"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Summer Movie Flashback: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

tn_princeofpersia

2010
2010

This is another one I never would’ve watched without painting myself into a corner with this review series. It falls into the small percentage of big summer movies that I just had no interest in seeing at all. Alot of the ones I miss, like, say, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4, I didn’t get around to seeing them, and I heard they were bad, but yeah, sure, I’d watch ’em. Probly will some day. But not this one. I wouldn’t have.


In fact, back when PRINCE OF PERSIA’S SANDS OF TIME came out in 2010 I reviewed WILD THINGS FOURSOME for The Ain’t It Cool News and you know how the newsies have this thing where whatever you wrote they are outraged because what the fuck harry you fat fuck this is a new low you call this news why are you writing about this shit when other sights are writing about ______ no wonder this sight is going downhill fuck you? Well there was this one guy who thought I should’ve been writing about PRINCE OF PERSIA. Here’s part of the exchange (abbreviated for your convenience):

wildthings4talkback
Who’s laughing now, buddy? Well, I guess you are, now that I reviewed it. Wait, no – I am, because there’s no way in hell you would want to read anything about that movie now. I would argue that while both movies made absolutely no impression on the culture of any kind and are rightly forgotten and in a way it is kind of unethical for me to be bringing them up again right now, at least the one I reviewed would cause people to say “they made a part 4?” So it has more value.

(I don’t read sports websights – do people post on the basketball articles saying “What the fuck is this shit? I want to read about football fuck you espn you cocksucker you are fat also”)

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Prince Whatsisdick, a streetwise street orphan plucked off the street and raised by the king with two royal-blooded brothers. Now the king is old or whatever and the brothers kinda squabble about how to start wars and who will become king. Our boy would rather be doing shirtless street fights or parkour with the rabble, but sometimes he has to lead an army and prove that he’s better at it than his uptight siblings.

On one of these occasions he 1) finds a fancy lookin dagger and 2) meets Princess whatever of Alamut (Gemma Arterton, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED). And the prince, the princess and the dagger all get mixed up in an attempted coup when his father is killed with a poison cloak and he’s set up to take the fall. He goes on the run with the princess, they bicker into love, he finds out the dagger is magic and can make him go back in time, they fight alot of guys, travel around on a journey and shit, adventurous, etc.

Back during the initial rejection period I thought Gyllenhaal, fine actor and all, was not right to play a sword-wielding Persian prince in an action adventure. barnaby jones thought I was calling him gay by mentioning the shirtlessness and referring to him caring about this movie as an alternative lifestyle, but I honestly didn’t mean it that way. I just thought Gyllenhaal looked ridiculous playing this type of character. The truth is he does much better than I expected, but he still doesn’t have the type of charisma that might save a movie like this. It’s funny that the poor guy had to learn a British accent as a metaphor for being Persian. It proves he’s more versatile than I realized, but also it makes me miss his usual mumbly slow guy likability.

mp_princeofpersiaDastan (that’s the name of his character, I looked it up now) excels at climbing walls, jumping off rooftops, onto moving carriages and stuff. It’s based on a video game so I’m sure it comes from that. It’s kinda cool, there are lots of practical stunts, but since it’s a period setting that requires lots of sets and digital backdrops there’s no room for long extended parkour shots, usually they gotta do one move per shot.

I do like Arterton in this. She has kind of a Rachel Weisz-esque charm. She’s more memorable than in CLASH OF THE TITANS I think, although that’s a way more enjoyable movie.

There’s some obvious contemporary politics worked in. An invasion is justified on fake charges of selling weapons to the enemy. A stooge is embarrassed by a failed search for the weapons. An advisor is secretly manipulating the younger, naive leader. An ostrich racing mogul (Alfred Molina) rants about taxes (an age old hacky joke, but probly meant as a reference to tea party people). It would’ve been subversive if it had been in the middle of it all, but years after Bush was even in office it’s more like a cute half joke than a political statement.

In alot of ways this is the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN formula, so what is it that makes it not work as well? For one thing, a sense of invention. The PIRATESes had their living skeletons, their squid people and shit, groundbreaking FX shots that at the time we weren’t even sure how they were done (nobody had done anything like Davey Jones before). This has… some confusing ghosty animation to show the dagger’s magic, an ostrich, some magic snakes. There’s not really monsters and stuff. It’s mostly about white people pretending to be Persians journeying through the desert while fake LAWRENCE OF ARABIA type music plays.

Also the humor is missing. They definitely try to have a witty banter going between the prince and the princess, but it falls pretty flat. They’re likable but they don’t get laughs, at least from me. It’s not even remotely close to as annoying as the MUMMY movies in the jokes & laffs department, but at least those have monsters and crazy shit that happens to sort of make up for some of that.

More than anything PRINCE OF PERSIA makes me wish I was watching THE SCORPION KING. It’s really the same kind of material, done with better production values and more acclaimed director and actors. It feels classier, but it doesn’t have the humor, the momentum or of course the charisma and screen presence of The Rock. And I guess it has less CONAN influence too. It’s just kinda bland. I’ll take cheesy over bland.

