Fall ’17, huh? Ok, I now have 12 months to finish Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3. Clock starts now!!
Rockstar…you’re killing me. Apparently a prequel to RDR, this game will take, in my estimation, roughly 300 man hours to complete the main storyline to say nothing of the inevitable online content, DLC and numerous side quests. I’m going to have to stash all of these games I want in a closet somewhere so I can play them at my leisure when I retire.
Just..just watch it:
“Just ignore the bodies”.
How can I properly describe this without being incredibly hyperbolic? I can’t even…this just looks incredible. I’ve said it before but damn, Rockstar is on a roll.
Things of particular interest:
– The song. I’d heard rumors that Rockstar was going to do away with all the music of the earlier GTA’s and instead have a brand new score created for the game, which I thought was a terrible idea. Some of the best times I’ve had playing GTA is just cruising around listening to the radio. So hopefully the Stevie Wonder track is just a sampling of another round of incredible radio stations stocked with killer jamz.
– Trevor Phillips is crazy pants. He looks like a redneck Andrew W.K. with less hair. (Here’s the real life version)
– The variety of areas & set pieces, which I’m sure is just a fraction of what’s actually available to explore.
– “Bounce. We’re bouncing now?”
– The vehicles.
BONUS: Full length version of the Stevie Wonder track from the trailer.
I read voraciously. I only read fiction. Suffice to say, I’m interested in a good story. I enjoy compelling characters, a grandiose plot, a great ending. That “interested in a good story” characteristic appears to have manifested itself in the types of games that I like.
Sure, I like Madden, I play Madden; real time strategy games too. But if we’re talking RPGs or first person shooters, if the story isn’ there I’ll eventually stop playing (no matter how good it is otherwise). Example: Sykrim. Skyrim is really, truly awesome. But I stopped playing it. The game became rather boring after the third guild that I joined simply because it didn’t seem to advance the story. I know that’s the guild system is one of the high points of the game and it’s partially my fault for getting into it more, but it still turned me off.
This isn’t the set up to your average “Things I Love & Things I Hate About Video Games” post; no, this is to establish that I think the “interested in a good story” characteristic is determinative of possibly my favorite console game of all time: Red Dead Redemption.
I was initially skeptical of Red Dead Redemption. I like Rockstar games, but don’t love them. Same with Westerns. Also, I don’t particularly care to invest money in games unless I’m convinced they’ll be good. But since my brother told me to pick up the game (he has similar interests in good stories), I figured why not and guess what? I was immediately hooked. After turning on the console and starting the game, suddenly I was presented with something I had never seen before. It looked like we were getting a real story: the boat, the people hustling; the town… hell the main character wasn’t a prettied-up jackass or macho non-thinker. He looked like he had a back story and it was a good one. He had a history, things had happened.
I won’t go through all the details of the story. You can find that on Wikipedia or Youtube or by (please!) playing the game. Spoiler alerts notwithstanding, the actions you took in the game had a purpose: to advance the story. Almost everything you did in-game accomplished this. You had a former criminal who had already reinvented himself as a loving husband and father; forced by the government to bring his fellow criminals to justice with the endgame of being able to live out the rest of his life in peace, unharrassed. Yes, the graphics were excellent. Yes, the voice acting was tremendous. Yes, the game play was simple yet effective and fun. But I keep coming back to the real strength of the entire experience: the story. Even outside of the main storyline, the characters and their dialogue were incredible. I loved Nigel West Dickens. Irish was a favorite. Edgar Ross was sufficiently sleazy. They were caricatures of Western icons, but they were effective and entertaining. In the context of the story, they were real and they were important.
But then we get to the ending (real spoiler alert here). This is the first time in my long history of gaming when real, sentimental, big-boy tears welled up. I was sad. I reloaded to see if I could do something different. When I couldn’t, I became angry. I went online and tried to figure out what I could do. I couldn’t do anything; I couldn’t save him. The story of the greatest character I ever played in a game abruptly ended with one of the biggest shocks I’d ever experienced. I played the last few scenes, enjoyed the “coming-full-circle” element of them and turned off the XBox 360. I felt fulfilled and a little upset with the result.
I finished the game in November 2010 and I haven’t played it since then. But I remember the story well. It occupies a place in my thoughts like a favorite novel. Whomever wrote the script (Dan Houser, Michael Unsworth, and Christian Cantamessa) should be awarded an Academy Award for best writing in a drama. I searched for more western video games, hoping to rekindle some semblance of the same experience I had with Red Dead Redemption. I couldn’t find one within sniffing distance.
If you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption, shame on you. That’s an issue you need to rectify. If you have, do what I’m going to do. Go back and play it again (or wait until RDR 2 comes out – I’ve read things); I’m firing up the 360 as we speak. I’m heading back to enjoy the Old West atmosphere. And dammit, when I’m trapped in that barn while my wife and son are running for their lives, I’m going to throw open the door and blast as many of those government bastards as possible straight to hell.
