> Vices and Cities

GTA San Andreas is coming out in October. I'm a big fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA3 was awesome (and revolutionary), and GTA Vice City is simply a masterpiece.

You probably all of course know of the controversy that surrounds the GTA series - it's overtly violent, unethical, and completely politically incorrect. And yeah, they're partially right, it is those things, if you want it to be. On the other hand, they're also some of the best written, most beautiful, most realistic (in its own way), most developed games ever made. They created a wonderfully detailed world where you don't have to do anything pre-set, you can do whatever you want. Your destiny is up to you - if you want to sit on the beach and listen to 80's all day, you can do that, if you want to run over people and gun down cops, you can do that too. You make your own choices, and you live with the consequences... consequences that are very different from the real world - which politicians and parents seem to fail to understand, though most of the world seems to not have a problem with. But go ahead, blame this new GTA game for society's ills, cause we all know violence didn't exist before GTA came out, and bad political decisions and bad parenting have nothing to do with it.

I cannot wait to see the world they've created with San Andreas. Unfortunately, like Vice City, it's only coming out for Playstation 2 for now. I'm personally a PC guy - give me a mouse and a keyboard and I can do anything. I haven't really been into consoles for a while, though I still truly love Nintendo (8-bit), Genesis, and Playstation. I've known a lot of people with cool consoles and got to play them a lot that way, but you just can't get into a game the way you can when it's your system.

If Vice City is any gauge, it will be about a year before we see the PC version. Which is fine; it's good marketing, console loyalty, and almost makes me want to buy a PS2 (just like Vice City did when it came out). Problem is, I hated the way Vice City looked on the PS2 - cloudy, murky, and low-rez. Vice City looks gorgeous on my PC, and mine's 3 years old (with a year and a half old Nvidia 4200), the difference is startling. So, I'm probably going to wait until the PC version comes out.

They apparently didn't make any real changes to the graphics - it's the same engine GTA3 used. But I'm actually really happy about that. I'm a fan of old skool games, and GTA definitely pays tribute to that, to try and update it right now would be tantamount to blasphemy - they got it right, stick with it. Other games like Mafia (which is a GREAT game, in its own right) and True Crime (which I really didn't like all that much) already tried to "update" the GTA engine, with little success. The only really good copy of GTA so far has been City of Heros, which did a great job of bringing the same feel of GTA to the online world. Still, online and single player is apples and oranges. Good job Rockstar for sticking with what you know and leaving well enough alone.

I was thinking about all this yesterday, and I decided to relive a little of the old glory and make a paramedic complete Vice City file. As I talk about in the Downloads section, the Paramedic Mission in GTA3 is one of the most challenging things I've ever been through in a video game. Weird thing is, it seems to be a lot easier in Vice City. I don't know if it's that I was lucky, or the time is more generous, or my experience with GTA3 made it easy for me, or what, but I got it almost on the first try the first time. Yesterday it seemed a little more difficult, but that's probably because I haven't played either of them in a while. But it still took me less than two hours (GTA3's took me almost a week for hours a day).

So, it's available here (requires GTA Vice City of course), it will be available in the Downloads section. I hope Rockstar plans on releasing San Andreas for PC soon so we can get in the fun (and play it the way its meant to be played - with a graphics card).