GamerSushi Asks: Online Launch Issues?

GTA Online Heist

Grand Theft Auto Online launched 10 days ago and it only now seems to have reached a stable state, much to the dismay of people with amnesia. For the rest of us, we all knew it would be a disaster, as we have seen this movie many times before and starring companies who have far more experience and know-how with online games than Rockstar does. Hell, if Blizzard can’t get it right with Diablo III, what chance does anyone else have?

That being said, it is pretty messed up that we can’t expect to play something we bought for on the day it launches: from Simcity to Call of Duty, the first day and even week can be a symphony of frustration to any gamer who dares dip their toe into the online world. How does this make you feel? Do you get angry at this or have you come to a place of serene acceptance, as I have? Are these just the breaks or should companies go out of their way to compensate their customers, as Rockstar is doing now with the bribe, I mean, gift of $500,000 for GTA Online? Should they stagger allowing certain timezones access or would that make you angry knowing that people on the East Coast are already playing while you have to wait a few more hours? Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Getting Addicted to Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Guys, I have a confession.

You see, in the last couple of weeks I’ve developed a bit of an addiction. Every day at work, my mind is driven by thoughts of drugs, violence, theft, mayhem and destruction. At night my actions are guided by these impulses, and I disappear into the dark underbelly of my psyche to participate in grotesque fantasies, some of which leave people bloodied and battered.

Of course, I’m talking about Grand Theft Auto V here, Rockstar’s record-breaking new game that puts you in the shoes of the retired thief Michael, the up-and-coming gangster Franklin and the maniacal, homicidal addict Trevor. I can’t get enough of it. Continue reading Getting Addicted to Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar Reveals GTA Online

Damn you, Rockstar.

My hatred of Grand Theft Auto IV has not been exaggerated or underreported in the slightest over the last few years. While Liberty City was gorgeous to look at through Niko’s eyes, I found it to be a dull, tedious place that I hardly cared about, or cared to be a part of.

But dang, does Grand Theft Auto V look different. In addition to a campaign that looks to mix up the formula with three protagonists, Rockstar’s newest iteration of the popular series is taking the multiplayer in a different direction than ever before by way of Grand Theft Auto Online, a persistent world where you and up to 15 others can heist, race, deathmatch, build and generally unleash havoc together. I’ll let the video do the rest of the gushing.

Grand Theft Auto Online releases on October 1, and is free with every retail version of GTA V. What do you guys think? Am I jumping too far into the hype train? Have I been burned too many times to take another chance?

Battle of the GameCops: 2013 Edition!

game cop

It’s been two years since gaming’s finest detectives took their cases, but now they’re back. This time, their beat includes Grand Theft Auto V’s hype (or lack thereof), Richard Garriott’s comments that “most game developers suck” and Hideo Kojima’s newest antics with the Phantom Pain. Naturally, they tackle these with all the integrity and tenacity that you’ve come to expect from your favorite gaming gumshoes.

Since you haven’t seen them in a couple of years, here’s how this feature works: GameCop is a sensible gamer, looking out for your best interests. LameCop is your average forum troll, causing havoc for the lulz, while PsychoCop should be locked up for everyone’s safety.

Here’s how they feel about these issues: Continue reading Battle of the GameCops: 2013 Edition!

How Rockstar Can Bring The Magic Back To GTA

GTA V blonde

With Game Informer’s cover story finally unveiling some concrete details about Grand Theft Auto V, the Internet finally has a reason to talk incessantly about Rockstar’s popular open-world series and we here at GamerSushi are no different. I have stoically ignored all GTA V rumors and discussion until new information was released. However, since that has now happened and we find ourselves in the golden age of GTA V info, I have some thoughts and concerns, as I so often do.