Impervious Rex: Console-wise, I just got promoted from Homicide to Vice in L.A. Noire; I hope I’m almost done with the game as Sleeping Dogs is giving me the stink eye. L.A. Noire probably cemented Rockstar as my favorite game developer; look at the murderer’s row of games they’ve dropped in the past few years: Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3. All interesting takes on established genres, all completely compelling (until they aren’t). On my phone, I’m currently cementing myself as the #1 player in the world (for real) at Fairway Solitaire. Check the leaderboards! On my iPad, I’ve gone back to Infinity Blade II, though I’m a tad ashamed to say that I’ve also stared playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Then on Facebook I’ve been completely consumed with Avengers Alliance, which is basically Farmville for comic book degenerates.
thegreekdog: In my spare time, of which there is little, apart from reading, I’ve been playing two games. On my X-Box, I’ve been playing MLB 2K12 while on the elliptical machine (it is both a talent and a curse – I can play video games on the elliptical, but I can’t work out on the elliptical without playing video games). I’ve decided to play the career version of MLB2K12 which involves creating a player and taking him through the minor leagues with various goal. Nick Siamidis had quite a year last season, hitting .330 with 3 homers and 40+ RBIs in two months with the Reading Phillies. He also played a slick third base. Siamidis was invited to spring training in his second season, but after hitting below the Mendoza-line during spring training he was sent back to the AA affiliate (Reading). Mashing the ball at Reading, Siamidis was recently called up to AAA Scranton Iron Pigs. Siamidis is hitting almost .400 with a homer and 20 RBIs in less than a month, so he’s looking for a call up to the big club soon. The game is good to an extent. I’m a little frustrated that I’m hitting .400 with a 79 rating (the current Phillies third baseman is a 72) because I haven’t met the goal of hitting 6 homers or having 6 sacrifice bunts. Anyway…
I’m also playing Star Wars Empire at War which is a mix of grand strategy and RTS. I’m not sure what I can say about this game other than if you like Star Wars and have a passing interest in strategy games, this one is for you.
vicious pjurahead: Hey, ViciousPJurahead here, there & everywhere. I’m playing Max Payne 3 and based on the trophies and the way story is progressing I think I’m in the final 3rd of the game. I have also just downloaded Ticket to Ride for iOS which I play at night before bed when I get lonely. Following Max Payne 3 I will move onto the seedy underbelly known as Sleeping Dogs.
adam: What am I playing right now? I’m at the beach where it’s been raining for two days straight so I’m playing a drinking game at 10:30 in the morning. When I return to civilization I’ll continue plodding through Crysis 2, which is much better than it’s given credit for. I do a lot of iOS gaming. Dead Space on the iPhone is totally serviceable and Autumn Dynasty for iPad is insanely good (if a little simplistic). That machine was built for RTS. Please port Age of Empires to the iPad, leave some food outside my door and GO AWAY.
I don’t care about Max Payne. Let me back up; before this third installation, I didn’t care about Max Payne. Now, having just spent 12 hours firing 21 thousand bullets into over 2100 of New Jersey & Sao Paulo’s worst all I can say is that I can’t wait to do it again.
While not as open & sprawling as Grant Theft Auto IV or Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar turns out just as compelling a story with Max. There is definitely portions they could have trimmed towards the end, but Rockstar is generally criticized for the third acts of their franchise series losing the narrative thread a bit. Honestly, that might just be the only complaint I have about the game. Visually? Stunning. Musically? Buying (that’s right, with money) the soundtrack. Story? Gripping. I was invested in Max’s spiral towards destruction & eventual redemption from the opening minutes, which you have to give Rockstar credit for. Enabling someone new to an entire mythology to pick up the third part of a trilogy and becoming immediately invested in the characters is no small feat.
The biggest surprise, however, was the multiplayer. I never been a fan of any of Rockstar’s previous multiplayer efforts in either GTA IV or RDR. They were just too sprawling, the game modes too difficult to figure out, the ability for a new player to pick up and play almost nonexistent. Additionally, I’ve just never cared for third person multiplayer; even Uncharted’s couldn’t hold my interest for more than a few casual games. The multiplayer in Max Payne 3 is so good that I can barely stand not playing it now. “So what’s the big difference?” you’re (not) saying to yourself. Brass tacks? Simply, it’s fun and cool. Somehow, and I can’t put my finger on it, Rockstar has been able to freshen up what has become an increasingly stale bolt-on feature to games while making it arguable a better time than the single player campaign.
If you’re not playing this game, shame on you. Go get it. I’m a member of the Polygon crew; request an invite and join up! Or just add me on the PSN; screen name is Savage6000.