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Games Entertainment

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Launch 419

The first of this year's AAA titles has launched, and the first reviews are in. Gamespot, IGN, and OPM all have looks at the game, and it sounds great. If you want to keep track of the pool-shooting race track driving everything-under-one-roof extravaganza, the GameRankings page is available as well. When you play the game this week make sure and tune in to WCTR News to catch Anchorman Richard Burns, TV's Wil Wheaton. More seriously, reviews aren't the only thing the developers are looking for. Commentary regarding Take Two Interactive's slipping stock is available on CNN Money's Game Over.
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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Launch

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  • Which month is it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:24PM (#10634649) Journal

    It's the end of October, and you think that 'GTA 3.2' is the first of the year's AAA titles?


  • Australia? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:28PM (#10634710) Homepage Journal
    Is it legal to release Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with its crime and violence apotheosis in Australia [slashdot.org]? I hope so, but does anyone know any formal decisions and rationale?
  • Re:New Features (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:31PM (#10634763) Journal
    Anti-social behavior aside, GTA3 is one of the best console games I've ever played. Stike that. I think the anti-social content in GTA3 makes it one of the best console games in recent history. It is truly a classic. You owe it to yourself to barrow a copy and drive around for a bit.

    Vice City, while enjoyable, is just a variation on the theme. GTA is the rilla.

  • GTA Source (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:37PM (#10634845) Homepage Journal
    I love the GTA series, and I keep thinking that it could be the next 'doom' if rockstar would open up the .exe source code for modders. Even if it was something older like GTA3, there is no end to what could be done with a game like this by the mod community.
  • Re:GTA Source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NightWulf ( 672561 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:41PM (#10634896)
    Well they might, but not for a while. San Andreas is technically GTA 3.2. They use the same GTA 3 engine. Think of Vice City and San Andreas as large expansion packs. Possibly when GTA 4 comes out on the new consoles with a new engine, they might open up the old code, since by then it won't be a big issue.
  • by NightWulf ( 672561 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:45PM (#10634938)
    Happened to be in the local mall last night to find out GameStop and EBX were going to start selling at 8pm that night. There were roughly 3000 people waiting online between the two stores. I love GTA but yeesh, you think people would have better things to do, considering I walked right in this morning and picked up a copy.

    Wait time for line losers= 5 hours

    Wait time for me=5 minutes

  • hard to get excited (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:58PM (#10635066) Homepage
    I played GTA3 on the PC and Vice City on the PS2 and loved them (Vice City in particular) but I'm getting a real "been there done that" vibe from this San Andreas. It sounds like they've just added more stuff to do on top of the same old shit and thrown new skins and voices onto the same old graphics engine.

    There's such a thing as too much realism. I mean, who wants to eat and work out and ride a bicycle in a video game? I play games to feel like I'm doing something that I can't do in the real world, and between GTA3 and Vice City I've already done all the crazy shit that I wanted to do.

    Finally, the early 90s L.A. setting isn't what I'd personally call fun. If GTA3 is comparable to The Sopranos and Vice City is like Miami Vice or Scarface, then San Andreas is like the LA gangsta scene and that wasn't fictional. Lots of young people really died in the places that movies like "Boyz in The Hood" were about. Yeah, eventually that gangsta rap stuff got to be cliche and Snoop Dogg is funny and all that but it all comes from a place where innocent people died. You can't say anything about Tony Montana is real other than there were Cuban cokeheads in Miami in the early 1980s.

    The geek part of me says "ooh, shiny new game" but the rational side says "don't believe the hype."
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:58PM (#10635071)
    When you get around to porting this to the PC, please, please with a cherry on top sort out the frigging pedestrian / car behaviour.

    In the previous two games you could stand still, do a 360 turn and pedestrians / cars who were visible a moment ago have been replaced with other pedestrians / cars. Such behaviour might be unavoidable in the PS2 version, but it's seriously annoying in the PC version.

    There were some very dumb pathing issues too. A common thing in previous games was to stand under a bridge and watch as police etc., jumped straight off it to their deaths to get you. Or they would drive straight into the water etc.

    It's amusing but it screws up some missions too. One mission had you rescuing your buddy from a scrap yard. I did that part and he followed me out. I ran across a bridge and turned around to see him fall straight into the water and drown. The pathing had him make a beeline straight for my character without checking whether he would drown in the process.

    Still, GTA games are excellent, but that AI needs work.

  • by DroopyStonx ( 683090 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:01PM (#10635097)
    I heard the retail version of this game is a dual-layer DVD.