The director is Mike Newell. I guess after he got a HARRY POTTER gig he was up for movies like this too. The screenplay is credited to Boaz Yakin (THE PUNISHER, THE ROOKIE, FRESH, SAFE) but also Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard (THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE), screen story by Jordan Mechner (the guy that did the video game).

Are you kidding me? Other places have reviews of Runner Runner already and I’m posting this shit? Well, I work on my own schedule.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 at 2:51 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

74 Responses to “Summer Movie Flashback: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”

  1. I saw it in theaters I’m sorry to say because I was a fan of the video game and the fact that Disney made it led me to believe it was going to be far better than your average Uwe Boll or RESIDENT EVIL type video game flick and technically it is, it’s not a terrible movie per se, but just unbelievably mediocre and bland, it would be a good movie to watch on a Saturday afternoon on the SyFy channel to kill some time or whatever but there I was watching it in a theater and boy did I feel dumb (though mostly I felt bored)

    and I know I’m beating a dead horse at this point but FUCK! I can’t believe this was already over 3 years ago! 2010 feels like it was yesterday to me, has a mad scientist turned on a machine somewhere that makes time go by faster or is it just me? I feel like I’m gonna wake up one morning and it’ll already be 2020 (this is the last time I’ll say this because it goes without saying 2011 and 2012 feel like yesterday)

    as for 2010 itself, not much to say other than that was the year I wised up and converted to PC gaming, which was fucking awesome and made for a pretty awesome year, I look back on 2010 fondly

  2. Now here’s a movie that I can completely commit myself to hating.

    Mike Newell must be one of the most inept directors I can think of. I don’t wanna be mean to the man, but I’m pretty sure an average guy off the street could deliver the same quality of filmmaking he does. Watching Prince of Persia, I couldn’t believe how amateurish some of the blocking and staging was. It’s like this guy simply doesn’t know how to start and finish a scene, never mind fitting those scenes together into a coherent and exciting whole.

    He suffers from Marcus Nispel syndrome, merely stringing all the shots together into chronological order and hoping for the best, with no consideration for rhythm, flow and pacing (you know, what other filmmakers call “editing”).

    One of the first things any director learns is to shoot with editing in mind. This guy… “Nah, never heard of it.”

    And it’s not just Prince of Persia that is well below standard filmmaking par. His Harry Potter movie is the one that made me stop watching that series. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Check out his adaptation of Love in the Time of Cholera. It’s kinda laughable how misjudged that film is.

    Sorry to come down on this guy. I know he made Four Weddings and Donnie Brasco, but I can’t help but think he stopped giving a shit about his craft a long time ago.

  3. I genuinely liked this movie, but I’m a sucker for old-school, rip-roaring adventures set in foreign worlds. I have to say, I find a lot of Bruckheimer’s modern output genuinely enjoyable up next to other obnoxious, huge modern-day movies. His movies are big and loud and bombastic but they’re infused with just the right amount of Disney innocence that is more or less gone from movies nowadays. Stuff like this and the Pirates movies feel like throwbacks without being retro.

  4. As I recall, the game (the late 90s/early 00s one that kicked the whole PRINCE OF PERSIA thing off again with its parkour and whatnot) had a really good story. Simple enough for gameplay, but with enough twists and turns to make it entertaining and dramatic. Then I read the synopsis for JAKE OF PERSIA and saw they’d gone the whole PIRATES way. I thought those movies were okay, but holy shit did the story mechanics annoy me.

    “I need THIS thing so I can control THAT thing and then I will double-cross you so that SOME OTHER THING will cause someone to do SOMETHING.” – Basically every character in every film (I haven’t seen the last one, but I’m assuming that’s the case there too).

  5. Well, after the box office disappointment (okay, disaster) of The Lone Ranger, it seems like Bruckheimer is going back to his older (and, I guess, safer) properties, which is good news for us.

    Bad Boys 3, Beverly Hills Cop 4, Top Gun 2. Not sure if this is really a good idea, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. My favourite Bruckheimer phase was his 90’s action movie era.

    Hell, if he can help guys like Cage make some solid action movies again, I’d be very happy. More badasses with guns and explosions, less children’s fantasy book stuff.

  6. Knox Harrington — dude, I totally agree with you about Mike Newell. Holy CHRIST that Harry Potter movie was boring. Nothing pisses me off / depresses me more than a director who is inept or, worse, doesn’t give a shit. Mike Newell is dead to me.

  7. If they had made an adaptation of the original PRINCE OF PERSIA game, he would have tried three hours to get out of the first room in his dungeon and then die anyway.

  8. Knox: This might be sacrilege to some, but a friend of mine with too much time on his hands spliced some gay porn scenes into DONNIE BRASCO. He tinkered with the soundtrack a bit too. It actually improves the flow of the movie. So maybe Newell isn’t as inept with editing as you think; maybe studio interference ruined his films by cutting out a bunch of raunchy sex.

    Of course, if the same friend makes a porn edit of HARRY POTTER, I’m going to deny I know him.

