Monday, September 16, 2013

Game Review (Grand Theft Auto V - 360)

*Note: This review will contain zero spoilers, so as to be readable for the masses.*

The game people have been waiting for since basically the release of GTA IV is finally just about upon us. If you've used the internet at all for the past several months, then you know that the hype level for GTA V is astronomically high... much higher than I remember it ever being for any past Grand Theft Auto game, or even any game the past few years, period. The natural question to ask is: Is this game worth that hype?

The chances are that you've seen or read about how big the game is in terms of map size and things to do. The truth is, you don't really get a sense of its size until you sit down and play it first hand. Rockstar said months ago that Grand Theft Auto V would be bigger than Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV, and San Andreas... combined. While you read that and think "Damn. That's pretty big...", it's far more impressive when you play it for yourself. What's most mind-blowing about the whole thing is that Grand Theft Auto V is running on hardware that is seven/eight years old. Just leave it to Rockstar to make you drool in awe, I suppose.

You'd think that with such a huge game, Rockstar would have to sacrifice graphically... nope. While GTA V doesn't look quite as gorgeous as it does in some of the high-res pictures that are all over the 'net, it still is one of the best looking games of this generation. When putting the sheer size of the game into the equation, then it most definitely is the best looking game this generation of consoles has ever seen. My only qualms with GTA V's visuals are minor... very minor. First off, there are slight frame rate drops when you get to certain points in the middle of a heated firefight. They are pretty uncommon though, and also understandable, given how huge the open world is. Secondly, there seems to be some minor textural issues from a bit of a distance. Again, it's something I can pretty easily forgive. Everything else is just outstanding. The weather, the water, the animations, the cars... it's all, quite frankly, amazing.

Once you get past how pretty this game is, you'll realize how fluid and real everything feels. As other publications have said, you really get the impression that this is a living, breathing world. While Grand Theft Auto IV could sometimes feel ghost town-esque (lack of AI interaction at times, few cars on the road, etc.), I have yet to get that impression in V. Rockstar put so much detail into this game that it can't be put into this review... and honestly, why would you want me to spoil that for you? Trust me though, you'll always have something new to do, and you will find plenty of little Easter eggs.

As you would have already expected (and has been leaked), GTA V has a soundtrack that is over 20 hours long, and there's some more talk-radio hilarity, as well as a little bit of music for everyone's taste. The voice acting in GTA V is also... care to venture a guess? Phenomenal. As is usually the case in Rockstar's games, you'll believe you're watching a Hollywood blockbuster at times. Add it all up, and you've got an insane package.

All of this typing and I've hardly said a peep about how the game plays. Without offering up any significant spoilers, I will tell you that it feels quite a lot different when compared to GTA IV... which I like. It mostly feels different in terms of on-foot gameplay. The cars seem to control quite similarly to GTA IV, but I don't mind that, because I thought the vehicles in that game controlled nicely. On-foot though, the characters seem to be more reactive. Perhaps more importantly, the gun-play and cover system feels unbelievably better than GTA IV did... it's really hugely improved. Rockstar seems to have learned a lot from its recent games, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. There's a wide variety of types of missions in GTA V, so you won't find yourself constantly doing menial tasks, like driving people around. But hey, if that's your bag, you can do that -- you can do what you want, when you want in Grand Theft Auto V... play it at your own pace.

In the media world, hype ultimately means nothing, even if the franchise is Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar has seemingly pushed out quality game after quality game for over a decade, and they've been long due to hit a speed bump... but they certainly haven't hit one with Grand Theft Auto V. Take your highest expectations for the game... this will most definitely will exceed it in every way. Additionally, it's worthy of every bit of the hype it is receiving, and is clearly the game of this generation, in my opinion. This is the perfect essential send-off before the next generation of consoles are unleashed. There is no reason you should spend your free time for the next few months doing anything else once you get your hands on this game. The next time your girlfriend wants the "D", tell her you want the "V", and play this game.


+: Insanely huge map, with seemingly limitless options; Fun, immersive story that feels very Rockstar; Quite possibly the best game that you have ever played; You'll lose weight from missed meals; You're getting the V!
-: Minor hiccups in frame rate (big whoop!); Some textural issues; No GTA Online at launch; You won't get the other V.
?: Is it really even possible that GTA: Online could improve this game?
!: Coincidentally, this is post number 555 on 47Reviews.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V Review Coming Monday!

This isn't a review ("God DAMMIT!" I know), but I'll be uploading my review at exactly 10:00 AM (EST) on Monday, September 16th. Visit 47Reviews at that time to see my review of what is the most anticipated game of this generation.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Food Review (Smothered Burrito from Taco Bell)

I've, sadly enough, probably already had about ten of these since they've been released... that should say enough, but I'll elaborate. I promise. First off, Taco Bell describes their smothered burrito like this:

"Our new Smothered Burrito is filled with shredded chicken, premium Latin rice, hearty beans, and creamy chipotle sauce. Then it’s smothered with red sauce, loads of melted cheeses and topped with reduced-fat sour cream. Available with seasoned beef or marinated premium thick-cut steak."

The price is $2.99 for beef, $3.99 for shredded chicken, and I believe something like $4.29 for steak. I haven't had the beef version, but I can speak for the other two. As many times as I've had this burrito, I've gotten the shredded chicken every time but once. The steak I once got accidentally (the first time I ordered), and didn't hate it... I thought it was alright. Once I got the shredded chicken though, I saw no reason to get the steak. For four bucks (for the chicken burrito), you actually get a hefty burrito that's one of the weightier things on the menu. They don't skimp on anything, and the burritos come pretty loaded. I liken it sort of to a Grilled Stuft Burrito that's put in a bowl with red sauce and cheese on top. What's to dislike about that? The thing that makes the smothered burrito most appealing is the chipotle sauce -- if you remember the chicken flatbreads Taco Bell had a couple years back, you've had it before. I'm not sure why Taco Bell ever got rid of it, because it should be a mainstay on the menu. Really, I'd be happy with this burrito being permanent as well. I normally liked to get a volcano burrito, but they since raised the price to $3.39 from $2.99 here, and they aren't nearly as big as they used to be, or as the smothered burrito is. Do yourself a favor and try one of these before they're gone.


+: Everything but the kitchen sink; Tastes really good; Chipotle sauce.
-: Kind of pricey, but it's not too bad; stroke inducing amounts of sodium -- seriously, insane.