Keeping true to the Grand Theft Auto analogy, this game is like GTA meets the wild west circa 1800, with a bit of the Max Pain bullet-time thrown in for good measure. Traveling on horse back, scalping native Americans as they attack you presumably for being white, this game offers a slant on history that would make for a really good video game. As you travel onward, following a central story, you every so often are forced to fight off any bad eggs that blow into town. Also, depending on how unruly you decide to be yourself, your actions are reflected by a sort of 'morality meter,' which can determine your own outlaw status. The only neutral entity, as it turns out, is your gun. It's up to you how you decide to use it.
This game is essentially Grand Theft Auto set in the late forties, with a narrative that weaves itself loosely into the Godfather canon. But really all the little vignettes with the Corleones, your character listening in like some disinterested fly on the wall, are justifications for doing such old-timey mob things as intimidating bakery owners by smashing up pastries, holding people-who-owe-you-money's heads out of windows, and claiming territory from rival families. All these little features are what set it apart from GTA, in the very tactful ways in which you deliver pain and fear, even if the engine is a piece for piece...let's call it an homage...to the open-world, be-as-evil-and-kleptomanical-as-you-please style GTA made popular.
Not surprising that the game is made by Rockstar, makers of Grand Theft Auto, the game plays like Grand Theft Auto meets grade school. Instead of working for various gangs and mob affiliations (although that may come later on), you are your average bully; looking a bit like Bobby Hill, you can pick on little kids half your size and greater, with faculty members/the headmaster (it's a private school) standing in for the police (although if you journey into town on bicycle--you can't steal any thing bigger than a moped--you can be pursued/arrested). The missions are much more innocent, yet gratifying on a far less nefarious level of willful wrongdoing, as you carry out tasks for classmates, lunch ladies, and teachers (you have to go to class, and actually complete assigments). This game gives much more literal meaning to the term 'sand-box.'
This game, like several previous based on the movies, puts you in Spidey's tights. More than like the movie games, there is a unique, much more visually-appealing combat system; also, you can freely switch from the dark suit to the classic red-and-blue. While you could do this in the Spider-Man 3 and swing at breakneck speeds, with the suit in WoS, you can pick up and hurl cars, which enables you a Hulk-like capacity for carnage. And as the plot ties in with the symbiotic invasion, the whole things plays out like some kind of zombie outbreak (heavily recalling the circumstances surrounding the game Prototype, also made by Activision), where suddenly the city has been infected and residents are rendered into empty, thoughtless vessels (never a good thing). Amidst a mutated city, comic book familiars drop by, some more helpful than others (e.g. Wolverine drops by to teach you how to play the game better--meanwhile Spider-Man is supposed to know what "push up, X, Y" means without breaking the forth wall--that is, before his is infected by the alien symbiotes, and becomes this corrupted, nightmarish clawed creature you are supposed to bring down). This game is a blast to go through, even if it is loaded with an engine and story components that've been done before to some extent or other.
This game has to be the most aesthetically-pleasing in the GTA franchise. Set in what looks like Miami ('Vice City') in the eighties, this game is heavily inspired by the movie Scarface, and has all the excess, shiny red sports cars and speedboats, and hawaiian shirts (not to mention cocaine) that defined the film's/decade's tackiest decadences--the quintessence of how an ashamedly poor man turned suddenly rich would behave, the most ostentatious acts of conspicuous consumption included. That is the root of Tony Montana's being, and so is Tommy Vercetti (voiced by none other than the Goodfellas' Henry Hill himself--Ray Liotta). Any doubts of the parallels between the two storylines, wait for the scene in which you find a chainsaw as the only proper means to exact your revenge. Or just turn on the radio in any given stolen car: nothing but 80s hits, many of which coincide with the Scarface soundtrack.
