Guess who’s birthday it is… er at least two days ago it WAS. Super-short episode for everyone this week, as Joshua’s had a bit of a busy weekend with the birthday goings on and general hustle and bustle of the weekend. As a result, there’s no guest, no format and and no editing this week, so it’s KIND of a Gone Wild Incoductic episode. However, there IS a lot of gushing, giving a rundown on the awesome gifts his amazing fianceé got him and asking attempting by Joshua to get his birthday present crowd funded so he can Killer Instinct his face off. Spoiler, it’s an Xbox One he’s asking for. At any rate, enjoy Episode 29!
As a gamer, you spend literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours playing games, beating bosses, and earning achievements. I know that if I go through a level and it doesn’t save properly, I’m a little miffed that I have to complete the mission or level all over again. I can only imagine the anger I’d feel if I lost all of my progress on games like Skyrim. But seriously: I love our consoles and Alienware as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t risk my life for them.
At least one Xbox gamer doesn’t feel the same way.
I feel you, dude. It would suck to lose something you’ve put so much time an effort into. But it would also suck to get third degree burns all over your body or die. Besides, this is why we have Cloud storage!
Would you risk your life to save your console? Head over to Wrong Button and take our poll!
The midnight release of GTA V is less than four hours away, and although I’ll be waiting until my copy is mailed tomorrow, I’m preparing for some all night livestreams and YouTube watching. Thanks to the game being leaked, several people have been posting streams, videos, and pictures of the game despite Rockstar’s mission to shut them down, and I can say from watching… this game is going to be amazing. Like I’ve told other people, this is the Grand Theft Auto game I’ve always wished for, and with GTA Online launching October 1st, I’ll have plenty of time to do some single-player exploring and free roaming. Consider my social life non-existent.
For those of you planning on playing on PS3, make sure you add me in preparation for GTA Online! My PSN is PhoenixDownnn. Also, for those interested in joining a crew (particularly mine), make sure you sign up on the Social Club and make sure you add me there as well! Once GTA Online launches, I expect a lot of play time and money-making… because I want a snazzy apartment and garage to show off all my cars. Also, once GTA V gets here tomorrow, I’m planning on making a first impressions video before I write out any kind of review so make sure you keep an eye out for that. All links are listed below.
GTA V comes out in eight days, and I’m kind of feeling like a kid waiting for her birthday. Time is moving way too damn slow! I have a bunch of stuff to do like bicycle riding through Los Santos, skydiving out of jets, base jumping off of buildings that I crash my jet on, finding a new jet after I crash my jet, maybe some golf when I can’t find another jet, hunting for Bigfoot because he definitely does exist (you better not tell me otherwise), and spending my hard-earned cash on properties and other things I don’t need. I also have to play some tennis. I hate tennis but I’m excited to play it. What have you done to me, Rockstar?!
Every other GTA fan is probably experiencing the same feelings I am. The sweaty palms, the stuttered speech, the awkward daydreams where you drool and you don’t realize it… oh wait, that’s just me? No it’s not! GTA V is sounding more and more like the Grand Theft Auto game I’ve always fantasized about. And I can’t even describe my excitement for GTA Online. With the exception of maybe Dragon Age: Inquisition, GTA Online is an experience I’m looking forward to above all else.
This is going to be a dream for the GTA player that enjoys the free-roaming experience outside of the storytelling. So in order to maybe relate with some of you other crazy dudes out there (I know you’re out there), here’s a list of what I’m looking forward to the most in GTA V and Online.
1. Buy an apartment
Apartment-buying is tough when you don’t have any money. Luckily, there will always be some type of job to do in Los Santos, which is fantastic considering I want a kick-ass place my friends can come hang out at. While we know the basic fact that apartments can be bought, I haven’t really heard much about customizing it. Can you transform the interior into a place that is unique to you? While ultimately it really doesn’t matter to me, no one else better not have the same apartment as I do, otherwise I’m going to shoot you… which is completely possible! But not everyone has to come hang out all at once! While some weird strangers may get high on my couch (it was confirmed that you can do that with screen-altering effects), the rest of you may be in an intense car chase on the news… and I can watch that with my strangers-that-may-eventually-be-friends on my television. How cool is that?
