Axslav's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)
| [February 21, 2008 10:05:57 AM]
Playing the game the second time the gameplay was still interesting but started to get a little tiring. By this time I had gotten a grip over the controls and the missions started getting harder and more interesting. Unfortunately while the missions got more interesting the basic game mechanic stayed the same so the game did start to become repetitive in some ways and lose some of its entertainment value.
I definitely did start to catch on to the flow of the game as it would basically start with the main character doing some "easy" mission (driving somebody somewhere) and then an interupting event would come into play which would turn the mission into something completely different and advance the storyling. It was interesting that most of the storyling was being advanced through the missions and game itself instead of just cutscenes as you see in some other games.
The game definitately had some innovative elements. It had a very huge open world which the player could explore at their leisure which is different from most games of similar type that I've seen where the player is forced to go a certain direction. This also affects the level design as all the missions (levels) are carried out in the same world and as you become more familiar with it the missions can get a little harder because the player will be more comfortable navigating it. While one might think that having all the missions played in the same world would become repetitive it actually makes the game more interesting. This is becaues the world is very big so there are always new areas to put missions in but at the same time often missions will have a section of them take place in a familiar part of the world (seen in a previous mission). This gets the player to expect things and react more to the progression of the level ("I've been here before now I know what to do").
The game's reward structure was mostly about acquiring reputation and wealth. Missions would boast your reputation and/or money. You could then use this money to buy property (which would make it easier to save the game as you now had multiple save points) and you could also use this money to buy food and supplies. The problem is you never actually significant amounts of money for anything (food is cheap and supplies essential for a missions would be provided). Because of this I didn't really care about wheither I got money or not and the only reward structure for me was that it is fun to play missions (I didn't care all that much about advancing the plot either). While having fun is always a good reward, it is not good enough of a reward structure to really suck me in and get me to play it continually (fun would most likely decrease with playing time).
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| [February 21, 2008 02:44:19 AM]
| GTA-San Andreas is a first person action/adventure game which combines first person shooter elements with racing and rpg elements and puts them into a very large open gameworld. The goal is to traverse this world accomplishing missions and building up your reputation and/or power as the game progresses.|
The characters in the game are fairly superficial and very cliche, however this helps the game in a few ways. The cliche characteres give the player a hint of what the plot is going to be about and the lack of depthness in the characters allows the game to bring in and remove characters easily without major plot changes. This keeps the focus on the player's own experiences in the world and away from his interactions with the other characters (which helps cover up the lack of strong narrative AI in modern games).
The story seemed fairly interesting (although I didn't get very far along it). Basically the part of the game I played involved you coming back to a ghetto neigborhood from which you came from. Things have gotten bad while you were gone and you need to help your gang regain control. I assume that after you achieve this then you are set further goals of extending your influence over larger areas and more neighborhoods. While the main story idea is fairly simple it is done so to allow the player to enjoy the mini stories behind each mission. These stories range from the simple (tag up some areas with your gang symbol) to the absurd (work out and eat to keep in shape seems sorta absurd in a video game) to the intriging (certain missions develop and change into something completely different as the mission goes on).
The game was very interesting to play, but I'm not sure if it would remain interesting for more than several hours. The basic gameplay remains the same with only the story and missions changing. Personally if I want a good story I'd rather watch a movie or read a book so for me a game has to have very dynamic gameplay in order to entertain me for extended periods of time.
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