot, both armed with Grand Theft Auto IV shipping day and date, nitpicking comparisons between each version was expected from vocal fans. Rockstar Games has commented multiple times that both versions are identical, minus a few platform specific features and Xbox 360 exclusives.
We’ve played both versions of GTA IV—quite a bit, actually. We’ve noticed a handful of differences, some of which you know, some which you may not, many of them hair-splitting. We break it down, from frame rate to controls, after the break.
The PlayStation 3 version has a mandatory 3.4 GB hard drive installation that will be the longest 7 minutes and 20 seconds of your life if you’re chomping at the bit to play. It’s initially an annoyance, but PS3 owners will welcome it. There is no option to install the game to an Xbox 360 hard drive.
The Grand Theft Auto series has never been synonymous with a rock solid frame rate, something it generally seems to get a pass for. While GTA IV is smoother in general than it’s predecessors, it can expectedly suffer during chaos. The Xbox 360 version seemed capable of achieving a smoother frame rate, peaking higher in certain circumstances, such as in confined spaces or during light traffic, but both versions seemed to regularly run at a similar clip.
Pop-In & Loading
With a huge, seamless streaming world, data must be constantly read from the disc. The PS3 version, with its required HDD install, loads missions a couple seconds faster and decreases pop-in. The Xbox 360 version can suffer from some very noticeable texture loading, as things like trees, vehicles and building signs will regularly pop-in as one tools about town. It can be distracting, especially during high speed chases, and the PS3 version isn’t entirely immune from it, but it’s not a game killing problem.
The two versions are so close to identical, visually, that putting together a comparison was a challenge. Initially, it appeared that the PS3 suffered from more noticeable aliasing than its 360 counterpart, but after eyeballing the final retail copy, they appear to be on par. I noticed that the paint filter applied to cover some of the game’s imperfections appeared a tiny bit muddier on the PS3 version, with night time scenes seeing more streakiness. Some of these minor complaints may be the result of our particular television settings and require the finest of fine tooth combs to assess.
The Xbox 360 version is announced to have two exclusive downloadable content packs for purchase. Details on what will be contained in those two exclusive batches of DLC are sparse, so we can’t judge what they’ll bring to the table, nor do we know if the PlayStation 3 version will eventually get its own DLC from Rockstar. If you’re looking for more GTA IV, and you may very well be after you’ve completed the core game, you’re going to want the 360 version.
The Xbox 360 version has the requisite list of Achievements exclusive to the platform, creative and challenging goals that sometimes go beyond the regular gaming experience. However, as with other GTA games, stat-tracking for kills, stunt jumps, and the dozens of extras will keep completionists on the PS3 side happy.
The PS3 version has optional SIXAXIS motion controls for piloting helicopters, steering boats and doing motorcycle tricks. You’ll probably leave it off, just like I did.
GTA IV supports vibration in the Xbox 360 controller and the DualShock 3, so PS3 owners won’t be left in the force feedback lurch.
The good news for Grand Theft Auto fans is that whatever platform you have chosen as your own, GTA IV excels on both. They are almost evenly matched, feature for feature. Gamers will have to decide which is more important to them, a slightly more technically sound experience on the PlayStation 3 or downloadable content and Xbox Live integration on the Xbox 360.
I literally could have chosen hundred of articles about Grand Theft Auto IV this week but I went with this one. A great comparison of the product on the two of the three leading systems. (The Wii got a Grand Theft Auto game this week, however they changed the characters out with Mario ones, got rid of all of the violence and missions and added a wheel. They call it Mario Kart I think, I kid, I kid!) It’s hard to tell which of these versions are better. One could give a slight edge to the 360 for DLC and Achievements, but the PS3 does support better loading and performance. Thankfully, it looks like no matter what system you end up purchasing it for, you will have possibly the best video game experience (aside if they ever release the Morgan Webb experience in HD) of 2008. The missions, the controls, the possibly living up to the idea of being able to actually say free roaming world and not laugh at the same time should all be available here. Sure in a couple of weeks, churches will be burning copies and asking Wal-Mart to ban it. Sure, Jack Thompson will be on many news circuits proclaiming that the filth of Grand Theft Auto should be expunged from the minds of our children but at least we have this week to enjoy a great gaming experience and realize we have the best hobby going today (Take that all you stamp & coin collectors). Kudos to Rockstar and kudos to whoever came up with the idea that running down the street in your trans-am over a row of people at 60mph was a great idea for a Sunday afternoon.
