Thursday, January 22, 2009

GTA4: Devolution and Story

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Blogger Yu-Chung Chen said...

Now you've done it, I want to play GTA IV. Previously I tried GTA3 and San Andreas at my brother's, but found things rather tedious. I was annoyed by the impression that the game was using the popular "being a cool gangster" premise to "trick" players into doing mindless minigames. Good to know that things are simpler now.

Also you're very right about the reduced believability of lowpoly character, in spite of the motion capture and excellent voice-over.

By the way, devolution is a word. I didn't know that either and just wondered where you get to know all those stuff.

I do think we can find a better word because implying a reverse evolution does sound a bit pejorative.

23 January, 2009 11:37  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...

Seems like Saint's Row 2 picked up the "being a cool gangster" trick. Yahtzee revised his GTA4 review after playing Saint's Row 2. I don't know if I'll even try.

About Devolution - you mean THIS Wikipedia article. The other one is about a different kind of devolution. I have no clue either, I just looked it up once and I think it was this disambiguation and the actual text of the biological devolution article which made me weary about using the word.

23 January, 2009 17:02  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...

Oops, I meant he revised his GTA4 review HERE.

23 January, 2009 17:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was actually going to get GTA IV for the PC, glad I noticed the last sentence. That and I wasn't even sure if it'd run well on my PC. It's so much less worrying to just play these on a console and not have to worry if your computer would crash or whatever.

I tried out GTA IV on my brothers XBox360 when I went over his house. I liked it. I think some of the minigames were dull, but I didn't get too far in the game. Nonetheless, just simply exploring the city was pretty enjoyable in itself. That and the occassional police chases that I accidently caused, then trying to escape and being run over by a police vehicle.

I've not played the previous GTAs, so I'm unable to compare them. Personally, I wasn't all that interested because the whole "Being a gangster" part wasn't something that interested me.

Well anyway, I'm glad this blog is being updated, I've been following it for a while (The posts that brought me here were the Sword of Mana ones).

25 January, 2009 15:43  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...

Thanks for reading!

Yeah, too bad they messed up the PC port. It comes with one intriguing feature: you can record and cut videos of your gameplay and even upload them directly to the internet. This turns GTA4 into one of the coolest machinima tools out there:

25 January, 2009 17:16  
Blogger Unknown said...

"It seems like Rockstar was able to do with GTA what Ubisoft couldn't do with Prince of Persia."

Ubisoft didn't aim to do the same thing with "The Two Thrones" that Rockstar did with GTA4. "The Two Thrones" is the "San Andreas" of the Prince of Persia series. The new Prince of Persia is the one that throws things out of the window but that is not the one Yu-Chung talked about.

"I guess you could call it "Devolution". It isn't a real word but it should be one. It would mean a step in a development where previously established features are abandoned to improve the result."

What you describe is part of the evolution. Natural selection is one of evolution's mechanisms and "selection" implies that traits that are not needed become more rare or disappear altogether. You don't need a new word.

I like the word "streamlining" when it comes to games.

07 March, 2009 16:23  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...


> Ubisoft didn't aim to do the same
> thing with "The Two Thrones" that
> Rockstar did with GTA4.

Exactly! But they should have.

> What you describe is part of the
> evolution.

Smart-ass! Theoretically you are right. However, Evolution is one of the words that have different meaning outside a scientific context. A different scientific word with even more severe casual misunderstandings is "Quantum-leap".

Evolution in a casual context implies progress - to build up upon previous achievements. In progress means taking away things you are admitting that you've made a mistake and you are going back to a status before you've made that mistake. So basically, you haven't progressed since two iterations, you just end up having a better appreciation for what you've done. That's a very different situation and I think it's worth a separate term.

I'm not a Biologist but I imagine undoing developments in biology would be pretty rare. In order to have offspring, a certain mutation needs to be successful in the first place. If the offspring survive with a certain feature of their parents missing, why did that feature give advantage to the first generation anyway? I imagine this would only happen when the environment somehow changed suddenly. Again, not the kind of scenario we are discussing here.

"Steamlining" is nice but somehow misleading. Sounds a bit like "polishing".

28 March, 2009 14:22  

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