Trapped and surrounded by hoards of zombies, your only real mission is to stay alive for 72 hours, before the helicopter comes. As a ballsy photojouralist, you willingly embark on the world's most dangerous assignment, right in the heart of evil (and in a shopping mall no less). Well, okay, so there's more to the game than that; there are storyline-driven missions, that you can take on at will, and romantic asides, and rewards in every photo op (some of which can be 'sexy!'), but the games main draw is how everything you find can be fashioned into a weapon (yes, a soccer ball and a metal bucket will come in handy), and there is the thrill in stumbling upon a gun with a few bullets in it, or a randomly placed samarai sword. Oh yeah, and then there are random cults that kidnap and undress you. Definitely a quirky game, fun in its own original right--with twists and turns and the possibility of never doing the same thing twice (unless you die of course)--everything steeped in a very tangible feeling of self-preservation.
As GTA gave way to a new era of open-world games (although it wasn't the first, being preceeded by nonlinear, open-world style games in the eighties, some in which you could even drive around), it should be of little surprise that it should make a few more tweaks to its highly-influential engine. Those tweaks show up in the official sequel to GTA 3 (even while spin-offs like San Andreas and Vice City played like their own fully-realized installments), where the game is a pretty breath-taking achievement; the entirety of New York City is mapped out in the game, as if you were playing in Google Earth, leaving you to explore its very reaches, noting famous landmarks in what is pseudonymed "Liberty City." The cars drive more like real cars, and you can even smash through the windshield if you crash into something going fast enough. As if the former games weren't a corrupt romp through a consequence-free virtual reality, this game makes those id-fuelled behaviors all the more gratifying (questionably?) in a world awfully similar to the real one.
This game is huge, and designed to feel that way. After all, you must explore all new land in this post-apocalyptic, fifties-tinged look at an irradiated Washington D.C. (dubbed, the 'Wasteland'). And with how expansive the game is, its only proper that the gaming system be enough to satisfy 100+ hours of potential gameplay; following a narrative stream of your choosing, with the ability to embark on side quests, deal with (/kill and rob) local townpeople, earning new skills and stats, as well as a reputation for being good/evil that can come to help/haunt you later on. Especially fun is the V.A.T.S. shooting system, which lets you select body parts to fire upon (of enemies human, non-human, and sub-human), with lesser or greater success of contact/damage, after which the aftermath can be a pretty gruesome sight-- delineated in slow, literally eye-ball-displacing, motion. But be confused not, exploration is central to this game, in an ongoing journey for survival, meaning, and perhaps some molerat meat.
This game is all about what you can do. Which is pretty much everything (and if it weren't for that, there'd be no game.): you can smash, glide, jump super high, plummet to the earth leaving an impact crater, emit energy blasts, consume and assume the identities of bystanders to avoid suspicion, steal tanks, cars, and helicopters mid-flight, use the hammer of the gods like Thor...if anything is missing, it's because memory has ommitted every other sandbox-style game this one steals its tricks from and sandwiches together like a superhero...hero (e.g. all the Spider-Man games, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, GTA, etc., etc.). All of which makes Prototype a bit of a misnomer; nonetheless, having all those abilities at your disposal is incredible fun, and the fact that you only get those powers gradually, as you progress through the game, keeps to plugged in, busy earning your way to god status (and it is only at that point when the open-endedness loses steam, as nothing compells you to use those powers for any meaningful reason).
Minecraft houses limitless creative potential. And it houses that potential in castles, manors, taj mahals, bungalows, sealabs...you name it. Equipped with blocks of any of the materials mineable on-- or beneath the surface of--this virtual, pixelated Earth, you are provided the raw materials to build any tool, monument, device, or abode you can dream up (or at least cook up, based on the inumerable-and-always-adding recipes that make the game such limitless fun, with little more a wooden workbench). Never has manual labor been such a desirable 8-hour task as how it can be when the results are an immensely gratifying source of artistic/architectural pride. And of course the fun and that feeling of gratification would be such the pay off it is without the day-and-night-time constraints. Oh, and the occasional bloodthirty, hellbent, and murderous likes of zombies, giant spiders, armed skeletons, and kamikaze-like creepers. And you thought back injuries were a construction worker's worst nightmare.