  9. What a dull movie about bland people doing unimaginative things and speaking boring lines in bad accents. The only bright spot was Gemma Arterton, who managed to bring some life to her by-the-numbers character. I would probably watch her in PRINCESS OF PERSIA if they got a new director with a sense of fun.

  10. I was properly disappointed by this one, because, as a fan of the games, I’d basically been hoping for Banlieue 13 set in ancient Persia. They even had David Belle involved in some way. A pity he wasn’t seen doing anything – probably doubled Gyllenhaal on stunts or something like that.

    The whole thing just doesn’t come together at all. What’s with the weird beginning wherein Dastan-as-a-kid proves his mettle by, er, sort of running around a tiny set whilst the guards chase him and then falling on his ass?
    Or the point where flirting-with-bestiality ostrich racing crook Alfred Molina talks about a Turkish harem when, at this point in time, Turkey didn’t even exist yet?

    And don’t get me started on Arterton. Yeah, she’s a lovely looking lady but man did I hate her in this. I know they were going for this throwback ’30s/’40s style bickering-leads-to-love tone, but it doesn’t work at all. She is just annoying as hell, with a voice that could cut glass uttering strings and strings of “witty” bullshit.

    Also, I feel really sorry for the production and costume designers. They did stellar work that the miserable plot didn’t at all deserve.

    I know he meant it as a joke, but I’m with CJ on this: They should’ve adapted the very first game. It’s simple enough: guy loves princess, princess’ kingdom is taken over by evil vizier who then throws the guy into a magically transmogrified prison tower filled with traps and guards and some supernatural creatures. It’s like Die Hard in Persia. With traps. And spikes.

  11. I kind of liked PRINCE OF PERSIA. It has the flair of a classic Hollywood adventure film, with the right amount of innocence and lightness to match the great visuals. It’s a movie would watch at a Sunday afternoon.

    Knox Harrington: Mike Newell isn’t a visionary director – and he surely can’t make something as great as the LONE RANGER – but I have to watch the movie again to understand why someone would call him »inept«. It’s a long time ago since I’ve seen it, but as I remember the pacing in this was quite good and I thought it had a great, old-fashioned kind of momentum. There was nothing in this movie that would make me want to see more of it’s director, but also nothing that was »inept«. But as I have the unopened Blu-ray it’s easy to find out.

    The Disney movie that gave me impression that the director had no idea what he was doing was JOHN CARTER.

  12. I remember thinking it was strange to make a film out of this game series. The games are great, but the story is usually a serviceable get from point A to point B sort of thing. And most of the conflict in the games comes from jumping, climbing and avoiding booby traps. The thrills come from solving these sort of acrobatic puzzles, not so much from fighting monsters (although there’s some of that too). It just never seemed like it needed a movie. Maybe a weekly half hour animated series.

    Oh, and from my experience, sports sites have a different kind of whining. For example you get this kind of thing: “WTF? Why do you guys constantly report on the Yankees. Fuck Jeter. Go Sox.” It’s a slightly different spin on the same silliness.

  13. For niche sports you get a lot of hate. Commenters asking why anyone would like soccer. Or women’s basketball. There’s a lot of hate for women’s basketball, like its very existence is threatening.

    Anyway, I loved these games, but didn’t see the movie. I’m intrigued by the descriptions of the director being terrible, though. Maybe I’ll rewatch Goblet of Fire. That book was one of the best, but I can’t remember how the movie stood up.

  14. The best thing about the original side scroller PRINCE OF PERSIA game was that if you missed a jump, you could grab onto the ledge and pull yourself up. Alas there was no scene where Jake missed a jump but grabbed the ledge and pulled himself up. Fail.

    CJ, you’re right.

  15. Speaking of Gyllenhaal, has anyone seen an advanced screening of PRISONERS yet? My interest in that one grows the more I see it advertised.

  16. The SANDS OF TIME video game is awesome, that is all I have to bring.

  17. SANDS OF TIME was indeed great, one of the best games of 2003, but the sequel, WARRIOR WITHIN was fucking awful, they went for a “darker and grittier!” approach complete with gore, rock music on the soundtrack and a depressed Prince

    I hated it so much I turned it off quickly and took that shit back to Blockbuster and haven’t played a game in the series since

  18. The wonderful Arabian Nights-atmosphere were completely flushed down the toilet in the sequel. I agree, WARRIOR WITHIN was not great. It had a more fleshed out combat system. But the world itself was a lot less interesting than the previous game.

    Now, I am getting back to GTA5. See you guys in six months or so…

  19. The early 2000s Prince of Persia game had one of the better video-game stories, and one of the rare examples of a good female character in a game, so it was a real shame to see them screw this one up the way they did. Max Payne is still the out and out biggest squandering of source material I’ve ever seen (lets take a game that’s already written and designed as basically the best John Woo movie since Hard Boiled and take out everything good about it), but this one comes kinda close. It’s not awful or anything, but you could legitimately make a good movie out of it if you approached it the right way.