First, as we have mentioned in the past, Grand Theft Auto IV was a disappointment. I know some people swear up and down by it, but as a huge fan of the PS2 trilogy, I didn’t find much to like. The world has bigger and denser, but there just wasn’t much of a reason to explore it anymore. The numerous side activities of previous games were scaled back, leaving you with only a few things to do other than the story missions. Instead, they were replaced by what amounted to taking your friends out on dates, which was fun and unique exactly once. We all got a laugh when we took our perverted cousin Roman to the strip club, but that wasn’t something I was anxious to repeat.

The other minigames were poorly controlled and very tedious. Bowling was kind of interesting, but a single game took forever and the overly long animations had me scrambling to quit as fast as I could. And the only real purpose for this was so you could get bonuses, like Jacob the weapons dealer giving you a discount. Honestly, what kind of black market merchant of death cuts into his bottom line just because someone takes him to a comedy show? It just makes no sense and wasn’t fun. Continue reading How Rockstar Can Bring The Magic Back To GTA

Grant Theft Auto 5 Info Hits the Web

grand theft auto 5

If you’re lacking a subscription to Game Informer, have no fear: with every cover story there’s a million sites on the Internet willing to round up the juicy information for you. Such is the case with Grand Theft Auto 5, which VG247 has been kind enough to do a write-up on.

Rockstar’s next installment in the GTA series will take place in Los Santos, of GTA: San Andreas fame, and will feature three playable characters this time around. Trevor, Franklin and Michael will be availible to switch into almost all the time, each with their own backstory and motivations. They each have unique skills, so for example if you want to fly a plane, Trevor is the only on in the group capable of doing so. While having to jump into specific characters just to fly a plane might get annoying, the fact that you can switch characters on the fly might help ease the pain of doing so.

One of the benefits of having three characters is that there’s always a story mission ready to go. Instead of doing a bunch of side tasks to unlock the next plot quest, you can jump into one of the trio and get going on any of their individual objectives.

Los Santos is also reported to be the biggest open-world in a Rockstar game so far, bigger than Red Dead’s map, Liberty City and the old San Andreas combined. While Rockstar has said that recreating the whole of San Andreas on this scale wouldn’t be feasible, they’re doing their best to make Los Santos and the surrounding area both visually stunning and fun to get around. Expect the melee combat and gunplay to be tuned up this time. With Max Payne 3 showing that Rockstar can actually make a mechanically sound shooter, I’ve got high expectations for GTA 5 in this regard.

So, what do you guys think of Grand Theft Auto 5? Does it sound promising? Are you still burned by GTA IV? Do you think this game would have been better served by waiting for the inevitable next generation of consoles? Will it ever come to PC?

Source – VG247

The Story of L.A. Noire and 7 Years of Development Hell

Team Bondi

We’ve written quite a few articles about L.A. Noire here in the last few months, but I thought there was still a bit more conversation to be had around this excellent game. While there are plenty of games that undergo long and complex development cycles, the crime-thriller mystery from Team Bondi had a slightly longer and more difficult path than most: 7 years, two different publishers and over one hundred employees that left.

Crazy, huh? The full story is presented in an excellent piece by IGN, where they interviewed both studio head Brendan McNamara as well as the “Bondi Eleven”, a group of former Team Bondi developers who came forward to tell the story of the company’s inception, its turbulent times on L.A. Noire and just why the process spun out of control for them. It’s a bit disconcerting to read things like this, because it seems to be the norm of the video game industry these days. Long hours, blatant disregard for employees’ welfare and generally terrible morale. Definitely a sobering piece for anybody considering jumping feet-first into the games industry.

So what do you guys think about this? I know a lot of you are aspiring game developers. Does this give you pause? Have any of you been in working conditions like this?

Source – IGN

Review: L.A. Noire

la noire review

It’s a very rare game that allows the player to step into the shoes of a police officer; rarer still is the game that treats the player as an adult and faces them with the horrors of real-life crime. L.A. Noire, developed over an eight-year time period by Sydney, Australia based Team Bondi with assistance from Rockstar, follows the life of Cole Phelps, a Pacific Theater war hero turned star Police detective in the year 1947. One of the major features of L.A. Noire is the detective aspect and the use of sophisticated facial mapping technology in order to properly convey subtle (and not so subtle) emotions on your suspect’s faces when you’re putting the spotlight on them.

