The ILG Coint & Plick Awards

Make Your Case: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Posted in Best of PS2, Make Your Case by trdn89 on March 5, 2010


i played it for a while before going to sleep last night. i started by heading to my wardrobe to fiddle around with my character’s outfit for about 15 minutes (i always loved the paper doll aspect of this game, and it’s a lot more advanced than it was in VC), then went outside and shot a few random people before hopping into my rhino tank parked under an overpass. i turned my turret around so that it was facing behind the tank, then accelerated forward while firing behind me to increase speed. i rampaged my way to my airstrip, where i got out of the tank and got into a harrier jet, which conveniently has a radio. i turned it to the deep house station and listened to some guy sing about living in harmony while i unleashed fiery death upon the denizens of las vegas (i forget what it’s called in-game). eventually i make the mistake of flying over area 51 (forgot its in-game name too) and i almost get shot down but i bail out in time, except i forget how to work my parachute and end up splatting on the ground.

why san andreas over gta3 or vice city? well, it’s just better, but i guess that isn’t as self-evident as i thought. gameplay-wise it makes the others seem hopelessly crude, ‘fixing’ a lot of the simple issues that would jar you out of the game experience – swimming, jumping, targeting, car physics, camera, etc. (this stuff is a big deal, because it makes the game that much more playable!) its range of environments makes vice city seem monochrome and monotonous (vice city feels really cramped to me, and there’s no range as far as what it evokes – it just makes you feel like a drug lord from beginning to end), the writing’s at its funniest and most interesting, the missions are amazing and the voice acting owns (the gta games are the only ones where celebrity v/o make sense)

some things i didn’t like about it:

-not enough options after you finish the game – it would’ve been nice if you could’ve had the option to replay any mission from the game (there’s some amazing set-piece missions in this game), or at least be able to initiate gang-wars again

-cutting off some songs early, meaning no monster breakdown on Rusty Cage and no sick instrumental section of Freebird ;_;

-wardrobe interface pretty clunky and slow

-it pushes the limits of the ps2 and out of neccessity the draw distance is very low, making things difficult when you’re piloting the high speed harrier

those are extremely nit-picky and are basically the only things i could possibly hold against the game. something i keep coming back to when i think about san andreas is, funnily enough, something s1ocki said about goodfellas once – talking about the scene where sorvino slices garlic with a razor blade, he simply says ‘there’s nothing else like that.’ well, there’s nothing else in gaming like san andreas. except maybe gta4 but i havent played it and i heard it was boring anyway plus it’s on another system so who cares. i mean, gta’s main legacy is probably the proliferation of sandbox games, but i can’t think of a single game in that style that reminds me at all of gta, especially san andreas – nothing with the ambition or the ability to see that ambition through. i mean, nobody else even WANTS to make a game where you can fly a jetpack, murder cops with a dildo, get into dofgights 2 thousand feet above the ground while listening to wreckx-n-effect, decide between a caesar and a fade – let alone TRIES.

That basically how I break it down to an extent.

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Coint & Plick 2008 #2: Grand Theft Auto IV

Posted in 2008 by trdn89 on February 23, 2010

104 points, 10 votes, 3 TOP GAME votes

Official game site

Mordy: This lacks the emotional punch of Fallout 3, or even the sympathetic protagonist of Violet: A Distraction, but GTA IV was still the most ambitious, mainstream game to come out this year. I have to imagine that forcing 13 year old trash-talkers to think about morality (and mortality) can’t be bad. Maybe Rockstar is really a subversive Kantian think tank trying to trick kids into playing Mafia games that are really about the immigrant experience.

Jeff Levine: Say what you will, it’s an amazing technical achievement.

Iroquois Pliskin: The single richest, most culturally detailed and vibrant environment created for a video game, and one of the most ambitious as well, on a narrative level.

Polyphonic: A very disappointing game, especially after the embarrassing overpraise that preceded its release. But this is also the game I played the most this year, and it isn’t without its pleasures. If the first GTA game released on the 360 is meant to solve the basic issues of marrying the GTA world with the physics and graphical capability of next-gen systems, hopefully the second game will provide the fun and depth that Vice City and San Andreas provided to the template of GTA III.

