Charting the phenomenal progress of video games these past few decades is easy enough. You've probably seen an image of PlayStation-era Lara Croft in all her stark polygonal beauty contrasted side-by-side with her modern character model. If not, perhaps you've seen Wolfenstein: The New Order's B.J. Blazkowicz sat next to his coarsely drawn early incarnation. Look at all those pixels, all that detail, and marvel at how far we've come.
"Keep walking, asshole, before I shove this nightstick where the sun don't shine."
Rude, abrasive, unnecessary. It's all of these things, but I'd let it go, just because it's a hell of a lot of hassle to do anything about it.
But I do a double take. This is a policeman. A PoliceMAN. I'm Johnny Motherf***ing Klebitz. I'm part of The Lost and the Damned, whose entire purpose is to F*** the MAN. I'm not going to let this slide.
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They may be slick at offering up topical crime and zeroing in on the most laughable elements of popular culture, but the area in which Rockstar's developers really excel has always been architecture. Long after the radio stations have lost their zing, and the story mode's been cleaned out, GTA's environments continue to deliver freeform mayhem in a way few other games can. Liberty City is not just a brilliant pastiche of New York, it's New York boiled down to its key landmarks and textures, and then blended with the best aspects of a theme park: looping highways to spin around, sudden unexpected jumps hidden in the strangest of places, and an effortless ability to frame shiny spectacle at just the right moment.
If you think DLC is sometimes a little overpriced, spare a thought for Microsoft: they've dropped an alleged fifty million dollars on exclusive episodes for GTAIV. I don't know about you, but that certainly puts that drunken Mr Driller purchase into context for me.
We've had indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, and fighting and strategy, which just leaves the glamour girls of action, adventure, shooters and racing to strut their stuff.