  20. I saw this film because it was the film my cousins wanted to see the last time I took them to the cinema, and I actually ended up liking it, finding it to have that Joe Johnson/SHADOW kind of charm, i.e. not actually *that* charming but a bit more fun than your average churned out blockbuster, somehow. But weirdly, the first thing I ever think of when I think of this movie is that AICN talkback insult you posted at the start of the review. Strange how the mind works, mine especially.

    I remember a lot of commentators making the “tea party” connection with Molina’s character, but I don’t know, I’m pretty sure they weren’t very prominent when this was being written and even in the can. Plus it really is a pretty standard Bruckheimer ploy; i.e. that bit where one of the astronauts in ARMAGEDDON will go if they are told they don’t have to pay any taxes, coz, boy, we sure do all hate taxes, right fellas?

  21. Wait. People that like Harry Potter movies DISlike GOBLET OF FIRE??? It’s easily the best paced and most exciting in the series. Does the best job of trimming the novel’s fat while retaining the important shit that made it great and has one of the best scores. True it doesn’t look as nice as AZKABAN or have its atmosphere, but it’s a far better adaptation.

  22. One of the best non- Williams scores, meant to say.

  23. I gotta agree w/ Knox – I normally don’t give a crap about who directed what, but Newell’s work is consistently bland and uninvolving to me. I don’t care if you’re a journeyman director, there’s no shame in that, but at least be able to pace a movie or make a memorable scene. I just saw his imdb and realized I don’t like a single movie he’s directed, except I think I liked parts of Pushing Tin and Donnie Brasco.

    And grimgrinningchris – I know plenty of people who liked Goblet of Fire, but that was actually the one that had me going “I think i’m wasting my time here on this series”. Granted, I never read any of the books so that might be why I disliked that one and only really liked Azkaban and Deathly Hallows 1.

    As for Prince of Persia, it’s not only bloated and terrible and dull (I mean, how can a huge big budget period piece summer movie based around parkour be THIS boring), but am I the only one who found it really mean spirited? Gyllenhall spends most of the movie killing tons of innocent guards/good guys if I remember correctly. Sure, everything gets negated at the end, but I’m not rooting for a hero who doesn’t seem to think twice about capping his own brothers in arms like it was nothing. I mean, I know Disney movies have gotten more violent since the success of Pirates, but this was too much for me.

    And by the way, aren’t there still a ton of innocent people dead at the end because they didn’t go far back enough in time? Like that poor “watch your back” guy is still paralyzed from the waist down, right? Good times!

  24. Word. I honestly don’t give a shit about Prince Of Persia. Nothing about it ever said “watch me!” to me and Vern’s review certainly doesn’t change that. (Though a few commenters likening it to classic Disney adventures might sway me to watch it on tv one afternoon). I just got excited to talk about Harry Potter for a moment since Vern’s never reviewed any of them.

  25. WHY ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT CRAPPY SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS WHEN THERE’S SO MUCH NEW SOFTCORE PORN WAITING TO BE REVIEWED?!

    RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

  26. I saw this in the theater. Later that day I saw The Room for the first time, and then Black Dynamite. After, we were discussing the two movies we’d seen and suddenly I was like, ‘Wait. Didn’t we see another movie today?’. It took us a while to decide that we had, then another hour to remember what it was. … So that was the impression that Prince of Persia left on us. Watching it’s like waiting for a bus, …except boring because I wasn’t reading a book or running into weird or interesting people whilst at the theater. So I guess that’s actually a bad example. Waiting for a bus is what Prince of Persia wishes it could be.

  27. Actually, the 2008 Prince of Persia went back to the 1001 Nights atmosphere of the earlier games (which is somewhat nonsensical given that the Persia they were depicting was a pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian empire.)

    I know it’s got many detractors, but I really like that game. The art direction is beautiful, the parkour flows nicely and I liked the interplay between the “prince” and the girl, Elika. Even the ending is kinda interesting. Pity it never got a sequel.

    As for the movie – I just remembered how put-out I was by the underwhelming soundtrack by Harry Gregson-Williams. His Kingdom of Heaven score is a work of beauty, so I thought, given the relative regional proximity of Persia to Jerusalem, he’d go for a similar type of sound. Nope. He just slowed down one of Hans Zimmer’s Pirates themes and used that instead. Maybe the incidental stuff is nicer, but I honestly can’t remember a single musical cue beyond the Pirates-y one.

  28. Speaking of video games, has anyone here played one called Hotline Miami? It’s apparently quite badass and right up our alley. I watched a few trailers recently. Nice soundtrack.

  29. Ok. Since, as usual, I’ve only gotten the chance to see this movie about three months after all of you guys, here’s my impassioned defence of “White House Down”. I won’t say it’s been misunderstood to the insane level that “Olympus Has Fallen” has, but I definitely think that some of its detractors are missing the “point” of an Emmerich movie. If anybody cares enough to debate me on this one, I’m spoiling for a fight.

    http://www.outlawvern.com/2013/06/30/white-house-down/#comment-3016585

    Now apologies for that little bit of off-topic self-promotion there. Please continue with your discussion of “Prince of Persia”.

  30. Vern really had nothing to say about this movie. It’s almost like Vern has had that

  31. Vern really had nothing to say about this movie. It’s almost like Vern has had that one poster on his brain and needed to get it off his chest.

  32. Don’t be weird, Sternshein; Vern had plenty to say about PRINCE OF PERSIA.

    This is one I also just figured I’d probably not get around to watching. And now, thanks to Vern, I never will. Ever.

  33. Knox- HOTLINE MIAMI is a great fucking game. Don´t miss out on it. It is hard as hell, but strangely addictive. Also when it comes to badassery in games; from what I have played so far GTA 5 delivered big time!

  34. if we’re gonna use this movie as excuse to talk about video games (because Lord knows there’s really not much to say about PRINCE OF PERSIA) then I want to say that I finally bought the TOMB RAIDER reboot thanks to a recent Steam sale and WOW, this game has totally exceeded my expectations, I love it and the graphics are stunning, it makes me very happy to have as powerful a PC as I do

    now you may be wondering “why the hell are you not playing GTAV?” well, I’m holding out for the PC version, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait

  35. I’ll have to wait until Hotline Miami comes to Xbox. I suck at PC gaming. Never had all those years playing Quake and Unreal Tournament, like my friends did, so I’m useless with a mouse and keyboard. Too many buttons.

    Also, computers make me stupid.

  36. Knox-I think it is available as a download on Xbox. I downloaded it from PSN.

  37. Knox and Shoot- I believe that Hotline Miami is currently on PC and PSN but not on Xbox. It’s a good fun throwback but honestly, anybody who wants to play a gritty crime story game needs to be playing GTA V right now. I didn’t like IV at all, but two long sessions with V and I’m already thinking it is this gen’s true masterpiece.

    Griff- if you have a console, I’d pick it up now. I suspect it will be about 2 years before it comes to PC, if ever. $800 MM in sales on day one isn’t exactly making Rockstar think that they missed a huge chunk of the market by passing on PC. Hell, RDR still hasn’t been ported to PC. That’s a long time to wait just for mod support. (Graphics will be essentially the same, although a beefy pc might get rid of some of the pop-ins). It’s just too good of a game to wait. Plus, with the online component launching in 2 weeks, you may find that the only way to socialize with any of your gaming friends is on the streets of Los Santos.

    Side note: GTA V’s end credits take 36 minutes to scrawl. That is a lot of people working on one game!

    CEPE- I loved the 2008 PoP game. The mechanics were fairly fluid, the chemistry between characters worked and the cell shaded visuals looked great. I can see why it had its detractors, but I thought it was a solid game with charm and, most importantly, was fun to play.

  38. Dtroyt – Why didn´t you like GTA 4? I thought Rockstar really made a big turning point there by removing some of the more outrageous aspects of the previous games, making the humour more satirical but putting it in the background and focusing on making the game more realistic, gritty and just harsher in tone when it came to the story. They still maintained and evolved the kind of crazy (sometimes stupid) sociopathic characters that would not have felt to far off from an Elmore Leonard novel.

    But they really made a big leap in characterizations with this game. Everything is just top-notch. And the satirical humour is sometimes even more relevant than in the previous game. Don´t forget to stalk your friends on LifeInvader.

  39. Shoot- I had several issues with IV. First of all, I hated the story. I just found it incredibly boring. Also, it seemed like it took about 10 hours of driving Roman around on boring errands before you could even get a gun. The constant cellphone calls from idiots asking you to go bowling or whatever was stupid and made playing feel like a chore. The game mechanics were also very wonky. I found myself dreading any mission that involved a firefight because janky controls made some missions extremely frustrating. Also, I think they dialed back the silliness way to much, making the game feel cynical. The lens filter they applied also made the game look fairly dull and ugly, in my opinion.

    With V, it seems the devs learned from their mistakes. While obviously not silly like Saint’s Row has become, so far V seems like a perfect balance between gritty and satirical. There’s also a lot more urgency to the story. The first quarter of IV felt like it was designed for people who had never played a GTA game or even one of its clones. V drops you right in the action and keeps the momentum going at a crisp pace. Also, all of the gameplay seems to have been refined by taking elements of other Rockstar games and incorporating them. Shooting has been made more like RDR and Max Payne, driving feels more realistic thanks to Midnight Club. Even the tennis mini game uses the mechanics of a game Rockstar put out earlier in this generation. Overall, I’d say that V, so far, is what I was hoping IV would have been. It takes the good of IV, improves on it, gets rid of or refines the bad of IV, and manages to include some nifty new additions.

    But most importantly, I have fun playing V. When I was playing IV, I thought maybe the series had just gotten stale for me. V has proven that this is still a series which can blow me away both for its technical achievements and for the way it can make me feel the pure joy that only comes with a well-tuned, immersive, interactive experience.

    By the way, I’m not saying IV was a bad game. I just didn’t dig it.

  40. Well, that is fair enough, I´d say. Most of those complaints I understand. The look,however for part IV I thought was representative of the stry they wnated to tell. the bleeched out colours gave it a bit of a rougher edge the game presented and it kind of in a way reminded me of 70´s crimethrillers. I don´t know why, but for me it felt like that.

    But yeah, I think it has to do with ones opinion of the game.If the look of the game is not up your alley, the game probably isn´t either.

    Part V does a fine balance between the grounded characterizations, the realistic gritty and the previous games ridiculous shit ( the welcome return of Rampages.Finally!!).I agree on that. It has less chores built into it than part IV and more fun.

  41. I’m only a couple of hours into GTA V, but I’m digging it so far. I like the ability to switch between characters on the fly. I’ve read that having the three different protagonists lets them explore a variety of different gameplay styles while avoiding the tonal inconsistency of their previous games. That’s interesting, because I feel like Rockstar’s narrative ambitions have been straining against the structure of their open-world games for a while now.

  42. Dtroyt – 2 years? where are you getting that from? it’ll come out some time next year I’m sure and Rockstar has brought every previous GTA to the PC, just because they skipped RDR proves nothing

    and I don’t know how familiar you are with PC gaming but there is a WORLD of difference when it comes to games on the PC, just actually being in 1080p is a huge difference for one thing

    I can live with console exclusives, some of those still look pretty good, but multiplatform games on the consoles are horrendously ugly to me, like they literally hurt to look at, it’s like everything has been smeared with Vaseline, ugh, I just can’t deal with it

    I can however, deal with waiting another year (if it even takes that long), in fact I’ve been wanting to go back replay the old GTAs anyway, that sure hold me until 5

    and, worst case scenario, if it does never come out on the PC like RDR, then to be honest, fuck em’, if Rockstar doesn’t think PC gamers are valuable enough customers then they aint getting shit from me

  43. *I can however, deal with waiting another year (if it even takes that long), in fact I’ve been wanting to go back and replay the old GTAs anyway, that’s sure to hold me until 5 comes out

  44. Griff- I’m extremely familiar with PC gaming. One year is a possible time frame, but I believe that the inevitable XBox One and PS4 ports are likely to take precedence. Plus, the simple time and budget requirements for the online component could add time. They will need to staff a pretty robust team to support Tat.

    It’s not that I don’t think it will come, but considering how much more support they get from console players, I doubt it’s a priority. Also, it depends on how easy it is to port. RDR hasn’t made it to PC mainly because the cost of recoding for PC would be astronomical, in part to the fact that some of the source code had to change mid-milestone.

    Anyway, I think PCs are great and I think consoles are great. In this case, I think it’s worth it to grab it now and enjoy it. You can always buy it again next year. To me, it’s sort of like seeing a big event movie in the theaters or waiting for the Blu Ray.

    Lastly, your eyes hurt from console versions? A bit hyperbolic, don’t you think?

  45. * to support that. Damn auto correct

  46. ok, maybe they don’t LITERALLY hurt, but the graphics are still an eyesore, as in they’re just not pleasant to look at

  47. The graphics in GTA V are anything but an eyesore, so I will have to call bullshit on that one. I don´t see what higher resolution or additional whatever brings to the gameplay experience. I mean it is great with additional detail, but I don´t see why it is such a dealbreaker. PC gamers seem to obsess over the graphics. I don´t get it.

  48. I just happen to like good graphics, it’s a fundamental part of my enjoyment of video games for me

    people say “graphics don’t matter!” and I call bullshit on THAT, for such a technology driven medium graphics are a HUGE part of them, why shouldn’t you want the latest and greatest games to look their best?

  49. I don’t really want to argue about it

    look, I like good graphics so I’m willing to spend the money to ensure that I get them and if Rockstar thinks I’m unworthy of buying their game then they can eat a bag of dicks

  50. I never said graphics did not matter. But I don´t think higher resolution makes for a better game experience either. In fact it makes shit harder to read on screen and to some extent can ruin it for me. Squinting my eyes will strain them, hence less enjoyment.

  51. Ok, let´s agree to disagree.

  52. I’ll cut in here… twice I’ve made the mistake of buying Rockstar games because a lot of people said they’d be fun: GTA3 (which has put me off GTA games for life) and “Batman: Arkham Asylum”, which is only reasonable as long as you’re out-of-doors (which you’re not 85% of the time). The annoying thing about both games is that each has a fantastic fully-realised world; the problem is that using a keyboard and mouse, the gameplay for both just does nothing for me.

    Call me crazy but my idea of a fun driving game is limiting yourself to about ten miles per hour each mission, because if you so much as roll your car, you’ll end up wiping out and having to go back to a checkpoint that saved twenty minutes ago. I played right the way through GTA3 until the final mission, at which point every weapon I had was taken from me in an unavoidable cutscene; up until that point I’d slogged through it by virtue of sheer persistence, but this was too much.

    And don’t even get me started on the amount of time I spent trying to gain access to “secret areas” in “Arkham Asylum” that are impossible to access unless you have the right tool – a fact that, conveniently, the game doesn’t bother to mention to you. (Yes, this open-world game actively punishes you for exploration and persistence.) There’s no first-person option, which seems ludicrous to me (if I want to stare at Batman’s arse all day, I’ll watch “Batman and Robin” on freeze-frame) and you’re frequently asked to do stuff like hold space-to-run plus W plus A/D to strafe plus tapping Q to throw a batarang. In the middle of a boss fight. (Oh God, the Poison Ivy fight.) You have to be a double-jointed octopus to play this game using a keyboard.

    So yeah, when RDR and GTA5 come onto PC, I don’t think I’ll be in line to shell out for a copy any time soon. Maybe others don’t have the same problems with Rockstar’s games that I do, I don’t know. Or maybe their knack for creating huge immersive worlds is enough for people to ignore some of the design issues that bother me. I play many, many less games than I watch movies so I’m not the best judge. All I know is that these games are not fun for me. I have limited time and money, and I feel that I’ve already wasted far more of both on Rockstar games than they deserve.

  53. Paul – you must be the only person alive that did not like GTA3

  54. “Batman: Arkham Asylum” was developed by RockSTEADY Studios, not Rockstar Games, Paul.

  55. Paul- As Cepe said, Rockstar didn’t do any of the Batman games. And GTA 3? That game came out 12 years ago! The series has been seriously refined since then. But, hey, if open world sandbox games aren’t your thing, that’s ok.

  56. Paul – I think you are missing out on a great experience, just because you had a shitty experience on a PC. Should have been played on a Dual shock pad to begin with. But GTA V should make you turn around. If not, well then you are beyond help.

  57. Guys, stop trying to make Paul refrain from making sweeping judgments based on incomplete or even faulty evidence. That’s his thing!

  58. Oh, beg pardon about the Batman thing. Thought it was the same developer.

    Majestyk – damn you! I’d curse if it wasn’t so obviously true… at least whenever we disagree. :D Although Rockstar / Rocksteady… yeah, fair enough.

    Shoot – You take it for granted that I’m interested enough in the series to play the thing, which I’m not (in all fairness, I was interested enough to comment in the first place). It just kind of blows my mind that GTA5 seems to be considered an essential purchase here.

    DTroyt – I love sandbox games. I’ve been playing them ever since the original “System Shock”, and that came out in 1994. I love both recent “Fallout” games (and am actually currently playing through the first one). I think Skyrim is great for the most part (some of the characters / quests aren’t up to scratch at all, but I find the gameplay, levelling systems and world more than makes up for those).

    I think the WORLD of GTA3 is great. I just got sick and tired of driving to the same questgiver in the same place again, and again, and again. That spoils the game for me. Absolutely. It becomes a simulator of driving at fifteen miles per hour because you’re too afraid to crash and lose all of your progress. I get why it’s considered a classic – in terms of the world that it showcased and the influence that that had, it was pretty incredible. Having played it more recently though, I think that maybe a lot of people are conveniently remembering all of the good bits but forgetting some of the basic problems it had with gameplay, important stuff happening in cutscenes when it could easily be done in gameplay, camera issues, perspective problems, etc.

    But hey, what the hell, I’m the guy who complained at Bioshock Infinite because it felt like the world developer, the story writer and the gameplay designers had been kept in three totally separate rooms throughout the development process. (I still think it’s a good game… it’s just nowhere as good as even “Bioshock”, let alone either of the “System Shock” games.) So take my opinions with a pinch of salt, so to speak.

  59. Paul- sorry to assume you don’t like all sandbox games.

    I don’t think anybody has forgotten the issues GTA 3 had. But there have been 4 games plus expansions, as well as a dozen or so other Rockstar IPs, which have addressed many of the issues. Of course, there are still some imperfections, but the overall game is truly impressive. GTA V has a map that is roughly 4 times the size of Skyrim and is absolutely packed to the gills with detail and things to do. Some missions do require returning to contacts, but with the amount going on, not to mention the ability to switch between 3 characters on the fly, it rarely feels like a monotous chore. The driving 15 miles an hour thing hasn’t been an issue for a while now since Rockstar has refined the mission progress and save systems over the years.

    As far as why it’s sort of become required playing here… Well, all you have to do is play the prologue and you’ll see how the story and characters and whatnot speak directly to those of us who love bad ass cinema. As Crustacean mentioned, Rockstar has had some difficulty balancing the story and characters with gameplay in the past. Part of why I didn’t like IV was that the main character whined about getting out of the game and was played as a reluctant criminal in cut scenes, which seemed ridiculous after I mowed down innocent civilians and cops on my way to the place that triggered the cut scene. V, so far, has a top notch crime story and characters that I think could sit well with great crime movies like Heat and the Departed.

    Anyway, I think it sits with a handful of titles which I believe every gamer should at least play a bit of. I would say Skyrim and Bioshock are on that list. I’d also put Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on there, incidentally, which brings me slightly back on to topic.

  60. Paul – I just don´t get your speed-anxiety at all.”Too afraid to crash”. What the fuck is that about? What is great about these games are the whole randomness of Rockstars worlds. Do not be afraid to be caught up in ridiculous shit.Relax and have fun! The only thing about the old GTA´s is basically the shooting mechanics. It is damn awful. Attempting to aim at a target usually gets you autotargeting a civilian. Urgh! That shit is stupid.

    I think you SHOULD play GTA5 to get you out of that unlogical hatred of GTA. I think you would like it. But what the hell would I know. You,my friend have a very peculiar idea of fun. Just try it at least. it is fucking great. I don´t know what else to say.I love you,Paul for your weird tendancies to hate on things completely unbeknownst to every one else. But shit has a limit.

  61. Best sandbox game of all time is Crackdown.

    I mean, you play a fucking supercop, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, and throwing buses at gangsters. Can’t beat that.

  62. Knox- Crackdown was a ton of fun, but for me personally it doesn’t even make a top five, maybe even top ten, list. As far as over the top super powered sandbox (as opposed to more grounded faire like GTA and RDR), I think Prototype was my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, though, Crackdown is still pretty awesome.

  63. Shoot – if you crash, and you can’t get out of the car in time, you die and have to start from the last checkpoint. Unfortunately there’s only three checkpoints in GTA3, and all of those are houses that you own. Which might be a fair distance from a specific questgiver. Which in turn might be a fair distance away from a specific quest, which might very well have a tricky auto-failure state… you get the picture. Basically, there’s no autosave so you cannot, under any circumstances, risk crashing your vehicle when you’re on mission.

    My favorite part of GTA3, back when I was playing it, was just exploring the world and doing random shit like stealing taxi drivers’ cabs and picking up fares in them. (Yes, the game let you do that.)

  64. For a game that lets you leap across buildings and throw cars, I thought CRACKDOWN was horrendously boring. There was no joy in exploration as the city felt completely lifeless, like it was automatically generated by a computer. PROTOTYPE gave you a lot of abilities to play with, but it had cumbersome controls and one of the most offputtingly “dark and edgy” protagonists of all time. I really liked the INFAMOUS games, but they are slightly more grounded. I haven’t played SAINTS ROW IV yet, but apparently that does the superpowered sandbox thing really well.

    Paul: All of the problems you’ve listed about GTA were rectified years ago and all the fun stuff you liked is even better, especially in GTA 5. You’re baffled about why it would be considered an “essential purchase”, but I’m baffled by your bafflement.

  65. SAINTS ROW IV is a blast

  66. Crustacean – So if I have a choice between spending my (limited) funds on the new “System Shock” or “Fallout” game, or the new GTA game, I should go for GTA, a franchise that holds absolutely no interest to me? Or are your resources of time and money so good that you can afford to buy all of them? If so, I envy you that!

  67. Paul: Spend your time and money however you like. You said you didn’t get why so many people are excited about GTA 5, and I tried to explain it to you in terms of your current (outdated) understanding of the series. A fools errand, apparently. I’d never recommend anything to you, as your fickle tastes are beyond the comprehension of mortal men.

  68. I feel about Prototype’s city the way you do about the Crackdown one, Crustacean. Prototype’s city has to be the most dull and lifeless game city I’ve ever encountered. It has zero landmarks, and almost no real design to it. It’s just grey square building after grey square building. It really put me off, but the sequel seemed like an improvement.

    It’s kinda sad that Crackdown now seems to be a dead franchise, since it inspired so many others (Prototype, Infamous, Saints Row 4, etc). It had endless potential that was sadly never fully realised. Microsoft should get their shit together and put a great developer and a decent budget on to making Crackdown 3. There’s no way it won’t make money. Hell, Crackdown 2 made a profit, even after the mediocre reviews, and the reason that game was so unfinished was nobody’s fault but Microsoft’s. They gave Ruffian a mere 8 months to turn what was intended as an expansion into a proper sequel. Those poor guys never had a chance, and so a good franchise (one of Xbox’s exclusives, no less) went down the drain.

    Still, nothing like leaping from a 20 storey building with a rocket launcher aimed at a gang of thugs below, landing in the middle of the explosive havoc you just caused, then tossing the burning car wrecks at the last remaining bad guys and dropping a few grenades for whoever’s left as you power-jump off into the sunset.

    It’s like the Punisher and the Hulk had a baby.

  69. it’s been a long time since I played CRACKDOWN (about 6 years ago in fact), but I remember loving it, climbing the buildings was a ton of fun

  70. I liked INFAMOUS, but on the whole I don´t particular care for super hero sandbox games.

  71. Crustacean – sorry, that reads wrong. I didn’t mean to snap at you or anything, it’s just your description of it as “essential”.

  72. Knox: Yeah, PROTOTYPE’s city was the same. All the character designs were just as uninspired; generic soldiers, zombies and lumpy mutants. The game gave you a lot of interesting ways to maim them though. I liked it, but not enough to get the sequel. CRACKDOWN deserves credit for inspiring a subgenre, but so many other games have iterated on the formula in interesting ways that it’s hard to get excited about it now.

    Paul: That’s cool. It’s essential for me and some other people here, not necessarily for you.

  73. I don’t think Crackdown inspired the sub genre. I give that credit to Spider-Man 2. Easily the first (and still one of the best) super-powered sandboxes.

  74. Spider-man 2 was good as long as you were webslinging around the city. But the camera was awful when inside buildings and the combat controls were half assed and made for some frustrating experience. I found the final battle with Doc Ock unplayable because of the controls and camera.

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