Nothing, I mean it…not a gd thing. No DLC packs worth of mention, I think Rock Band had a few songs this week; Smashing Pumpkins (“Zero”, at least it is a good song) and some small time band, Mother Hips or Rose Hips, or She’s got Big ole Birthing Hips, something like that with a couple of songs. I guess they are expecting us to go out and buy Grand Theft Auto IV or something. Hey, has anybody looked at the achievements for GTA IV? Some good stuff in here. Pool Shark, Warm Coffee, & Rolled Over all get high points in my book. I find it interesting that there are achievements for playing Pool, Bowling and Darts. The bowling still won’t be better than Tekken Bowling (Tekken Tag Team). Still it looks awesome.
Only one release this week, but it certainly happens to be a favorite of mine. Kicking, punching, the whole point that the beat em up phase of games happened. Billy and Jimmy Lee take on the Black Warriors until they reach the boss Wiley and rescue Marian. This will be the NES version, not the arcade version which will frustrate a few. The NES version changed the story slightly (involving Jimmy Lee’s true loyalties) and you had to actually wait until certain levels to bust out certain moves. Of course as long as you had Elbow Punch you could pretty much beat it without much effort. For those who have XBLA and not VC, Double Dragon is also available for 400 points. It also has snazzy HD graphics to boot (and achievements). A nice alternative if you aren’t getting GTA this week.
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1
Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV
I half contemplated putting another game as the Amazon link game besides GTA. And no, it would not have been Mario Kart. That would be too predictable, even though it is a great game and hopefully sells really well. Of course it isn’t Iron Man either, I mean sure a lot of us want to see the movie, but do we really have much hope for the game? If you raised your hand, go spend some money on the animated movie instead, it is almost a guarantee that will have more action and interest than the game based on the movie. I was actually considering SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1. If I don’t buy it off Amazon (along with World Heroes Anthology) in the next week or so, I’ll be surprised. Sixteen games are included with the likes of Baseball Stars 2, Magician Lord, Samurai Showdown, & Sengoku. Woot! Sengoku was awesome, but look it up if you don’t believe me. Sure it does repeat some stuff from other collections like it includes the first Metal Slug, Art of Fighting, World Heroes, etc. But for $15 (PS2, PSP will run you $30), you can’t go wrong. The DS throws us a few titles this week too, though honestly I’m trying to figure out how to do Pilates or Yoga with a DS. Perhaps they expect you to simulate moves with the stylus or something. I really don’t know, let’s just hope they don’t release a follow up of Let’s do some Kung Fu Fighting or else there will be a need for a lot of replacement screens.
Yes I’m still on my I don’t feel like touching my 360 slump. I played Super Metroid a bit, and found myself in one of those classic oh shite moments. It’s nice to head into another room and run into a boss, a big one. Worse than that, I couldn’t go back to the previous room. However, due to old school tactics, I figured out how to beat him with health to spare. Hopefully I find enough time to get far in that sucker because it has been more fun than I’ve had in a while. My book of the week is Grunts! by Mary Gentle. It’s fantasy but done from the evil side of things. Some good humor in places. I also picked up a Warcraft book that I hope to dive into by next week. I’m not sure what the reason is for my most recent vacation from mainstream gaming. Perhaps it is the grind to 40 in WoW, perhaps it’s the fact that even though Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was really well done, without friends to play it with it went to the waste side. I am finding some time to play Rock Band with the girlfriend, but it’s not monopolizing my time. Perhaps I am just finding my way back to my roots. I mean, what other explanation could I have for wanting to play Metal Slug or Legend of the Mystical Ninja rather the newest 360 title. Surely as time passes, I will look into another 360 game (I have plenty), just for now, my thoughts are on other games. For the record though, I am not buying a Wii or PS3 anytime soon. I’m not playing the new system game, though the allure of Super Smash Bros or a Blu-Ray player is appealing indeed. Have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)