    However, the one that was "leaked" last week fits nicely on a plain ol' DVD-R. Odd thing, I've put a ton of hours into it and nothing seems missing. Textures are fine, music sounds great, and all the movies/cutscenes are there.

    Does anyone happen to know exactly what the differences are?

    (oh wait, I admitted to downloading a game, does that mean the moral crusaders are coming after me to mod me down?!)
  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:08PM (#10635189)
    I'd love to see GTA as an MMO - a game where the whole point is to be as much of an asshole as possible. Kind of like usenet, but you get to run people over.

    It would be a fun change from the FPS's and deathmatches, at the least.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by celeritas_2 ( 750289 ) <ranmyaku@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:14PM (#10635259)
    you have to understand that nearly everyone can tell the difference between playing a game and living their life. Games are also different than tv which appears to be equivalant to real life, when I'm playing I don't have to think about the suffering of my 'enemy' if i shoot him, because he's just a few ones and zeroes jumping around in my console. I'm still waiting for a repeatable _scientific_ study proving any significant change in behavior caused by game playing. Unless of course you think faster reactions and strong thumbs are a detrement to society :)
  • by fr0dicus ( 641320 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:23PM (#10635354) Journal
    It's not dual layer. It was mentioned in the runup but didn't happen.
  • everyone you knew? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phriedom ( 561200 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:25PM (#10635368)
    So everyone you knew thought of Wheaton as a loser? Has anyone you know ever met Wil Wheaton? Read his books? Have you ever read his weblog?

    I can tell you why I like Wil, but if you really want to know why people like Wil, you should just go read his writing.

    Now seriously, why is "I don't get it." modded up? Since when was ignorance insightfull?
  • by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:30PM (#10635413)
    Perhaps some of the "line losers" remember events like when Super Mario Bros. 2 came out for NES. The wait time for that, after the first run sold out, was more like 5 weeks.
  • Empowering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by prell ( 584580 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:37PM (#10635482) Homepage
    GTA:SA does not fall into the thoughtless exploitation of "the hood," which many people may have expected from a series that sports almost comical violence and detachment from reality. This lack of exploitation is in stark relief when played against the lyrics sung by Snoop about killing cops. Rather than experiencing a bunch of empty-headed black charicatures in a consequence-free environment spurting "ebonix," drinking 40s and shooting each other, there's a definite desperation in this game that you sympathize with immediately, to the point that you almost feel you know how Laurence Fishburne's character felt when he proclaimed that rich white men are infecting the hood with drugs in order to destroy its inhabitants. And the characters are complex, wallowing in the self-destruction that they're so desperate to destroy. And it's obvious the effects that their environment has on them. While GTA had you initially sickened with, and eventually lavishing violence, this game bound my emotions to every kill, every chase, and just about every action. When my mission was to kill a crack dealer in broad daylight, I really felt it; I really wanted him dead.
  • by ajservo ( 708572 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @06:11PM (#10635882)
    After reading some of the posts on here regarding the game's launch, it's readily evident that the people who post here, have at least mastered not using 4aX0R 5p33k in a post. If you don't believe me, go look at the forum for this game on Gamefaqs... You'd never guess that mods sit on that thing.

    There's a variety of posts, including users who don't believe that people get review copies of games, others that believe the game destroys PS2's, and polls asking how late someone will stay up tonight playing it. Really engaging conversations.

    All I was wanting last night was some help on the game, and all I got was a lousy flame.
  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @06:55PM (#10636381)
    ok not really, but I have heard record amounts of people say "I dunno, I am gonna buy it but I dont wanna be a gangsta, I wanna be tommy vercetti" I get the distinct impression that people (fellow geeks) are having a hard time adjusting to having a black main character.
  • Re:Empowering (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loopback_127001 ( 695885 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @08:33PM (#10637293)
    In a similar vein, I've barely begun the game (done perhaps 7 or 8 missions thus far), and I've amassed a total of ... almost $1k.

    Compare that to Vice City, where you were making 1k-5k PER MISSION right from go. Going to the clothing store and buying a new outfit is a hard choice. You go in and the shit costs what feels like 'real' money.

    I'm sure as the game continues, money becomes less of an issue. But I'm very pleased that they did successfully map the relative poverty level of "the hood" so that the player didn't have thousands of dollars to begin with.

    I do have one problem with the game however, and it's a problem that I'm surprised slipped through QA & product evaluation.

    In a very early mission, you take a baseball bat, and you have to fight multiple enemies. The manual does _not_ tell you how to switch targets when in 'lock on' mode. In a mission that happens several missions _after_ that one, you are walked through shooting a gun, locking on targets, and cycling through all available targets.