Jamescobo: The Journey alone commands points.

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Coint & Plick 2008: Most Disappointing Games

Posted in 2008, Most Disappointing Games of the Year by trdn89 on February 23, 2010

Before we finally crack the top fifteen, it’s time to pause for a page from the ‘can’t-please-everyone-all-the-time’ file. When I asked people to submit their votes, I also asked them to name their “most disappointing” game of the year. This wording was intentionally vague; I didn’t necessarily want to hear what folks thought the WORST game of the year was, I wanted to see what got under their skin and annoyed them. Unsurprisingly, virtually all the games mentioned as most disappointing also made the countdown. Here’s a selection of responses to our hall of shame:

Brilliam: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
I loved MGS, MGS2, and MGS3… in that order. What made them great was that they pushed the definition of player and console and game to the absolute limit. Not only does MGS4 fail to do this in the same way, it’s also got one of the most irritatingly preposterous scripts in the history of script…and not in a way that’s amusing, like MGS1 and 2. Definitely one of the most interesting games I played and beat this year, but hardly one of the top 20.

Edgertor: Fable II
Though it was my first real RPG, Fable II ended up giving me the feeling I’d wasted my time. The ‘relationships’ you have are stupid and superficial, the customizing dopey and the only good thing about it is that you get a dog… and (if you’re good) he gets fat and blonde after forty hours. Who wants a fat blonde dog?

Cozwyn: Grand Theft Auto IV
it braek my haert : (

Abanana: Professor Layton and The Curious Village

Forksclovetofu: Spore
Fable II captured my girlfriend’s attention, not mine. No More Heroes looked great and played poorly. GTA IV could’ve been retitled ‘Arduous FetchQuest 08’ for all the pointless running around it forced me to do. Mirror’s Edge left me cold from the demo. L4D requires gamer friends on your schedule. There were various and sundry disappointments on game systems for me this year, but nothing was so completely ‘ennnhhhh’ as the much anticipated and greatly depressing Spore. I wanted the ultimate god game and instead got to run around collecting whiskers and earlobes on a beach while avoiding giant gorillas… and that’s not even as fun as it sounds! When the best part of the game is your character creator, something’s gone wrong in Wrightland.

Mitch Krpata: Mirror’s Edge
Rarely have I played a game that seemed so self-contradictory, especially one with such capacity for greatness. But it almost forced you to play it in a sub-optimal way in order to progress. I hated every second I spent with this game and it’s like a six-hour game. There weren’t all that many seconds to hate. Intellectually, I appreciated what Mirror’s Edge was doing, and that’s why I kept booting it up with a sense of optimism — optimism that was destroyed within minutes of beginning any new play session. On a gut level, I just couldn’t stand the game. I swore at it. I stared in disbelief. I came close to re-enacting the control pad stress test on more than one occasion. And lest you think it’s just because I was bad at it — and I was very bad it — the game was designed in such a way that I couldn’t help but blunder my way through it without ever having to master it. It was the worst of both worlds.

Nhex: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Sad because it’s still the same great core game as the other excellent AW games but Nintendo went with a more serious and dark tone, removing so much of the charm and personality of the series. I can totally understand why: they did three critically acclaimed, great games that the general public didn’t seem to care about, so they made an earnest attempt to broaden their reach (ironically by narrowing it to appeal to the “core” gamer, with a dystopian setting), but it doesn’t quite work. It’s a shame this series hasn’t really been a massive, popular breakout hit – it’s still very accessible.

EZSnappin: Little Big Planet
I love the idea of LBP and its community creations but the platforming is a floaty, imprecise mess. An absolutely stunning and charming and magical game that I only wish was fun to play.

Iroquois Pliskin: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
Not only was it barely a game in the latter half, it simply lacked so much of the inspired and imaginative gameplay that made the previous games in the series such classics.

