I meant to write this yesterday, but kind of got sidetracked. Pesky work. Tsk.
The last couple of evenings, I've been playing GTA III, and now I really can't for the life of me remember why I stopped playing it. (Okay, that's not true - I was too busy playing Bridge Commander) I installed the patch last night, making the frame rate a little less sticky, and it's an absolute joy to play, even if the failings I mentioned earlier in my blog with the total freedom still hold true.
The driving physics are superlative - if a little twitchy when played on a keyboard, I'm seriously tempted to get an analogue pad to help with the steering - you can really feel the differences in the way the cars handle. The Stallion is so tail-happy it's untrue (and practically uncontrollable at speed), the Banshee is all point and squirt, the most responsive car in the game so far (still only in Portland), the Ambulance has a very high centre of gravity, and has the nasty tendency to roll at the slightest opportunity and the Mafia Sentinel is fast, stable and tough, probably my favourite so far. I'm finally getting to grips with doing handbrake turns around corners at speed, and I'm actually finding it easier to do with the larger vehicles, particularly the Linerunner truck and the Ambulance, as you don't need to correct the back end so much. I could seriously just spend hours driving cars around the city, enjoying the physics, the handling model is so good.
As for the actual game, I've worked my way through the Joey and Luigi missions, and I'm starting on the Tony missions, but I can't get anywhere with the Turismo mission to start working for El Burro - even with a gregariously handling Mafia Sentinel or a Banshee I just keep hitting other cars and being put into spins. I even tried it with a Patriot to muscle out the other cars at the first corner, and did really well, until I realised all the pushing and shoving had made me miss the first checkpoint. D'oh! I might end up just skipping the El Burro missions entirely, concentrate on the Story Missions, and get back to them later in another game. The verdict: So far, so good - but I'll probably end up getting distracted and wander off to play something else in the next week or so. I always do.