Ramblings after the jump.
It's important to note the story because that's clearly the strongest element at play here. Not that the gameplay isn't fun. At a fundamental level it plays like any other Rockstar game except without the freedom and minigames of those other titles. 40's Los Angeles is brilliantly realized and detailed but there's not really much to do outside of defined plot points other than sightsee. The story is engaging and as you make connections and catch perps in lies, you'll feel very satisfied with yourself.
I want to support games like this which use the medium as an advanced storytelling device and the inclusion of practically everyone who ever appeared in Mad Men was very cool. The fact it was a slow burner didn't bother me, sometimes that's the kind of atmosphere required. However, there was something that felt missing in this otherwise very polished game, almost indescribable, but some kind of soul. Maybe I'll reference it again later. In any case, developers Team Bondi went bust this week so they won't get the chance to rectify any of this any time soon.
BLITZ: THE LEAGUE II
Perhaps I've spent too much time playing NCAA and Madden but every time a WR of mine would get bounced out of the way in the secondary I would be on my feet screaming "Pass Interference!!" but of course that's not how it works in the ultra-violent world of Blitz. We've heard a lot of whining in the real world lately about how the NFL is being wussified with all the rule changes to kickoffs, big hits, etc. but when you play this game, where the emphasis is almost more on causing gruesome injuries than winning, I wonder is that really what people want? It's pretty tough to take and the injuries in this game are horrifically graphic.
The controls can be unresponsive too and there's little about the movement of the players or even the challenges the game sets you that feels particularly organic. It's an ok game and there's some pretty nice imagination that went into it but also a lot of overbearing false bravado. More for the frat house crowd than for me.
PENNY ARCADE ADVENTURES: ON THE RAIN-SLICK PRECIPICE OF DARKNESS
I had a good time with it, but it was fairly short. The combat was fun and strategic but after a while a little unvaried. There was also deceptively little to do other than that beat on enemies that got in your way. It was a good weekend distraction though, kinda like a gaming snack, and it's too bad it likely won't be completed as I do love PA.
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
like this. But this game really is just that good. It's easily on my top ten list of all time and one I will replay some day just for the fun of it.
RESIDENT EVIL 5
Right. Sure. I'll say this; I think characters like Chris are often underrated when people discuss their favorites in a game, tv series, and so on. On the surface, he's nothing special, just the typical lead with a broad, rounded personality. People like the snarky guy with all the one-liners or the one with cold, dead eyes who could snap your neck and shrug his shoulders about it. But none of that works without the control, the one who reacts in the way a regular person is supposed to react. If your cast is entirely composed of characters rather than people it can get very shallow and limited very quickly, all style and manipulation. But in RE5 when Chris remembers his devastation or feels anticipation and struggles with decisions, I feel right along with him. It's something lacking in a game like LA Noire where not one of the characters is relatable.
I have enjoyed the game too as I mentioned. It's intended to be played co-operatively with a human partner and there has been a lot of whining about the AI controlled Sheva but actually, having tried both ways, I find the AI to be remarkably good. If you have someone you know and can communicate with to play with though, there is sometimes nothing better.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
I have a whole bunch of other gamesthat I still have yet to get to, including some I promised people I would play and still haven't! When I am done with RE5 and RDR I will probably move on toYakuza 3. Or possibly, Infamous, Episodes from Liberty City or Dragon Age Origins. If only I could somehow play them all at once...