Posts Tagged ‘third-person’

Grand Theft Auto, one of the biggest franchises in videogames, now rides shotgun on iPad. A port of the PlayStation Portable edition of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (which was in turn a port of a Nintendo DS game), the iPad version is a phenomenal play.

You are Huang Lee, the spoiled son of a Triad ganglord. After your father was murdered, you must deliver an ancient sword to your uncle so as to keep the empire in your family’s name. Ambushed at the Liberty City airport and left to die, you now find yourself drawn into the underworld with thoughts of vengeance. But what starts out as a simple revenge tale grows in scope, with a criminal world about to explode as gangs (and cops) square off for control. The Chinatown Wars narrative is strong, full of both humor and real drama, and benefits from excellent writing.

Instead of a 3D behind-the-shoulder view, Chinatown Wars returns to the top-down roots of the pre-PlayStation 2 GTA games. The art style is cartoonish and looks fantastic. The camera gives you a good view of the city around you, and unlike the iPhone version which allowed you to get too far ahead of yourself if you started going really fast, the iPad provides ample space around Lee. It’s great to see one of the few problems with the iPhone edition solved by making smart use of the benefits of the iPad.

Chinatown Wars uses a virtual stick for on-foot movement that is just about as good as you’ll find on the iDevices. Combat controls would benefit from some sort of targeting system, but I experienced few problems with digging into a violent crew and trading bullets or putting shoe prints on their faces. When driving, though, you default to a pair of arrows for turning left and right, which you use in conjunction with gas and brake pedal buttons. All of the virtual buttons (gas, shoot, kick, carjack) are also now just the right size. (They were too small on the iPhone.) However, until you get the hang of things, you often must look at the buttons to make sure you are hitting the right one. In the middle of a big fight or a high-speed pursuit, this is troublesome until you are 100-percent comfortable with the controls. The menus have also been cleaned up a little for the iPad.

The mission variety in Chinatown Wars is one of its strongest features. You are not just driving to a location, shooting somebody, and then returning to home base. You perform in a parade, hijack fuel tankers to turn into giant bombs, run interference during a race, and put out fires. And on top of the main story, there is a plethora of side jobs and races, including the extra content that was included with the PSP port. But most surprising is the drug dealing. I’m not just shocked that Apple was cool with heroin (other games have been rejected for drug- and alcohol-related content), but just how vital it is to the overall game. If you want to make money, you have to juggle this resource management game-within-a-game where you buy low, sell high, and watch out for busts.

Another Chinatown Wars high point: the GPS system. Tapping locations on a map to set a course is intuitive and makes finding your way around town easy. Of course, getting there isn’t necessarily a cakewalk, as you must watch for cops on the lookout for the new kid with the high wanted level. All of the touch screen elements from the DS original are pulled into the iPhone Chinatown Wars, too, such as kicking out the back window of a car in the water, interacting with computers, scratching lotto tickets, or hot wiring a car.

Finally, Chinatown Wars does not have the same kind of licensed music as other GTA games. Instead, it has a series of five stations that play genre instrumentals, like hip-hop and dance. I actually like this quite a bit; over time, I found the licensed music in the GTA games almost look-at-me distracting. You can also create a custom station with your own music, which is cool if you want to shoot up Chinatown while listening to Dean Martin.

I already mentioned that the raised camera and extra screen size of the iPad makes it easier to play Chinatown Wars on iPad. But I must also stress just how insanely good this HD edition looks, too. Rockstar refreshed almost everything for this port, cleaning things up so they look sharp on the large, higher-resolution screen. The attention to detail combined with the cel shaded-esque art direction makes Chinatown Wars one of the best-looking iPad games to date. (ign)

Published by: Rockstar Games
Developed by: Rockstar Games
Genre: Third-Person Action
Release Date: US: September 9, 2010
Also Available On: PSP, iPhone,Nintendo DS, iPad
Also known as: GTA: Chinatown Wars

PlayStation Move hits store shelves on September 19th, and Sony has announced an eclectic collection of internally produced launch titles to go along with it. But non-Sony developers are working on Move experiences, too, and they’ll begin trickling in soon after launch. One of the higher profile Move applications is an upcoming patch for Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition that adds a motion control option for Capcom’s action shooter on the Move’s launch day.