While L.A. Noire can dismissively be described as “1940s GTA”, nothing could be further from the truth. Much like Rockstar’s last marquee game, L.A. Noire steps out of GTA’s shadow by establishing its own identity by giving gamers something new and different in an increasingly crowded market. Come inside the GamerSushi interview room and see if we can sweat the facts out of this flatfoot.
Continue reading Review: L.A. Noire

Roll Call: L.A. Noire

LA Noire

L. A. Noire is here, folks. Team Bondi and Rockstar have delivered the last big release before the summer drought, and now the entire world is immersing itself in the harrowing mysteries of 1940s L.A. Or at least, that’s what’s going on in my house, anyway.

I’ve only played a few hours of L.A. Noire at this point, but already it’s made a great impression on me. In the same way that calling Red Dead Redemption “GTA with horses” was a bit off the mark, calling L. A. Noire “GTA in the 1940s” misses the point as well. The game plays out like a much more polished Heavy Rain in some ways, and in other ways feels like playing through a pulp mystery novel. The investigation mechanics are a nice change of pace from other Rockstar releases, and the whole thing has already sucked me in a bit. And of course, as everyone’s saying, the facial animations are astounding. We’ll see how well the whole thing holds up over 20-30 hours.

What about you guys? Who else is playing some L.A. Noire? Roll call!

April Fools: Grand Theft Auto V Takes Place in Space


Well, for weeks now, speculation has been running rampant about Grand Theft Auto V: when it’s going to be announced, who’s going to be in it and what parodies we can expect. However, one of the biggest questions still remaining about the next iteration of Rockstar’s landmark series is where it’s going to take place. It seems that Rockstar has finally silenced the masses with a press release that went out yesterday. The next GTA is going to take place in space.

Yeah, you read that right. Here’s what Rockstar’s VP of Product Development Jeronimo Barrera had to say about the new game’s astounding direction:

We just felt that we’ve “been there, done that” in regards to various other settings in previous Grand Theft Auto games and other Rockstar properties. I mean, we’ve done the 80’s, the 90’s, the Old West, the 1950’s in the upcoming L.A. Noire and even a modern-day post 9/11 America in GTA IV. Space is, quite literally, the Final Frontier in terms of where Rockstar’s games could go. It should be new and exciting for fans of our current games, just like it is for us.

The press release was shy on details, but here are a couple of things that have come to light about the way Grand Theft Auto (or should that be Shuttle, now) is going to play.

  • Multiple cities on various planets
  • Hijack button will dock you with a spaceship, mid-flight
  • Weapons will be futuristic, although some “antique” shops will have good old-fashioned rocket launchers
  • The main character is Max Rifle, intergalactic pirate extraordinaire
  • Earth will be playable, specifically a nuclear radiation infected Vice City

So, that’s quite the bomb to start the weekend with. What do you think of Rockstar’s bold new direction for the series?

Source – Rockstar Press Release

Orient Yourself With the New L.A. Noire Gameplay Trailer

L.A. Noire, the upcoming 1947 crime thriller, certainty looks nice, but people are naturally concerned about the lack of gameplay seen so far. Since the game is coming out on May 17 (May 20 in the EU), publishers Rockstar Games and developers Team Bondi decided to release a series of trailers depicting the gameplay of L.A. Noire. The brand-spanking new trailer, called ‘Orientation’, details the detective work, interrogations and shoot-outs you’ll be undertaking.

