Archive for January, 2010
It was inevitable. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released earlier this week for the iPhone. The was ported from the Nintendo DS and PSP version by the Rockstar Games folk on Leeds. Although I haven’t played the other two versions, the game is apparently almost identical. It is available from the iTunes store for £5.99 and carries a mature/17 rating for the swearing, sex and violence that is necessary in any GTA game.
My only notable experience with GTA in the past was with GTA IV on the Xbox 360, so I was sure I knew what I was in for. The story centers around a young Triad on his way to Liberty City to deliver a sword to his uncle Kenny after the death of his father. Of course things go horribly wrong from the minute that Huang sets foot on Liberty City soil.
Gameplay consists of missions and minigames that progress you through the story and build up stockpile of cash. For the most part you’ll be chasing after thugs and gang members that are invading your families turf and letting them have a one on one chat with the biggest gun you have in your arsenal. You’ll also be running from the fuzz and running over unsuspecting pedestrians. If you’re not fast enough you’ll end up in the slammer.
So far the game has been pretty engrossing and the story moves at a decent pace. My only complaint is around the control system, not so much when you’re on foot, but when you’re driving around. Maybe I’m trying a little to hard not run over the old ladies, or maybe my fingers are just to big but I not getting the hang of it.
The sound and graphics are also very impressive. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the graphics push the iPhone 3GS’ CPU to the max.
It’s one the first games available on the iPhone platform that has real substance as far as a story goes and is welcome addition to the App Store. Hopefully also a sign of things to come from Rockstar. The more mainstream developers that work on the platform the better for all of us.
It’s definitely worth the £5.99 and will provide you weeks of entertainment. My only warning is that it definitely chews your battery, so make sure that you some juice nearby.
I am by no stretch of the imagination the worlds most avvid World of Warcraft player, but I’ve dabbled a little and when I have nothing exciting to play on my Xbox 360 it’s a great filler. A monthly subscription will also only cost you just over R100, which is great if you’re a little strapped for cash and can’t fork out R700 for a new 360 game.
One of the only issues I had with WoW as a casual player was that I couldn’t really complete any of the dungeons, or instances, as I didn’t really know anyone else that played they game. At least not anyone that was playing on the same realm and from the same faction. Once you start getting to the higher levels this becomes a real problem as it becomes more and more difficult to be rewarded with decent items from questing and general slaughter.
I didn’t play WoW for a number of months and I didn’t really track the new features added with the patches, but on loading it for the first time in ages (after a few hefty patch downloads) I noticed a new icon on the toolbar – Dungeon Finder.
Dungeon Finder (DF) lets you pick a specific or random dungeon, allows you to choose your role in the group (tank, healer, DPS, etc) and then drops you into a queue until it has assembled an appropriately sized group with the necessary skills and then drops you all into the start of the instance. You don’t need to spend time traveling to the entrance, which is a great time saver and means you don’t have to find them on your own. You complete the dungeon with your group and then you can choose to either run to the exit and continue from there or you can use the “Teleport out of dungeon” feature to end up where you were before you were teleported into the instance.
Another great feature of DF is that it works across realms. So the group making is done centrally across all (well, most I suspect) the realms so you will almost always find a group. The longest I’ve waited for a group is about 20 minutes, but in the evenings it generally takes less than a minute. While you are waiting for your group to be assembled you can continue questing or whatever you were busy with. Once your group is ready you will be greeted with the friendly screen letting you know that you are about to start and what your role in the group is.
For me, DF added something that completely changes my WoW experience. In fact, I can’t stop playing it. If you don’t have a large group of friends that play WoW and you were annoyed that you couldn’t tackle the instances on your own, DF is for you. Pay for another month and give it a try, you won’t regret it. Your social life will however take a noticeable plunge. Welcome back to Azeroth.