Thursday 21 February, 2008
Please note, I have another gamelog for this game, it is wrong, and has nothing in it, this is the right one. Please note also that this game was on the classics list for PS2 but I played it on PC, which is supposed to be ok.
I've been playing GTA:SA for several hours now, and have completed the first act of the game. I've played this game to its completion once before, and I've found playing it in the context of doing a gamelog has somewhat altered my perspective on it. The first act of the game takes place in the city of Los Santos (Los Angeles) where your character, CJ, has just returned from Liberty City (New York) in order to take charge of the family gang. This part of the game consists mostly of driving around the city, killing rival gang members, and acquiring new territory for your gang. Like most aspects of GTA, I would find this highly offensive if it wasn't presented in such a satirical manner, however I found the satire in this act to be relatively weak and as a result the whole idea sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. The game is subdivided into various missions, which, when completed, advance the storyline. While some missions almost all (with several exceptions) play out in fundamentally the same way from a gameplay point of view, although with great, and memorable, variations on style. In the first act I experienced everything from a drive-by shooting, to robbing a military base of its weapons, to the now seemingly traditional car-chase through the aquaducts/concrete rivers of Los Angeles. However, all the missions play out in basically the fundamentally same way: drive somewhere, shoot the place up, and drive away. However the game manages to avoid overt repetition by changing up the style of each mission as I previously mentioned, and also allowing them to take place (in some cases) in certain areas that are normally either not accessible or at least not set up in the same way as they usually are in the Sand Box style open world. While I found the game's introductory pacing to be somewhat slow for an experienced player, I recall that it served me well the first time I played several years ago. Furthermore, the designers have scattered weapons, vehicles, and other goodies throughout the vast map, which I noticed allowed me to jump into the game faster since I already knew where they were: for example, I picked up an AK-47 and a Winchester repeating rifle before my character was even supposed to have gotten a 9mm pistol, because I knew where to go to find them. Ultimately the first act of GTA: SA serves as a good introduction to the things you will have to do later in the game, and does feature some dramatic betrayals, as well as plot and character development. I do have some criticisms however. My first is with the way the open world is limited at this stage in the game. While it makes sense to only open up certain areas as the game progresses, the execution of this made no sense to me: when you went too far outside the city limits, the FBI and even the army show up and start shooting at you. This is supposedly because the corrupt Officer Tenpenny (voiced by none other than Samuel L. Jackson) told you not to leave town. However I found it hard to believe that he carries enough influence to call in all holy federal hell on you when you take a step too far down a street, even in the outlandishly bizzaar world that is GTA. Furthermore I found it annoying that the amount of territories that you take over for your gang has no effect on the outcome of the story, but other than these flaws, as well as a few teeth-gnashingly difficult missions, I found the first act to be quite enjoyable.