2. Understanding the importance of money
Money can be lost in GTA Online, and I’m guessing in a world where you don’t know for sure just how loyal your teammates are, this is something to worry about. ATMs and banks are a lifesaver in GTA Online where you can deposit and withdraw cash whenever you need to. What’s cool, though, is the fact that you’ll apparently have some type of credit card. Your “iFruit” phone can also help you manage your funds. Making these steps to insure your earnings is important since any cash you carry can be stolen if you die. What’s also interesting is the moral decisions you and other players can make. If you and I decide to rob a liquor store and I’m the one carrying the cash when we masterfully escape the police, I can choose how to divide that. Since I’m a nice person (unless you’re a douche), I’ll probably dish out a 50/50 split. However someone else might choose to take the money and run. Or if you’re the one carrying the dough, I could just kill you and run off with it. That’s just how it works.
3. Having car insurance/personal repair man
This sounds weird, doesn’t it? But I have a feeling it’s going to be extremely important. From what I’ve heard, GTA Online tries to motivate you to legally purchase your vehicle, and while this is something I plan on doing, I know how the world works. Some douchebag with a rocket launcher is going to run by and blow it up… or steal it. But fortunately, with car insurance, you’re covered and can have it replaced. Small qualities like this makes the world seem a lot more (kind of) realistic. Y’know, in a crime-filled kind of realistic way. In addition to insurance, you can also hire your own personal $50 a day repair man. Supposedly he’ll repair your car as well as deliver it to you no matter where you’re at. Unfortunately he won’t touch stolen cars, which brings me to my next topic…
4. Steal and mod cars
Crime is key in any GTA game and obviously GTA Online isn’t going to be any different. If I see a nice car on the street, I can attempt to steal it. What’s interesting is that you can mod your stolen car (change the look, plates, etc.), but unfortunately some places won’t touch stolen cars, and if the police catch you with stolen plates, you’ll end up in trouble. Which in my case normally happens quite often. Car customization, however, is going to be awesome. I’ve actually recently returned to San Andreas just for the sake of nostalgia, and the customization really makes the game shine– even as outdated as it is. Being able to directly influence your cars and your character is always a nice touch… but now it’s going to be nice to customize my own personal avatar.
5. Character customization
I was immediately interested by GTA Online’s character creation. While not too much has been revealed, the idea is certainly a cool thought. DNA is what the character creator focuses on. So instead of just choosing certain looks and attributes, you will have to pick certain traits that your parents have in a hereditary-based creation system, and then use a gene dominance meter to kind of tweak which parent you take after the most. What I’m just finding out, however, is that your character will have a life outside of your playtime.
For example, you’ll be able to customize your daily activities which will ultimately impact your character’s appearance and skills. You may be a gym maniac or a couch potato or a routine criminal, and those details with affect who your character is. But while your character may build certain skills that way, you’ll be able to manually rank up during gameplay.
This is all just a small taste of what I’m looking forward to in GTA V/Online (I can ramble about it all day). What are you looking forward to? If you’re planning on getting it, what system will you be playing it on?
For those of you planning on playing it on the PS3, make sure you add me (PSN: PhoenixDownnn) so we can cause some chaos when GTA Online drops.
The bread and butter of Remedy Entertainment is making highly cinematic games with interesting storylines, and Alan Wake is no exception. However, the game also had a troubled five-year development cycle before its eventual release in 2010, and it shows in much of the actual gameplay. So what we have here is a game with an above-average, mature story that is dragged down by dull, repetitive combat sequences, pointless collection quests, and disparagingly linear level design.
The story is thus: the titular main character is a bestselling thriller author who is currently suffering from a severe case of writer’s block and is coaxed into taking a relaxing vacation with his girlfriend. Wake finds himself in the sleepy Twin Peaks-esque town of Bright Falls, where his rented cabin overlooks the foreboding Cauldron Lake. When the lights go out, Wake’s girlfriend disappears into the lake, mirroring the drowning of a girl some years prior. Wake dives in after her, then wakes up a week later behind the wheel of his crashed, flaming Ford Escape (yes, the product placement is egregious, from Wake’s Verizon cell phone to the ever-important Energizer batteries he collects for his flashlight). As he walks into town, he finds pages from a manuscript of a horror novel that is clearly his, but he doesn’t remember writing; the pages predict grim events, like the abduction of Bright Falls’ townsfolk in the night and attacks on Wake’s own life by a dark force, and all the predictions come true almost immediately after Wake finds them. If the plot sounds ripped from a Stephen King novel, then don’t be surprised that the first line of dialogue in the game is a King quote.
