Bryson Baker's Profile - Destructoid

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Oregon native and aspiring writer. Go Ducks!!
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When I think of Grand Theft Auto, I am (oddly) usually reminded of my childhood. I used to watch my older brothers play "Grand Theft Auto Vice City" almost every day after school. While the story was the last thing I was actually paying attention to, I revisited the game recently and found the story quite appealing. It was a playable version of the classic film "Scarface", with a completely badass protagonist named Tommy Vercetti. The story made you care about an antihero who is the spitting image of hell on earth for society. The idea of being a criminal and having to start at the very bottom of the "food chain" to climb to the top provided an epic story the likes of which Rockstar Games is known for.

Rockstar Games has decided to tell not one, but three unique stories, with three unique characters. This change in narrative can make or break the game for every player. Every character has to be different, they cannot be the same character with a different "skin", and they all have to be fleshed out characters with backgrounds and resolutions to all of their stories. On top of all of that, the same amount of care must go into each character otherwise what we, as players, are left with are one or two really cool characters and that other character that you can play as but he really doesn't matter as much because he is boring. While just about everybody will say that the Trevor character stole the show, the remaining characters were also fleshed out and had good backstories.

The remastered release of GTA V on the newest consoles will remind us of this new evolution and narrative, and impress us even more with its amazing visuals. A better looking environment will push us as players further into immersion. Giving us more realistic visuals will prevent that disconnect and stop us from having that "I am not actually experiencing this" moment. The story is absolutely solid, updating the visuals makes this perfect package even more perfect. I think that is Rockstar's goal, they already created a world that felt inhabited, it breathed, it flowed. Even though they don't need to put it on PS4 and Xbox One, doing so sets a bar and precedent for other developers. People are already forgetting about the last generation of consoles, when GTA V releases again this year, the bar gets raised again. Every developer looking to push out a great game has to look back at GTA V as the "measuring stick". Releasing a game near it is a bad idea, no matter what people will compare the titles and for a lot of people GTA V is their favorite game ever.

The fact of the matter is that Rockstar Games has been constantly pumping out successful narratives for a long time. They challenged themselves to see if they could put three characters together that we control and still create a good consistent narrative. Not only have they done that, they have given us the opportunity to etch our own stories in GTA Online. Finally, we can put ourselves into one of the best video game worlds ever made.

My brother and I used to play Halo 2 everyday after dinner on the Xbox. We did not have Xbox Live, it was just him, myself and whatever one of our friends came over. It was a war, almost nerve wrecking, to try to win. Whoever won was "the man," the champion of the house, the best. Years later our parents bought us an Xbox 360 and that slowly seemed to change. Halo 3 was the first game we played over Xbox Live on the newest generation of consoles, we were both horrible at it. Typically we ended the match with many more deaths than kills. Eventually we got good, but through the constant playing online, our one-on-one matches split screen games were not as frequent.

Even when we played Halo 2, we knew we were not the best Halo players in the world, but it was so much more tense because we didn't have that many other people to play. If you lost, the other guy won because he was simply better at Halo than you. You end up playing the same people so much that you recognize their tendencies, what weapons they go for, or what vehicle they like to use, you constantly had to change up your strategy and try to adapt to their new strategy. When we began using Xbox Live, we didn't feel like we did when we played each other, we were playing against people that we didn't know, never met and will probably never meet again. That is what makes online gaming less tense than split screen gaming, you don't have to change your strategy like you do split screen against someone you constantly play against. You may be killed by one player at the start of the game and not even see him for the rest of the match. Split screen is one-on-one, the only person who you can kill is the other guy, who's only opponent is you. With this current generation of consoles, more and more people are playing online, don't get me wrong I play online all the time and I enjoy it. There is just something so much more fun when my brother comes over and we pop in Halo 2 and play it just like we did in our parent's living room all those years ago.

When I heard that Ubisoft, the company behind Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed, were making an open world game with technology and surveillance as game play mechanics, I didn't know what to think. The first thing that came to mind was Grand Theft Auto with James Bond's gadgets. After all of the news and game play I have seen, I am very excited for this upcoming game. Watch Dogs takes place in Chicago following hacker Aiden Pearce. Pearce can hack the Central Operating System (CtOS) and take control of almost all of the technology in the city. On top of being a hacker, Pearce can fight and use firearms. This is a great premise and concept that I am sure Ubisoft will expand upon should it be successful.
The reasons that I find myself anxiously waiting for this game to release is that there has never been a game like this before and this could set the tone for the next generation of consoles. Watch Dogs builds off the fact that our society is more dependent on technology than ever before. This makes releasing the game now have a stronger impact because our society does rely on technology, but it is not as extreme as in the game. We are essentially in the middle, we are not there yet but we still use technology. This game would have less of an impact thirty years ago because technology wasn't as dominating as it was back then, people wouldn't relate to it. What I am able to relate to in the game is that it is possible. I want to see the direction this game takes, is the message we take away from this game gonna be to stay the course we are on or to try to limit our exposure to technology? This could be the game that starts the new generation of consoles out strong and sets a standard for games to come. Hopefully it will be in our hands very soon.

When I bought the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection I was thrilled, I finally had a new game to play after having surgery. I had read and watched many reviews on all the games, as I was told it was a great series, but had never played a single game until Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of The Patriots years after it was released. Knowing that there was a lot of back story to that game didn't necessarily scare me, but I really didn't want to sit through another hour long cutscene. When I popped that disk in and played Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of liberty followed by its sequel and then playing Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, I believed that I was playing the greatest video game series of all time. I was right, but I also was extremely confused. Diving into the Metal Gear Series at any point other than the beginning seems to be as hard to understand as understanding The Da Vinci Code while also understanding the plot of Lost.

There are so many plot points, stories and events that are over-arching that you may need to go back and play the games again just to get a clear explanation. When I played Metal Gear Solid 4 I met Big Boss, a character players of previous installments were so much more familiar with than I. From what my brain originally absorbed from the epilogue was that Solid, Liquid, and Solidous Snake were clones of Big Boss who was an enemy of Solid Snake at one time whom the later thought the former dead. Upon playing the HD Collection however, I realized that even though Big Boss is rarely the character controlled by the player, he is the central character of the entire series and for the most part the reason everything happens.

I attempted to explain to my friend the importance of this series and explain as many plot points as I could. This discussion went on for thirty minutes and suffice to say, he knows as much now as he did before. My advice to people new to the series would be to start as close to the beginning as possible. Even though I have yet to play it, Metal Gear Solid is currently available on the Playstation Store. Currently I am waiting for the newest Metal Gear Solid game to grace our presence so I can delve deeper into the greatest series of all time.