I reviewed Resident Evil 5 when it was released in 2009, and I had a blast doing it. I appreciated it as an action game, but I understood the complaints from hardcore Resident Evil fans that it took the series away from its highly staged, claustrophobic, survival-horror roots. But that’s what I liked about it. It was different. It was frantic and intense, and I loved the fact that I could use a dual-analog controller with a Resident Evil game.

Despite my stubborn affinity for the standard Resident Evil 5 control scheme, I was optimistic that PlayStation Move would suck me back into a game I’ve already completed multiple times.

A quick word of warning: I’m about to unload a string of nerdy button nomenclature on you. If you’re not quite sure how the Move system works and what it includes, check out this handyPlayStation Move Guide to get caught up on the tech.

Getting started with Move in RE5 is a relatively simple process. Just sync up the Move wand and Navigation controller, and you’ll see two new control schemes available in the Options menu: ‘Motion A’ and ‘Motion B’. Both are actually quite similar, with one main difference: quick-turning. My experience with this small but crucial function using the PlayStation Move was a crash course in the sometimes confounding layout of the two controllers. For some reason, both units (wand and Navigation) have both an X and a Circle button, which can be confusing at first. All of the shape buttons on the Move controllers are also incredibly tiny, which can make them hard to find by feel, at least when you’re first getting used to the system.

Resident Evil 5’s default ‘Motion A’ scheme maps the quick-turn to the wand’s X button, which makes zero sense to me because it puts the directional movement (left stick) and the actual quick-turn button (X) on two different hands. The ‘Motion B’ scheme maps the quick-turn button to L2, putting both actions on the Navigation controller. After using the ‘B’ scheme for a few minutes, I never went back to ‘A’. Unfortunately, that nitpick isn’t my only issue with Resident Evil 5’s Move controls. The larger problem is with the camera system.

Resident Evil 5 (Gold Edition) Picture

To move your character with the Move system, you use the left stick. To move the camera, well, you really don’t. In order to look somewhere other than straight ahead, you’ll have to hold down the T button (trigger) on the Move wand and then wave the wand around while standing still. But when your reticule reaches the edges of the screen, it stops, and you can’t rotate your view any further. In order to do that, you need to move the left stick (the one you were just using to move your character around a second ago). It’s an utterly strange and unintuitive setup.

What’s more, when you actually decide to shoot something, you realize the fire button isn’t on the trigger button, it’s on the Move button. It works, but it just feels weak. The whole point of putting a wand with a trigger in someone’s hand is to approximate the feel of a virtual weapon, right? So why put the fire button on top of the wand? No, it’s not the end of the world — and it works just fine — but it’s inelegant and clunky, as if the buttons were randomly assigned.

Although the button layout does get in the way of the experience, Resident Evil 5 does work with Move controls. Aiming is responsive, firing is satisfying, and it’s fun to whip the wand around and pull off headshots. Move-based quick-time events like shaking the wand to escape from grasping enemies brings a sense of visceral immediacy to the experience.

With the introduction of Move controls, Capcom and Sony succeeded in pulling me back into a game I’ve already completed multiple times. But mainly my experience with the Move controls made me want to play Resident Evil 5 again with a standard controller. Move is an interesting experiment, and I’m eager to see what happens with it in the months ahead. But it feels tacked onto Resident Evil 5.

In short, Move controls work with RE5, and although they’re not perfect by any means, I welcome the addition. After all, it’s being released as a free patch to everyone who owns Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, so if you already have the game, you really have nothing to lose. Download the update, check it out, and see what you think. The more often developers try out new things with Move, the more useful the tech will become to gamers. (ign)

Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Genre: Third-Person Action
Release Date: US: March 9, 2010 , Japan: Q2 2010
MSRP: $49.99
M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Also Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Also known as: Resident Evil 5 Gold