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My Holiday In Games

I picked up GTA: San Andreas before leaving Sydney, despite the system requirements being above the specs of the Latitude D600 (only 32MB video, and I’ve been forcibly coaxing newer Radeon drivers on for a while). Other than being unable to get into the Advanced display properties to re-set the resolution (I eventually ported the user data from the Real Gaming PC to get the performance up), it runs pretty well in non-tree-y areas, and a bit sluggishly when there’s a lot going on. The graphics didn’t look amazing on either PC, but I’m looking forward to doing it all again on The Gaming PC when I get back.

Graphics aside (and don’t get me wrong, they’re certainly “good” in a “they do the job” kind of way, just not, say, Battlefield 2 class) – the game is as close to gaming perfection as anyone has come. Yeah, that’s a huge call, but bluntly, this game rocks. I never played GTA1, 2 or 3. I joined the series at the brilliant Vice City, but I’m seriously thinking of going back to play the others to see where this came from.

The starring voice acting performances are fantastic, and for the most part perfectly read and cast. Samuel L Jackson and James Woods are standouts (I’m only 50% on the progress-o-meter, so there might be more), and the cinematic scripting is a thing of utter beauty – the triad leader “blessed with good fortune” by his gang members is hilarious, and very human at the same time. I’ve laughed more playing this game than any other game in memory.

Which reminds me – the soundtrack is fantastic, and hilarious, and cringeworthy, all at once. Every radio station is worth listening to for the DJs alone, even if the music isn’t to your taste.

And the game… just… keeps… on… going… it’s great.

So, the verdict: a billion stars out of ten for me. Great work Rockstar, another amazing game.

I also bought Freedom Force vs The Third Reich and Vice City before leaving, but GTASA has taken up all available gaming time.

I bought a Nintendo DS for the trip home (couldn’t find a power adaptor for the cattle-class power plug thingy), and based on Tycho’s recommendation I think I’ll grab Kirby to go with it. Anything else good on DS?