Grand Theft Auto V. To say that this game is highly anticipated would be putting it mildly. It is probably the most anticipated game since, well, GTA IV. The fact that the first trailer was released almost a year ago and, as far as I can see, there is still no firm release date says something about the popularity of this series. The question I have though is will it be any good? Will it live up to the massive amount of hype surrounding it? Who knows but I think it is a poignant question given that the last instalment in the series wasn’t exactly all it was cracked up to be.
It is something I see happening more and more with big name franchises. They release a teaser trailer, followed by an actual trailer then comes the game play trailer which is usually followed by a second trailer, the game is delayed for four months and then the final trailer is released. This along with the official website, countless numbers of unofficial fan sites and media saturation all whip the game playing public into frenzy that makes Tiger Sharks want have a long hard look at themselves.
This generally isn’t a problem if (and it’s a very, very big if) the game lives up to the hype. Something that only a handful of games can lay claim to. GTA IV, for example, did not. It was a beautiful looking game and had a huge world to explore but, and this is just my opinion, it was a little bit boring. The story was essentially the same as the last 3 games – [insert name here] from [insert background / ethnicity here] must build a criminal empire by completing missions for a number of different characters / gangs. The only difference being that I had no emotional connection with Nico what so ever. CJ from San Andreas and Tommy Vercetti from Vice City were fantastic, likeable characters and when combined with the locations and the periods in which these games were set, allowed the player to have an emotional investment in the game. Hell, even Claude from GTA 3 was more likeable than Nico and that dude didn’t speak or even have a name until San Andreas came out!
GTA is not the only franchise that is guilty of this. When Polyphony took about 300 years to finally finish the fifth instalment of their ground breaking and wildly popular Gran Turismo series, a lot of people (myself included) thought it was going to be so awesome that we might just die. As it turns out all Polyphony did was take GT4, remove some of the cooler parts (drag racing, high speed runs, etc.), make it look all ‘next-gen’ and then retire to their golden houses in the clouds to count the massive piles of money they had made. Yes, it was still a very good driving simulator and yes, it looks great but essentially it is just more of the same. You start with a little bit of money, buy a car, win some races, rinse and repeat until the credits come up and you are left wondering why you paid $70 for a shiny version of GT4. And don’t even start me on Prologue, $30 for a demo? How does get stuffed sound.
By far the most hyped up yet annoyingly disappointing game for me however has to be Skyrim. I will now pause so some of you can think about flinging hate poo in my direction.
. . .
Are you all finished? Ok, back to what I was saying.
Yes, Skyrim. Before release everyone was told how beautiful this game was. How if you can see it in the game world you can go there, how NPCs will go about their own business regardless of your presence. We were also told about how many side missions there are and how there is hundreds of hours of game play available. Now I’m not saying any of these things aren’t true, they are and they all make the world feel like a living breathing place that is a joy to look at.
“SO WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” I hear you scream as rage spit flies from your mouths.
My problem is the combat. It is terrible. To be fair it is better than Oblivion but the combat in that game was so bad you would smash your TV just so you felt like you were hitting something. I just can’t enjoy Skyrim if I am playing a melee character. To me, swinging a sword or an axe just feels... wrong. My character just seems to flail wildly at anything within range like a demented, axe wielding Lost In Space Robot. To some this may be a small thing but for me it is a massive issue that has severely limited my enjoyment of this game. Yes, I know I can play as a ranged character but I don’t want to. I want to repeatedly smash my enemies in the head with a war hammer and have them react in a way that says ‘wow, I really did just get smashed repeatedly in the head with a war hammer’.
In some ways Skyrim has lived up to the hype surrounding it. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful games I have ever played and some scenes just blow me away but at the end of the day I play this type of game because I want action and it is the action in Skyrim that I find really disappointing.
Oh well, I will just play through Dark Souls again.
- Chris Charles
Screen Play readers can submit articles game reviews for consideration in Your Turn and Your Review using the email address SPYourTurn@gmail.com. The best blog post published on Screen Play between 1 October 2012 and 31 October 2012, as judged by James Dominguez, will win a PS Vita handheld console from Sony Computer Entertainment. This is a wi-fi unit, and has a recommended retail price of $349. The next prize winner will be announced on Wednesday 31 October. Only Australian residents are eligible and the judge's decision is final.
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