I picked up GTA: San Andreas before leaving Sydney, despite the system requirements being above the specs of the Latitude D600 (only 32MB video, and I've been forcibly coaxing newer Radeon drivers on for a while). Other than being unable to get into the Advanced display properties to re-set the resolution (I eventually ported the user data from the Real Gaming PC to get the performance up), it runs pretty well in non-tree-y areas, and a bit sluggishly when there's a lot going on. The graphics didn't look amazing on either PC, but I'm looking forward to doing it all again on The Gaming PC when I get back.
Graphics aside (and don't get me wrong, they're certainly "good" in a "they do the job" kind of way, just not, say, Battlefield 2 class) - the game is as close to gaming perfection as anyone has come. Yeah, that's a huge call, but bluntly, this game rocks. I never played GTA1, 2 or 3. I joined the series at the brilliant Vice City, but I'm seriously thinking of going back to play the others to see where this came from.
The starring voice acting performances are fantastic, and for the most part perfectly read and cast. Samuel L Jackson and James Woods are standouts (I'm only 50% on the progress-o-meter, so there might be more), and the cinematic scripting is a thing of utter beauty - the triad leader "blessed with good fortune" by his gang members is hilarious, and very human at the same time. I've laughed more playing this game than any other game in memory.
Which reminds me - the soundtrack is fantastic, and hilarious, and cringeworthy, all at once. Every radio station is worth listening to for the DJs alone, even if the music isn't to your taste.
And the game... just... keeps... on... going... it's great.
So, the verdict: a billion stars out of ten for me. Great work Rockstar, another amazing game.
I also bought Freedom Force vs The Third Reich and Vice City before leaving, but GTASA has taken up all available gaming time.
I bought a Nintendo DS for the trip home (couldn't find a power adaptor for the cattle-class power plug thingy), and based on Tycho's recommendation I think I'll grab Kirby to go with it. Anything else good on DS?
One word: Skydiving
I have no clue why that part of San Andreas facinates me but I could literally do that for hours. You could even do it from the beginning of the game.
There's a roof in downtown that has a parachute. You get to it by going in the door at the bottom (look for a lot with a circle and square/rectangle connecting each other). Get the chute, go back to the beginning of the game and go to the San Andreas airport. To the right of the gate you can get on top of a car and hop over the fence. You can take the dodo to the runway and then use the jet (my favorite plane). Take that up circling upwards (quickest way to climb) until you reach the invisible ceiling. Jump out and control your decent and then pull the chute at the last second.
I could literally do that all day rather than play the game. The only downside to that trick is the chute at the building doesn't respawn for a good bit of time but later in the game when you have the airport, any time you jump from a plane you have a chute. That and 2 player make this the best GTA game. Everything else to me is just fluff.
On a side note I'm glad to know that when I upgrade my PC to 64-bit it'll be supported in Battlefield 2 (the reason I plan to upgrade, no machine can play it and the Xbox demo I have is only valid on Xbox live which I don't have :(). I'm jealous and it really sucks.
I have GTA:SA for the PS2 and I was initially very dissapointed with the graphics. I kept trying to adjust colors, brightness, and contrast on the display.
Once I got 'out of the ghetto' I was quite a bit happier. I guess the dull faded look was intentional :) I think that's what makes the GTA series so great - little details like that. It's a great game.
2 player? Ooh!
And thanks for the parachute tip - I've been avoiding going skydiving as I had no idea where a parachute was, but I'll go back and do it again now.
I'm in love with the Area 69 object (don't want to spoil it for anyone that hasn't played that far yet, though I guess the 7 day spoiler period is well and truly over).
There's so much about this game to love. I'm back in Sydney now, and it chugs at 1680x1050 but works well at 1280x1024.... sheeesh.