While the gameplay does bare some resemblance to GTAIV and Red Dead Redemption, the detective work and interrogations do look really, really fun, and are things we rarely do in gaming. While it’s the natural inclination of games to shoot for the starts but fall a bit short, watching faces for cues may not work as well as the trailer shows. I’ve been wrong before, though. Overall, I think L.A. Noire looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to try it out. What do you guys think? Are you excited now that you’ve seen some gameplay?

LA Noire Gets a Gritty Trailer and an Equally Gritty Release Date

For a game that was stuck in development hell for years, Team Bondi’s upcoming 1940’s crime thriller LA Noire has certainly shot out of the gate in the past few months, stunning us with its detailed character animation and the technology that powers it. Despite the fact that it’s been flitting on and off the radar screen for a while, we now have a hard target set for the release date: May 17 (May 20 in Europe), to be exact. To celebrate, LA Noire publisher Rockstar has posted an all-new in-engine trailer for us to drool over:

Like Red Dead Redemption, I’m kind of going into this game blind, but that payed off for RDR as it was my favorite game of last year. I have no idea what the gameplay is like, who the characters are or what the plot is besides the fact that you’re tracking a serial killer, but since I’m an information sponge I might end up enjoying it more not knowing ever facet of the game. Anyone else got this on their must-buy list?

Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar Because They Stole His Image for San Andreas

san andreas lawsuitI guess some lawsuits belong under the “better late than never” category, at least according to Cypress Hill backup singer Michael “Shagg” Washington who is just getting around to taking Rockstar Games to court for allegedly stealing his image for 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Mr. Washington, who says he only recently found out about the game’s existence this past July thanks to his nephew, bases his lawsuit on the claim that Rockstar interviewed him on various topics relating to his youth such as gang life and riding bicycles with said gang (yes, really). Mr. Washington was told, after he was “allowed” to leave, that if Rockstar decided to use his likeness in the game, he would be notified and compensated.

Somehow the nearly six year old game managed to escape Mr. Washinton’s notice despite the fact that he recalls being questioned by Rockstar for thematic elements used in San Andreas. Furthermore, he believes that the character CJ is entierly based on him, and he’s looking to be reimbursed to the tune of twenty-five percent of the games total sales-approximately two hundred and fifty million dollars.

This isn’t exactly life-changing news, but I thought it was humorous enough to share with you guys. What is with the recent trend of celebrities suing video games years after they come out for frivolous reasons? Probably because they’re running out of money and video games look ripe for the picking. If you’ve got any thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Source – IGN

L.A. Noire Trailer Brings the In-Game Drama

Rockstar’s 2nd most secretive project after Agent is L.A. Noire, which is due in Spring 2011 for the 360 and PS3. And just in time, we finally get some in-game footage in this new trailer of the detective thriller. In case you forgot (and who could blame you) players will work to solve a series of murders. Judging from the dramatic trailer which reminds me of a movie trailer with all the one-liners designed to make you wonder what the hell is happening, the game will be heavy on the dramatic flair. The facial animations are pretty impressive, I must say, although a few are in the valley dubbed Uncanny.

Well, there you have it. What do you think? Is this on your radar? Rockstar has let this game go largely unnoticed, but I have a feeling the hype machine is about to ramp up. Are you interested?

Jose Gonzalez Performs Far Away From Red Dead Redemption

If you’ve played Red Dead Redemption, then you are familiar with the song Far Away by Jose Gonzalez, which plays at one of the most iconic moments from the game. This moment is easily one of the best examples of exactly when to play music and let the game sound fade away. I’m also not afraid to say that it instantly made the list of my favorite gaming moments of this generation.

In this video, Jose Gonzalez performs the song on the roof Rockstar in New York. And it’s just as awesome as that sounds. Give it a watch.

Without giving too many spoilers, who else adores this moment in Red Dead Redemption?

Gorgeous Red Dead Redemption Time Lapse

If there’s anything to say about Red Dead Redemption besides its great story, gameplay and endless fun diversions, it’s that the game is simply beautiful to behold. Once you’ve played it, it’s hard not to admire the stunning vistas, the sweeping landscapes and the wonderfully detailed terrain. The guys at Rockstar really put together one fantastic world.