John Justen: Fable II
Where do I start? Simply put, Fable II is a good-looking, ambitious game with frustrating mechanical flaws and nearly irredeemable gameplay due to its terrible core design flaws. There is enough to like about this game that I still put it in last place on my top ten but the myriad problems make it infuriating. The “vault” mechanic is just straight up broken. If I can leap 100 feet down from a cliff, I should be able to jump off any fucking ledge I come across where I can see the ground. The last time I remember this many “find-the-sweet- spot-and-move-until-you-can-do-what-you-want” difficulties was with the old LucasArts games. Having a game built on social interaction with NPCs and then making those NPCs idiots is bullshit. Making the logos for the expressions in the quick menu incomprehensible and indistinguishable is no good. Having your character’s reactions change at the last minute so that instead of giving a thumbs up you do a bloodthirsty roar for no reason – not okay. The fact that I made more money on the first level of woodcutting than I did in the first fifty treasure chests I found is insane. Implementing a sale mechanic for the shops that makes it possible for you to sell the items you just bought back to that exact same place for a considerable profit the very next day is not an “exploit”. It is bad game design and it makes any actual hard work unrewarding and pointless. The shitty control issues and moronic terrain issues are counterbalanced by the fact that the game looks great and that the dog is adorable and actually offers a lot of great mechanical elements (the dig spots, training, etc.) but the damnable, inescapable problem with this game is that there seems to have been no effort to make the basic structure of the in-game world make any sense.

Jamescobo: Resistance 2
PROTIP: I hear this game has invisible enemies.

CraigG: Me
There’s been so many games that haven’t been as good as I expected but none of the ones I was REALLY hyped for were shit. I was looking forward to Fallout, which was better than I expected, I was eager for Mother3 which delivered in abundance. I guess one game that I really hoped would be better – not so much that the game is flawed, but that it didn’t “grab” me in the way I’d hoped, was Super Mario Galaxy and that’s an ’07 release. Still, I kept hoping for a 3D Mario that gets me like Mario 64 did when it came out and I actually do think SMG is better than Mario 64. So I suppose my biggest disappointment is… myself, really. I don’t understand why I don’t love Galaxy more than I do. 😥

Lamp: Persona 4
Not because of the game, but because it got stolen from the lobby of my building the last week of December, presumably by one of my neighbors. Who else would be able to get into my building and the area where the post office dude leaves Amazon packages? Sure, Fable II fucking sucked but this is some next level bullshit. IMO richass brokers stealing my Aliens boxset and Xbox games is a sign of the times 4 real.

Coint & Plick 2009 #18: Grand Theft Auto 4: Episodes From Liberty City – The Lost and the Damned/The Ballad of Gay Tony

Posted in 2009, Xbox 360 Exclusive Games of the Year by trdn89 on February 15, 2010

55 points, 4 votes, .5 TOP GAME vote

Official Game Site: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Official Game Site: The Lost and The Damned
Official Game Site: Episodes

Metacritic – Gay Tony
Metacritic – Lost and The Damned

Antexit: I doubt this will get many votes, but I’m giving it the points I didn’t give GTA4 last year. If there were a few more things to buy and a little more diversity in the fun shit you can do, the three games taken together would be pretty close to what I was hoping GTA4 would be– let’s hope the next GTA is more like these two and less like their pretentious older brother. It’s the best game starring a Jewish biker I’ve played this year.

Developer Interview

Ste: On the Gay Tony story front, I love it. The dialogue and all the characters are well done. But FFS the animations are so sluggish sometime. GET IN THE FUCKING BOAT QUICKER!!

Associate Producer Interview

Stevie: The club seems fun as fuck and the characters are a lot more likable and charismatic than in the previous two iterations.

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Coint & Plick 2009 #42: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Posted in 2009 by trdn89 on February 15, 2010

24 points, 2 votes

Official Game Site



GM: It’s actually my favorite GTA thus far. None of those clunky controls to slow things down.

Cozwn: So many little touches in this game make it much better, for my money, than GTA IV. I love the dealing; I’m loaded. Sold $17k of heroin in one deal. 😀

Eurogamer Review


Haitch: I’m only a couple hours in but this is pretty good! I really like the hot-wiring element.

“Frustrating Sales”

If: I have never played GTA before, but some combination of the setting and format got me to try this one and it’s really great fun! I think the mad taxi dashes are the best part, though setting up lucrative drug deals is also great.

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