The game’s best sequences are during sections when Wake is visiting key locations around Bright Falls, such as Bright’s Diner and the police station. It’s usually at these locales that key plot points are slowly revealed, and the story is so complex and intricate that it’s always a treat to peel another layer off the mystery. Also, these sequences usually take place during the day, meaning that much of the tension and horror of the night-time combat sequences evaporates, allowing the player to de-stress before the next series of battles. The cast of characters, from Wake’s bumbling but loyal agent Barry (whose voice actor seems to be trying his hardest to channel Joe Pesci), to the hard-boiled but helpful sheriff Sarah Breaker (perhaps the only sane person in Bright Falls), to the rattled, lantern-wielding Cynthia Weaver, the cast remains mostly strong throughout the course of the game. Perhaps the best story sequence takes place at Dr. Emil Hartman’s psych ward, where it is suggested that Wake’s experiences of his girlfriend’s death and Bright Falls being usurped by darkness are merely symptoms of his insanity. When darkness rolls over the peaceful mountain asylum, the line between reality and fantasy becomes intriguingly blurred for the remainder of the game, and Wake’s motivations and mental stability lose their solidarity. After the psych ward chapter, you constantly wonder whether you’re actually working toward saving Wake’s girlfriend or if you’re simply descending further into madness.
The game begins to fall apart whenever characters aren’t talking to each other. Each set of cutscenes is immediately followed by an endless trek through the pitch-black forests and mountains of Bright Falls; every few steps, you’ll be dogged by the same group of creepy enemies over and over again. The fights aren’t very difficult, particularly if you abuse the dodge button, but they are a huge pain to slog through because they change very little from your very first encounter. One section of forest took me almost two hours to get through without so much as a hint of story. The combat sequences are worsened by the fact that the forest paths, despite looking like a maze of trees and rocks, are extremely linear, forcing you down a narrow path through a gauntlet of shadowy enemies. This actually takes a lot of the horror out of the game, since you know that if you keep walking straight forward and fighting enemies, eventually you’ll reach the next story sequence; how scary would it be if you could actually get lost in that seemingly infinite forest, walk too far off the intended path, maybe find a group of terrifyingly overpowered enemies? Alan Wake feels like it was intended to be an open-world game (Remedy tried to make it work for six months before eventually scrapping it), and it suffers under the weight of its own linearity.
Because the forest sequences take up so much of the game’s total running time, they seem like little more than filler designed to turn a five-hour game into a ten-hour game. They feel somewhat novel the first few times as the developers steadily add new enemy types (although they differ little from the standard drone; “the fat one” and “the fast one” and “the one that throws things” could adequately describe them), but by the time you reach the game’s midway point, you’re dreadfully tired of them. It’s difficult to say whether the game would’ve benefited from a complete omission of combat altogether (in the vein of Heavy Rain), but when your game has no multiplayer mode, it’s a very tough sell with a campaign only a few hours long.
Then there’s the ending. While I did appreciate what it was trying to do, and indeed Alan Wake‘s story is far too complex to be wrapped up neatly, I still felt that it left a lot of holes open that wouldn’t have hurt the ending’s impact if they had been closed. One character you meet about midway through the game is a hotheaded FBI agent (who is constantly referred to as “drunk” by other characters for reasons unknown, as his voice actor certainly doesn’t sell it) who shoots at Wake and then disappears entirely for the remainder of the game. He’s set up to be an integral part of the story, and then…nothing. The fates of Barry and Sarah Breaker are similarly left in limbo, as well as all of the patients at Hartman’s clinic who were supposedly swallowed by darkness, including the doctor himself. There’s also the game’s bizarre metanarrative involving a mirror author to Wake named Thomas Zane, whose name doesn’t anagram to anything relevant so it’s impossible to tell just how much of an impact he has on the game’s ending. The two pieces of downloadable content released in the game’s wake, as well as the standalone expansion Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, do little to clear up the matter.
Alan Wake has flashes of pure brilliance, but most of the time, it doesn’t feel like a game that took Remedy five years to make; rather, it feels like a game that they struggled with for five years before ultimately releasing as a gimped version of their original vision. The excellent story sequences are often overshadowed by the excrutiatingly tedious combat marathons. It’s clear they designed the story sequences first, then spent a large amount of time trying to decide how to connect them. Their eventual decision (a large volume of repetitive, skill-less third-person-shooter sequences) would ultimately end up holding the game back greatly.