Which is why it’s so exciting to see that Eurogamer has put together this excellent Red Dead Redemption time lapse video. Apparently, if you leave your controller alone for several minutes, the game slips into an awesome afk mode, which then presents you with some preset camera angles. They recorded several days of game time from these and then produced something wonderful. It shows just how gorgeous the game really is to look at, and I still can’t help but marvel at it, even when I play.

Give it a watch!

If you want to know more about the process by which this whole thing was put together, head over to Eurogamer. They’ve even got some examples from other open world games like Crackdown, Assassins Creed 2 and Fallout 3.

Review: Red Dead Redemption

red dead redemptionRockstar has a well-deserved legacy of making really engaging, if somewhat wacky and ultra-violent, sandbox titles, one where the player assumes the role of a mass-murderer of some note. Ever since the first Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar has been poking fun at various eras of history, but they’ve never strayed further back than the 80s. The most recent game from the studio, GTA IV, took a look at modern America through a very skewed lens, using the viewpoint of immigrant Niko Bellic to make a commentary on our post 9/11 society.

For their most recent title, Rockstar has decided to eschew the modern trappings of GTA IV and travel all the way back to the Old West; 1911 to be precise, an age where the cowboy still roamed the plains, but the government was slowly encroaching on the frontier. Players assume the role of John Marston, gravelly-voiced gun for hire, forced to hunt down his old gang members at the behest of the Bureau of Investigation. Does Rockstar’s traditional formula survive in the Old West, or does the corpse get picked apart by vultures when I’m done with it?
Continue reading Review: Red Dead Redemption

GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop: E3 Edition!

It’s been a couple of months, and many of you left feedback that you love the GameCop vs LameCop vs PsychoCop feature, so we thought we’d do an honorary E3 rumor edition!

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, we discuss gaming issues and we switch roles each time. The GameCop is looking out for you, the gamer, while the LameCop is just what he sounds like: kind of a lamewad. Meanwhile, PsychoCop is a troll in every sense of the word, and completely bat poop insane.

In honor of next week’s E3, we have a completely intellectual debate regarding the status of several E3 rumors, including Hulu coming to the XBox 360, Rockstar pulling out of E3, and Valve’s special showing.

Continue reading GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop: E3 Edition!

Who’s Playing Red Dead Redemption?

Red Dead RedemptionNormally, I would just ask this as a straight up “What Are You Playing” question, but I decided to do things a little differently this time. You see, lately, nearly 80 percent of my friends list on XBox Live is playing through the newest Rockstar outing, Red Dead Redemption.

If you listened to our awesome podcast, then you would know that a handful of us here at GamerSushi are deeply enthralled in this game’s clutches. I know that for me, personally, the game is head-and-shoulders above its spiritual brethren, the GTA series. It plays more like an Oblivion or Assassin’s Creed 2 in terms of its structure, and allows you to explore a rich open world with gorgeous western vistas and plenty of fun distractions. I’ve written additional thoughts over on my blog, but I wanted to raise this question here as well.

Who’s playing Red Dead Redemption, and what are your thoughts on the game? It’s looking like it could be a front runner for game of the year, and I’m nowhere near being finished. Where do you rank it? Go!

Red Dead Redemption Launch Trailer

I don’t know a whole lot about Red Dead Redemption, but every passing trailer I see for it looks more and more awesome. I never played the first game in the series, and I continue to hear good things from people that were fortunate enough to do so. The newest entry from Rockstar releases tomorrow, and so far it has gotten some rave reviews.

However, Grand Theft Auto 4 received the same kind of lavish praise, and we all know how I feel about that game. Still though, Red Dead Redemption holds a lot of promise, especially judging from this brand new kickass launch trailer. So who’s going to play this, and who’s played the first? Tell us what made the first game so good!