So I played Saint's Row just about constantly this last week. It was my first playthrough (I borrowed it from a friend) so I figured I'd put together my thoughts on that game and see what could be improved.
*Driving Physics - One of my main turn-offs from the game. The driving was so stilted and it didn't feel like i was in an actual car. I never got that sense of speed when I was driving. The car's would stop on a dime and wouldn't make it over anything higher than a curb. It was too cartoony and awkward and made racing practically impossible. If Saint's Row 2 had driving similar to GTA4 (that's right; I liked the car physics in GTA4) it would be easier for me to get into. Also, for some reason, whenever you were being chased, the car that was chasing you was automatically just as fast as your car. It's just silly.
*Character Creation - I have no gripes about this. I played as an obese black man with a giant nose and a very high flat top haircut. Plastic surgery places were pretty convenient. If it's unchanged from Saints Row 1 in the second, i wouldn't be disappointed. As long as I can be incredibly racist about it.
*Respect System - This was another huge thumbs-down. It was frustrating to get into a storyline and then be halted because I have to do another round of drug trafficking, or steal another car for the chop shop. I'm hoping that the side missions in Saints 2 are just that: side missions.
*Activities - Hit and miss. I really liked the insurance fraud activity (though sometimes the hit would register as an actual hit and I'd die) and the chop shop was alright. I couldnt get into the racing locations at all, and drug trafficking was just tedious. The pimp and snatch activities were also repetitive and boring. Hopefully Saints 2 will introduce better stuff (though there was one in the trailer where you spray people with septic water (dookies). why the fuck would I be doing that?) and take away the bad ones.
*Story - The story was pretty weak, though the Vice Kings twist was pretty good. I read something about a darker story for Saints Row 2... though it's probably not going to be very dark when the cutscenes feature whatever character I can dream up. The high point of the game for me was the two occasions when my character talked. "Hope you like hepatitis" and "I just got run over by a motherfuckin' truck." Try figuring those out without playing the game.
*Rocket Launcher Splash Damage - Seriously, why should I have to hit my target head on? I have a Rocket launcher. It makes large explodies. Blows shit up. What were they thinking? Pls to fix, thanks.
*More Fun Than GTA? - I hope so. That's what that trailer was pushing. I vividly remember seeing a plane crashing through a building. I'd like to do that. Anything with realistic plane flight is pretty fun. I played San Andreas for hours, just getting that huge plane from the hangar, and parachuting out of it, or trying to land in the water.
*The City - I really disliked the city's design. There was nary an alleyway, and most of the time you'd have to follow the GPS route religiously. In GTA I could take alternate routes, go through parking lots, through alleyways with ease. But in Saints 1 you could become stuck because you took a turn into a one way street. Most barriers can't be knocked down, no matter how short or small they are. It really makes you feel closed in. In the Saint's Row 2 stories I've read, they're supposedly redesigning the city. So, good.
It's fitting that my first blog should be based on how I got into games. Twisted Metal is not the first game I've ever played, but it sure as hell is one of the best. This is one of the games I played extensively in my early days of gaming.
Before Twisted Metal, the games I played were mostly SNES games, at my grandfather's house. I vaguely recall one with a bearded man playing banjo on the cover, and that was like unbeatable for me. I also played Pilotwings, which was great fun until that combat level. Also, Super Mario Allstars was this killer collection of Mario games, none of which I've ever beaten. Another was this one with a purple phantom guy with sweet gadgets, but that one's a bit hazy. (just found out it's called Phantom 2040, based on a comic book character)
Around that time, my brothers were more into games than I was. (they were born in 1986 and 1988, and I came into being in 1993) Around the late 90's, we got a Playstation. My oldest brother spent his time on it playing borrowed games like Silent Hill (still scary as hell), Resident Evil (also scary), and Metal Gear Solid (I regret that I have never played this game all the way through). Our tastes were different, though, as I was a little kid. One day, I came upon Twisted Metal.
Now when you're a kid, you don't know what games are good or bad, because you dont have reference. You simply don't know what a good game really is. However, Twisted Metal struck me as a great game, from the diverse cast of characters, to the awesome way to beat levels (beat the shit out of everyone else, then kill a boss car), to the simple-enough control scheme. I would memorize where the powerups were and return to the good ones whenever they respawned.
Strangely, I recall Twisted Metal 3 as a far more memorable game, maybe due to the Rob Zombie soundtrack. If Wikipedia is correct (always) then this game was actually panned when it came out. Like I said, when you're a kid, you don't really know the difference.
It was Twisted Metal, and some others like Super Mario 64, PC classics like Diablo II and Starcraft, and even GTA III (they shouldn't have let me play this, now I'm totally a serial killer) that bumped me into the gaming world. Now I'm a more hardcore gamer than my brother. (I got him into Rock Band, but our band, Treegoats, disbanded when he moved out again.) In an odd twist of fate, it used to be him telling me not to play with greasy fingers, and just recently he caught me telling him the same.
So, it was Twisted Metal in a big way that got me into gaming hardcore.