games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Rockstar Games – Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, More

March 6, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Grand Theft Auto V

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week, I’m here to talk about Rockstar games, which I don’t think I’ve touched on before. The general criteria here is that Rockstar either had to developer, or produce the project themselves. Max Payne 3 would count (since they made it) or Max Payne 2 would count (since they published it), but Max Payne 1 wouldn’t, since they didn’t exclusively publish it. Let’s begin:

#8: State of Emergency

State of Emergency was impressive, at the time, for the number of fleeing NPCs it could fit on screen. Also, the slightly over-the-top sense of humor was decent, as you mowed dozens, if not hundreds of people down as you destroyed the mall to cause chaos for…some reason? Honestly, the only point of the game was to kill random people, which at the time (2002) probably played a tad better than it would now. Also, the control scheme for the game was really wonky, it was basically a dual-joystick shooter, but in a 3D space. Emergency’s claim to fame was just cramming the screen full of NPC’s, but that’s about it.

#7: LA Noire

I’ve tried, at least 3 or 4 times to get into LA Noire, and I always bounce off of it. I think I really get hung up on the interview parts, specifically with it having a score associated with it. Some of the things he asks don’t exactly match the intent I was going for. I also don’t really enjoy the evidence collecting, which is really, the other half of the game. There is some open-world stuff, but compared to a GTA or other Rockstar game, it’s pretty hit or miss. Still, I dig the historical world the game sets up and the overall vibe it has. Also, it was damned impressive, especially due to the motion capture/facial animation stuff.

#6: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

GTA 3 was an amazing proof of concept, but it was devoid of personality. This is exemplified with “Claude” never actually talking in the game. This was majorly fixed in Vice City, by setting the game in the 80’s and having the main character, Tommy, voiced by the one and only Ray Liotta. It also had a much more cinematic story, better gameplay, and a more interesting setting. There are a few story hiccups in Vice City, particularly the Haitian subplot, but Vice City was a more impressive game than GTA 3 was.

#5: The Warriors

I love that Rockstar spent the time, energy, and money to get the license of a fairly unknown movie from the late 1970’s. What’s more is that Rockstar then made probably one of the only good 3D brawlers from that license. The Warriors isn’t a genre-defining game, like others Rockstar has made, instead, it is a loving homage to the source material. They got practically all the cast from the movie to voice their respective characters, provide backstories to those characters, and expand on the film’s general premise and story to create a vastly more cohesive experience. The Warriors is a game that I really wish would get a HD upgrade, because it’s one I’d like to play again, on modern consoles.

#4: Red Dead Redemption

I may be a tad ambivalent about Redemption, but I recognize it still as a great game, and probably the greatest western game made, with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger being a good second. Redemption though has everything you could want in a cowboy game, shootouts, rescuing the occasional woman from the train tracks, bounty hunting, duels, cheating at poker, etc. The only real weird thing to me is that the aiming can be kind of strange at times. Oh, and the duel system is *terrible*. Still, I like the sense of humor the game has, both about the situations Marston is in, and Marston himself, and the general encroachment of civilization upon the old west. Oh, and the Nightmare DLC is just fantastic.

#3: Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V is a really interesting experience due to the three character system. You can initially only swap between Franklin and Michael, but eventually you unlock Trevor where the story really kicks into gear. The problem though is that once he is introduced, Franklin is kind of shoved into the background for a majority of the rest of the game. It largely becomes the Trevor/Michael conflict, and how they deal with the growing FIB problem. Aside from this though, GTA V is a damned nice looking game, even now, the environment is huge, and unlike the (mandatory) side activities in GTA 4, the ones in GTA V are actually fun to do. Also, it has that online mode, which I’m not really into, but a ton of people are.

#2: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Of all the Grand Theft Auto games, I find San Andreas to be the best. I really dug the RPG mechanics of having to eat, and weight train in order to build up your skills to be more effective. I enjoyed CJ the most of the GTA protagonists, he has a very wary way about him, but did support his friends and wasn’t as sociopathic as other GTA heroes, with the possible exception of Franklin. I think I appreciated this game’s sense of humor more, like the entire Madd Dogg character, or the fact you can unlock an actual jetpack after doing a certain mission. I would happily play a version of San Andreas that used the GTA 5 world/graphical fidelity.

#1: Bully

I really love Bully because of the limitations the game places on you. When you first start the game, you aren’t allowed to leave the school, or stay out past a certain time. As you progress, and go through the story chapters, more of Bullworth Academy and the town of Bullworth gets unlocked. From the actual main town, to the carnival, to the “bad” side of town, etc, each new chapter generally unlocks a new area for you to explore and do stuff in. Also, Jimmy is a likable character, he does initially want to be left alone, but he’s soon pulled into the swirling social mess of Bullworth Academy and then decides he wants to take over everything. Everything has a more innocent side to it, you’re not gunning down gang members or carjacking people, and you’re instead shooting school mascots with your slingshot and trying to take everyone’s picture for the school yearbook. After Rockstar is done making Redemption 2, I really hope they make a Bully 2, it’s a game that deserves a sequel.

For comments, list which Rockstar games you enjoy, and why.

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Top 8 Mario Spinoff Games

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison