Hey, it’s Safari 4 (beta). Instresting.
Hey, it’s Safari 4 (beta). Instresting.
In short: if you like GTA, you’ll like GTA.
It was big news when Rockstar announced that Grand Theft Auto IV would see a simultaneous release for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Arguably even bigger news was that Microsoft basically showered Rockstar in cash in exchange for the exclusive rights to two episodes of downloadable content.
That was in 2006; Grand Theft Auto IV hit stores in April 2008 with the promise that the first portion of DLC would follow in the fall. And true to form, it was delayed. But finally, last Tuesday, The Lost and Damned arrived and set out to redefine what downloadable content can be.
Instead of continuing your experience as Niko Bellic (protagonist of the core storyline) TLAD puts you in the shoes of biker Johnny Klebitz (of The Lost Motorcycle Club), one of the ancillary characters that you previously crossed paths with. I really like this approach, as the entire cast of GTA IV is ripe for this sort of extrapolation. I was a little hesitant about the choice of a biker as I wasn’t a huge fan of the motorcycle-oriented missions in the original game, but fortunately those fears turned out to be unfounded.
Whether you prefer Niko or Johnny as a “hero” boils down to personal preference; I found both to be likable enough, with a sort of “why does this keep happening to me?” quality about them. As noted above, you’ll end up in a few missions where both characters are involved simultaneously and that may be my favorite aspect of this whole experience – seeing a whole new viewpoint of a scenario that you had previously only witnessed from one angle. Furthermore, relationship between Niko and Johnny versus Niko and the rest of TLMC is quite interesting to follow as they rarely seem to be consistent.
Aside from that the missions are par for course, but enjoyable. I probably spent around ten hours on the story mode, and didn’t find any one level particularly frustrating. Interestingly, Rockstar has reworked the continue system with this expansion, so restarting the mission often puts you at a checkpoint instead of at the beginning, finally.
Liberty City has also received some upgrades in the form a couple new interiors and some new vehicles; most of which are motorcycles. But most notable is the addition of all sorts of new music and dialogue on the radio stations. It’s pretty rad and remarkably satisfying to hear Deep Purple’s Highway Star and Bon Jovi’s Wanted blaring over the exhaust of your bike. Odd though – I can’t help but notice that Rockstar seems to have raided the Rock Band catalog. And while I believe the new vehicles are only available when you’re playing TLAD, the media additions are universal.
So is it worth $20? If you spent countless hours with the original, then yes, no thought required. Buy it and see Liberty City in a whole new light. If you weren’t crazy about the core game, than nothing TLAD brings to the table can remedy that aside from perhaps the continue system. Still, though, it’s not nearly as satisfying or interesting to play if you weren’t already emotionally invested in the characters. It’s not an entirely different game, and it’s not an entirely different story. What it is, is a very strong addition to what was already a very good game.
God, content providers are dumb.
It seems that content providers have decided that Hulu will no longer run on boxee. What I’ve read suggests that they would prefer the revenue from actual TV ads versus the revenue generated by watching Hulu on a television.
Except the content providers always seem to ignore that it’s not black and white. My viewing choices aren’t limited to “watch it on Hulu” or “watch it on live TV”. They also include “don’t watch it at all”, “torrent it”, or “watch it on TiVo and skip the ads”. So are those zero-revenue choices (admittedly I’m not sure about the TiVo one) really preferable to the revenue from Hulu’s ads?
I love playing. I hate paying.
While I’ve made it clear that my love for the Xbox 360 and next generation gaming in general is nearly boundless, I’ve also harbored a resentment towards Microsoft (and Sony for following suit), for using this latest technology as an excuse to bring back $60 games. If that sounds like a lot of money, don’t worry – that’s also what it feels like as it leaves your wallet.
I can think of at least ten titles that lightened my bank account by at least $60 in 2008. Sadly, I feel that only about half of them were worth the MSRP, which means I probably could’ve saved a hundo or so by being a little more patient – money that could’ve been spent on more games/car parts/
hookers/groceries. I tweeted earlier this year about my resolve not to fall into the $60 game trap again, and so far Skate 2 has been the only game to test that.
The thing is, it’s not that hard to find games for less. Half.com and Amazon are obvious places to look, but you have to give it some time before they start to reach the “worth it used” threshold (I consider this to be about $40-45, depending on how desperate I am). Skate 2 has actually reached that point, if you want it for (cringe for effect) the PS3.
But a place I’ve found great success in the past is our local Family Video. Since I hadn’t been in awhile, I decided to stop in and browse over the weekend – and ended up with the latest Prince of Persia. Thus far I haven’t been disappointed – it’s a fun game with good mechanics, and I’ve found that it works really well in short bursts – maybe 30 minutes or so.
This week also marked the release of some classic hotness: Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection landed, bringing with it over forty full Sega Genesis games in high-def with achievements. I have to thank Sega for realizing that nobody in their right mind would pay $60 for disc full of 15-year-old games, and instead pricing the whole thing at half that. As the owner of either two or three Genesis..es(?) (but only one while they were actually relevant), playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog series brings back a lot of memories, while making me wonder how I ever played this stuff as a child.
Finally, I know where my next $20 in gaming will be spent, and it really is probably pretty obvious. Not bad for $80 total.
More great news: WordPress MU has hit version 2.7. Time to play.
Glad to see that Google Sync has made its way to the iPhone.
No matter how I may try, I can’t escape the meme.
While I usually try to avoid doing the self-quiz/meme/etc thing, especially on this site, one occasionally comes along that I find genuinely interesting. The latest as such is spreading though Facebook, and simply asks users to share 25 personal facts. As I read a few lists put together by friends and acquaintances, it became apparent that when you start to add up all these relatively miniscule bits of data your result is a good portion of the writer’s personality. It’s not just the actual facts themselves, but the way they’re presented and the fact that those were the points that were included.
With that said, here are some things about me you may not have known:
Wow – Chris Bangle is calling it a day. Bangle was responsible for BMW’s, uh, unique design turn at the beginning of the decade. Obligatory snark: maybe now BMW can go back to making attractive cars.
Singing and all that stuff. I’m at it again!
Until relatively recently, my stage experience beyond the obligatory grade school Christmas Pageants was extremely limited. I was comfortable in the theatre environment and being around theatre people (I live with one!), but beyond The Wizard of Oz in high school and Cabaret in college, I hadn’t really thought much about acting.
Then Urinetown came along and the perfect storm of factors (awesome show + familiar setting + “the itch”) led me to a few solos and some actual lines.
I was hooked.
Connections from that show led me to Wausau Community Theatre, where I eagerly anticipate my eighth new role in the last two years. Again, it’s a show that I’m incredibly fond of, and again it pushes me into a new and strange environment. This is the first time I’ll be working with Abe as a director, and the first time that I make up exactly 50% of the cast.
The Last 5 Years is a story about a man (Jamie) and a woman (Cathy) and their relationship as it develops and ends over five years. The twist, if you want to call it that, is that Jamie tells his side of the story from the beginning to the end, while Cathy starts at the end and rewinds to the beginning. It’s quite interesting, because you’ll hear songs where Jamie is excited and enthusiastic about his life with Cathy, while she is frustrated and unhappy, and vice versa. If it sounds kind of convoluted, that’s because it is; but when you hear the music, it all clicks together and works really well.
Auditions for the show were quite early because of another WCT show happening first, and so rehearsal for this hasn’t kicked in yet and probably won’t for another month or so. Still, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is the most excited and nervous I’ve ever been for a show: excited because it’s a role I’ve often admired, and nervous because I pray that I’m able to pull it off.