    -1 : failing to document the target cycle controls in the manual

    -1 : ordering the 'tutorial' missions such that the useful knowledge comes after the mission when you would first need it.

    Still, total score: 98/100.
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @08:56PM (#10637463) Journal
    • In regards to GTA:SA, changing the language would be akin to air brushing out George Burns' cigars. The player is essentially role playing a character in an historical environment, and the language is part of it. Editing out specific words from a game with drive-by's, corrupt cops, drugs, etc. seems a little selective to me.
    You certainly didn't read my post terribly well, I said I wasn't one to be easily offended, in fact I tend to offend sensitive people, I cuss like a sailor. Yet still, parts of San Andreas's language offended me.

    The more I think of it, the more I realize it wasn't the story/mission parts that bothered me. What was getting on my nerves was the constant random shit that you'd hear when walking/running/riding/driving/etc. A lot of it was beyond pointless, and it didn't help to establish a feel for the era/area. I'm quite sure that not all 1990s residents of Los Angelas cussed everytime they opened their mouth. Keep in mind not all the background chatter is caused by you, you'll hear NPCs yelling at each other as well. If it was only triggered by your rude/criminal actions it'd be understandable.

    Basically it feels more like Rockstar went overboard and the cussing has ended up being there for shock value, not authenticity. That alone is pretty offensive. In any case for someone like me who cusses as much, or more, than the game characters do to end up being sick of the constant cussing and want to mute it says a lot about how they've used it in-game. I simply don't get offended easily, and this is the first GTA game to manage to offend me. (Actually it's the first game or movie to offend me.) At this point I'll probably rent it to spend some more time with it and see if the gameplay overcomes what I've felt watching it (admittedly for only a few hours). Maybe I'll get used to it, but I don't know. I came away from that session not terribly interested in the game and I'd been looking forward to it for months and was excited as hell to get to see it the other night.

    And as far as having a less-cussing option, it's not the same. In this case you still get to present the work in its full glory, but for those less inclined to hear the language (or those sick of hearing it constantly) you can give them a break. After all would you rather stay true to your 'vision' or sell more games? Personally I think a game company would want to sell more games, if it tanks they'll lose money on it. (Granted that's not very likely with this series.) Air-brushing out George Burn's cigars would also be acceptable in the right context, say on a DVD that used multiple angles (or just came as a set with two versions) so that those that wanted to see it in its original format could, but those offended by smoking could also enjoy it. It's not censorship when the consumer is left with both options. After all nearly every movie release presents you with a choice of a modified movie (full screen) or one in its full original form (wide screen). Very few releases offer both versions in one package and I don't see many people saying that's a problem.

  • by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @09:06PM (#10637522)
    I have played the GTA series since the original was released for DOS in 1998. Most people don't realize this, but the game has been basically the same thing since the original GTA. The basic formula has not changed at all with one exception (multiplayer), only the presentation has improved.

    The graphics and sound have dramatically improved, multiplayer has been dropped, and the game has been split and sold in separate chunks... yes the first GTA had Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas all in one!

    Most people probably never got past Liberty City in the original game, so it was wise to split them up... oh and creating content for the GTA3 series is allot harder than doing so for the GTA1 series.

    It really bothers me how much gamers and critics ignored the first GTA. Critics bagged it as a gimmic and gamers ignored it. Hell, the Gamespot reviewer of GTA3: San Andreas even goes as far as to say

    the concept of a multiplayer mode in GTA is pretty mind-blowing

    when multiplayer has been in GTA since 1998. Just imagine if movie critics were this ignorant of history. "The concept of a non-linear storyline in a movie is pretty mind-blowing"! Yup, they would be laughed at. I guess the game industry still has allot of growing up to do.
  • by drgath159 ( 821707 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @05:03AM (#10639834)
    That is rediculous. After playing 3 hours of this game, it's definately the best storyline, most in depth character-wise, most realistic emotional-wise GTA thus far. This is coming from a cracka from Kansas who has only drivin past Compton on the highway twice before. Props to Rockstar for once again going against the grain. Sure, a Gangsta (not Gangster) theme has been a couple times before, but for a game that has so much riding on it, they took a chance and it definately paid off. They've done the mob/gangster before, time for something new. Favorite features so far... - Driving really fast and the screen becomes blurry (I'll call it Fast and the Furious effect), - Being able to swim - How insanely big the map is - Rolling hills Game is amazing so far, probably anticipated Vice City more than SA (actually forgot it came out today until I bought it at about 8PM), but having more fun in the first few hours with this than VC.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson