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The stupidest review you can remember reading


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I recall the general vibe as being unexcited, with an expectation that it would end up like Prince of Persia 3D, Lemmings 3D, Castlevania 64, and all those other 2D series that (at first at least) didn't really cope with the transition to full 3D. Plus, it was coming off the back of GTA2, which was a fine game but didn't exactly have the same impact as the first game.

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I think Jak & Daxter was being hyped as the big PS2 game for Christmas 2001 - at least in Europe, where we didn't get MGS2 until spring 2002. I remember Digitiser (during that period where they had to take out all the comedy) giving J&D a really gushing review.

 

I think Digitiser gave GTA3 a really positive review too, but the game didn't get as much wide attention until some time later.

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It's hard to see how someone could play GTA3 for more than give minutes and not realise how revolutionary it is. Spotting the genius of Halo was very astute - it took me a second play-through to really appreciate it - once I'd got used to the controls, been told to try it on a harder difficulty etc. Up till then I thought Medal Of Honour: Allied Assault (basically Call Of Duty 0) was a much better game.

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I was working as a sales assistant in a branch of Electronics Boutique when GTA3 was released and I've always remembered that absolutely no-one gave the slightest shit about it at launch. In fact in the intervening period I've often wondered if this memory was faulty, so I'm glad to see some of you lot remembering it as being uneventful.

 

In fact, I actually borrowed a copy from the store a few days before release as I was such a massive fan of the first two GTAs (and London) and though I didn't believe it would translate well into 3D, I was interested in giving it a try. I remember going into work the next day and telling my manager that this was one of the greatest video games I'd ever played and him basically laughing me off.

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1 hour ago, Rex Grossman said:

Yeah it only got big once mags started loving it and consumers were playing it. Word of mouth hit initially.

Same with Goldeneye 007 four years earlier – it was expected to just be a generic film licence. I’m fairly sure that it didn’t even sell particularly well at its official UK launch. A few months later, I remember seeing secondhand copies changing hands for £70.

 

Anyway, on the subject of Edge, I’m basically reminded that I’ve never liked that they didn’t (don’t?) credit contributors in the games reviews. Would’ve made it easier to judge the merits of certain reviews had you known which staff or freelancer wrote them, as with other Future magazines.

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1 hour ago, Pob said:

I was doing work experience for the short-lived 'PC Gameplay' magazine and was in a staff meeting where they discussed what was going on the cover of the next issue. The editor said "well there's GTA3…" and everyone just shrugged before it was dismissed in favour of something else.

 

Did the hype only start after the game came out? I distinctly remember becoming aware of it via people saying "you've got to play this fucking game man".

I can only go off a faltering memory of 20 years ago, but I know for a fact I wasn't aware the game even existed and I bought it on a whim when I saw it in HMV. Turned out to be one of my favourite things ever, nicely.

 

The hype won't have been anything like it was even for Vice City.

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Funnily enough with Halo I pretty much instantly realised what a masterpiece it was. I went with friends to an Xbox preview event in Covent Garden. One friend was a marathon fan and so super-hyped to play it. I thought it looked utterly generic in screenshots and was more interested in the snowboarding game. But after two minutes in co-op driving the jeep around and spraying everything with that hood mounted machine gun - basically they had to prise the controller out of my hands. I remember being utterly blown away by the section with the light bridge - the sheer vastness of the architecture and the hilarity of avoiding sticky grenades. I went from being a nailed on Gamecube owner to cancelling my pre-order and importing a US Xbox. Conversely I played GTA 3 at a friend's house and just didn't get it. It just seemed lightweight. Like an impressive but empty tech demo.

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Just went and had a look back at GTA 3 coverage at the time. In the official PS2 mag they had it as an 8-page cover feature preview in Jan 2001 but I can't find the issue with the review online.

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When GTA 3 was first shown off there was two uninspiring screenshots. It look liked typical 3D game from a 2D franchise and no one really cared. They were terrible screenshots to be honest but i was excited as i loved the first game. Even at launch no one really cared till word of mouth spread. Then the thing that kicked it all off was the shortages of stock. I worked in GAME at the time, i must have started just before or just after it launched. What i really remember is spending most of November - March telling people no we don't have it in stock. Having signs at the door saying its not in stock, or we've had some in and them going out equally as fast. It probably only took a few weeks for word of mouth to spread but certainly before launch and at launch people thought it looked rather poor from the drag screenshots.

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2 hours ago, Nick R said:

I think Digitiser gave GTA3 a really positive review too, but the game didn't get as much wide attention until some time later.

 

I don't think Digitiser's GTA3 review has been preserved, but here's its appearance in the 2001 GOTYs:

 

http://www.superpage58.com/digitiser-vault-teletext-screenshot-image-archive-2001-12-24.htm

 

image.png.a8825c16f8ff8f61ff7547c4e7634bc3.png

 

image.png.cf85be514bca359ccd14e99090fa7763.png

 

image.png.9d1dc7e4c2cc3efef0dc68d1b330d31e.png

 

 

 

 

Bonus Amstrad E-M@ailer letter:

 

image.png.2ad27f13d2ed9143ef15b64dab0e2366.png

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Edges 6 out of ten one page review of grand theft auto 3. They later sort of claimed it was a misprint. Anyway, totally dismissive a revolutionary game.

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One of my mates had been following the GTAIII developer interviews and such on IGN. He bought a console specifically to play it on launch. He was the only person I knew (including online) who gave it any interest.

 

On our games nights we'd take turns at amassing as much destruction and death as we could, before eventually being taken out by the army (or the Feds, was it? 5*?). Even when just sandboxing like that it was an easy 10.

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I was in that rare bunch of people actively interested in GTA III pre-launch, but that was simply because I enjoyed the first game and absolutely loved the second one. Something about them really clicked for me. Then III came along and blew me away from the moment the city rolled into view over the Callaghan Bridge.

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Amstrad Action did a buyer's guide roundup of various budget titles near the end of the CPC's life - some jobsworth gave Head Over Heels something like 30% in it.

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33 minutes ago, Benny said:

Amstrad Action did a buyer's guide roundup of various budget titles near the end of the CPC's life - some jobsworth gave Head Over Heels something like 30% in it.

They seem to have given it a rather lukewarm 62%, but they could’ve reviewed it again later? Given the magazine ran for another five years, unbelievably.

 

https://archive.org/details/amstrad-action-058/page/n53/mode/2up

 

(I didn’t think that Head Over Heels was dated in 1990, FWIW. I would’ve still played it had I not sold my ZX Spectrum the previous year, and enjoyed the Amiga conversion when it appeared as if by magic in 1992.)

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3 hours ago, bplus said:

Edges 6 out of ten one page review of grand theft auto 3. They later sort of claimed it was a misprint. Anyway, totally dismissive a revolutionary game.

Brilliant 

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Only things I really liked about impressive-but-empty GTAIII were the music and the spawn-a-tank cheat.

 

Vice City, however - that was incredible.

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15 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

They seem to have given it a rather lukewarm 62%, but they could’ve reviewed it again later? Given the magazine ran for another five years, unbelievably.

 

https://archive.org/details/amstrad-action-058/page/n53/mode/2up

 

They first reviewed it on release in Issue 20, giving it 95%.

 

The second review would have been the budget re-release on Ocean's Hit Squad label. In Issue 98 they did a brief round up of budget titles, giving it 5 stars without any comment

 

The review @Benny mentions was part of a massive budget game round up they ran over three issues from issue 86. It wasn't 30%, but it wasn't far off.

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11 hours ago, deKay said:

Only things I really liked about impressive-but-empty GTAIII were the music and the spawn-a-tank cheat.

 

Vice City, however - that was incredible.


Definitely agreed, I never understood the GTA3 love, even as an impressionable 16yr old, was just used for shits and giggles with friends. An impressive sandbox tech demo of a game. Vice City was brilliant though (except for the remote control parts). Still the only good entry in arguably video game’s most overrated series. 

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The Digitiser review sums it up with one line there: "Impossible to categorise." I think it's easy to forget how new an experience GTA III was in 2001.

 

Cue 5,000 comments along the lines of 'but you're forgetting Bundlethorpe's Nimby Job Centre Drive on the Amstradtrum XXKKXKKXKSAT the first true 3D open world game of which four copies released in 1983, only in Scunthorpe'...

 

I probably am forgetting whatever your example is, because none of the other examples had anywhere near the impact GTA III had. Might not have been the absolute first, but it still created a whole genre.

 

Anyway, worst reviews. I gave Hitman Absolution like 93% or something on Play. I don't know, I was a week from finishing my notice and getting out of that hovel, things were fuzzy.

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55 minutes ago, Oh Danny Boy said:

Definitely agreed, I never understood the GTA3 love, even as an impressionable 16yr old, was just used for shits and giggles with friends. An impressive sandbox tech demo of a game. Vice City was brilliant though (except for the remote control parts).

 

Wasn't that San Andreas?

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On 30/06/2021 at 12:23, K said:

 

No, Stanton deleted all the tweets pretty swiftly the next day. Weirdly, after burning his bridges with Future to almost Stu Campbell levels, he's now back freelancing for Edge. Which is great to see, he's a really good writer.

He was also editor of Kotaku UK for some years and now at PC Gamer - both Future. So clearly the bridges were rebuilt. Also the first person to commission freelance work for me, for Kotaku UK, so I'll always be thankful to him for that.

 

IIRC that rant of his mentioned something about the GTAIV 10 in Edge being iffy. But I really don't remember the details.

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On 30/06/2021 at 16:07, ianinthefuture said:

Totally understand where you're coming from - I think the main reason Edge never stuck the landing with me personally was its dryness. I've written for them once, ever, and I've never bought it as far as I can remember, just doesn't appeal.

It's nowhere near as dry as it was in the early days now, though. If it counts for anything, I tend to write in a similar style for both Edge and WF.

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Talk of Turok 2 definitely brings back bad memories. I bought it on the back of the N64 95% and the Edge 9, neither of which I can recall mentioning some pretty horrendous performance issues (the draw distance where you couldn't tell you were inside a room!).

 

The MP monkey mode was fun, at least.

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The Paragon Publishing Dreamcast Magazine generally gave Capcom 2D beat 'em ups positive reviews. But they had one reviewer, Alex Warren, who really, really hated them and thought that they had no place on the Dreamcast. Normally he was restricted to the 2nd Opinion column...

 

Marvel vs Capcom (main review: 91%):

 

1782975212_DCmagMvsCresized.thumb.jpg.c906c067878233cc232128bf1af4cc31.jpg

 

SF Alpha 3 (main review: 84%):

 

1052005181_DCmagSFalpha3resized.thumb.jpg.b4f71f05ac5fb2fc7d10f062ceeecec8.jpg

 

Then SFIII: Double Impact (W Impact) came out in Japan, and he did the main review, awarding it a score of 44%. Did you know that SFIII's sprites are as ugly as those of SNES SF2?

 

903400720_DCmagSF3WImpactresized.thumb.jpg.cd4610ec8db1f081160ba1c460ed0d38.jpg

 

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But then... there was a twist in the tale! Because Marvel vs Capcom 2 came out, and he liked it! :o :o :o

 

1096692675_DCmagMvsC2importresized.jpg.3d6d927fa2469177abba5b842d770e62.jpg

 

 

He liked it so much, he got to do the main review of the UK release!

 

826330544_DCmagMvsC2UKresized.thumb.jpg.bc1586880b9d4215e4a3f02e233dc4fe.jpg

 

 

I don't know what he thought of 3rd Strike because I'd switched to the Official DC mag by the time that came out.

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