Friday, March 20, 2009


At least half of the fun in mentioning Mirror's Edge every once and a while is the reaction it gets from everyone who disliked it.Please pardon the lack of posts; I've had a week or so where I just wasn't in the mood.

Gaming in brief:

- I finished the original Saints Row. It may unashamedly copy Grand Theft Auto lock, stock and barrel, but it's entirely excusable seeing as how it's exponentially better than any GTA up to and including San Andreas. (I haven't played GTA IV yet but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm still going to like Saints Row better.) The user interface is worlds beyond what GTA offers, the mission difficulty is set to "fair" rather than "infuriating", and - the biggest surprise - it has a fully fleshed out plot, complete with intelligent dialogue, characters you really care about, and subtle relationships you'll be thinking about long after you finish the game.

- Caught up some of the XBLA titles I've been meaning to try. The Maw is highly cute but so aggressively small-scale and challenge-less that it feels more like a demo or a toddler toy than a real product. Final Fantasy Crystal Defenders is one of the worst tower defence games I've ever played and it has the added insult of costing money to buy. Peggle is almost exactly the same game as the PC version, which is to say still totally awesome.

- I went back to Mirror's Edge to try to get more achievements, which is practically a first for me. In my house, once I put a single-player game back on the shelf, that's the last time I'll ever touch it, no matter what my intentions might be at the time. I'm speedrunning the story levels, and if the levels were thrilling the first time around they're even moreso when you play them this way. It feels like playing the game as intended; the only thing that stops it from being a perfect gaming experience is the punishingly high difficulty involved in getting a qualifying time at these things.


Grant said...

I honestly found Saint's Row to be vastly and irritatingly inferior to the GTA games in every respect.

Greg Tannahill said...

Then stand back, I've got roughly 1000 words of dissent coming at you at 7 am tomorrow.

It's entirely possible that GTA IV blows it right out of the water, but if it does it's only because Saint's Row raised the bar to the point where GTA had to evolve.

Jon said...

I'm with Grant. But you're hardly alone in preferring Saint's Row (for example, check out the forums at quartertothree), and from what I hear the sequel is even better. If, you know, you're into that sort of thing.

GTA IV, on the other hand... brilliant in some respects, aggravating in others. You'll probably hate it.

Morgan said...

Jon is probably right about Greg will think on GTA4 - while it definitely blows Saints Row out of the water, there are quite a number of flaws.

One thing I really liked about Saints Row was the unashamed nature of it. The big thing that let that down was the gangsta culture.

Saints Row 2 is, in my opinion, one of the three great open-worlders: the other two are Crackdown and GTA4. All three are hugely entertaining in the mindless sense (which is what open-worlders do best), and all three get much better with the (easy-to-access) co-op play.

But GTA4 still has the best helicopter controls, so every other point is moot.

Greg Tannahill said...

It is awesome when people speculate on what I will enjoy. In an ideal world, there would be entire forums on this topic, and I would condense their essence down into a single subroutine that would write my blog. I could log in every morning to read my posts, and be amazed and entertained by my own quirky opinions. (I've been unable to make my words clearly fall one side or the other of the sarcastic/genuine divide; let it be clear that this is a genuine wish.)

I award medals to any man, woman, or child who salutes the banner of awesomeness which is Crackdown.

I do intend to play GTA4; it's just that stores keep refusing to sell me second-hand copies for under $50. When this situation changes you can be assured that I will be all over it like lice on hoboes.

Phrancq said...

I don't think I could justify paying more than $50 for a GTA game. I've never gone over that for any of the others, and the only one I ever felt completely satisfied over was GTA: Vice City. The others would never hold my interest for long enough so getting to the end of the plot in them was all I could muster.

Crackdown was damn good. Rather shallow in it's options in some places but then that was part of the charm. It promised to be one thing and one thing only and boy did it deliver.

I still have a soft spot for Spider-Man 2 as far as open worlders go, but that is mostly for the web-swinging and Alfred Molina's brilliant voice acting. Everything else was a bit on the poor side.

Also, I am willing to write your blog for you Greg. I think you may be surprised by some of your opinions. For example, I bet you didn't know that your favourite console was the Atari Jaguar.

mysty said...

*takes out her crystal ball* I predict that you will enjoy Saints Row 2 more than GTA 4.

Crackdown is hands-down the best sandbox game ever. So much explosions! GTA2 was okay too because it had tanks you could drive, and Elvis conga-lines to mow down (preferably with the tank).

Greg Tannahill said...

I liked GTA 2 a lot. I was hoping that's what Chinatown Wars would end up as but it seems possibly not.

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