Bought Resident Evil 4. Which brings me to five major console games I have yet to boot. No time for love, Dr. Jones.
Not that I needed RE4, but I had good reasons. #1) $50 gift certificate to the mall, which is what passes for the office holiday bonus these days. #2) buying RE4 at EB comes with a free Making of Resident Evil 4 DVD. So really, there was no cost at all, except that I threw in the San Andreas soundtrack CD set as well.
The San Andreas soundtrack album is awful. Unlike Vice City, you don't get every single song in the game, or even nearly every single song. The San Andreas soundtrack is a 2 CD set, totalling about two songs per in-game radio station. And since the game's radio stations cover such a wide range of musical tastes, you're guaranteed to absolutely hate half the songs in this set. No L7's "Pretend We're Dead," no En Vogue's "My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It)," not even Rod Stewart's career-defining magnum opus "Young Turks," a song so terrible it's actually good. Instead you get that 7 minute James Brown song that refuses to end and the embarrassingly juvenile angst anthem "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine.
And there's not a single DJ segment or fake commercial. I want that Glory Hole ad on my iPod!
But what makes the soundtrack a GTA necessity is a packed-in bonus DVD, containing a 20 minute prequel movie. So since less than a quarter of the songs actually ended up in my iTunes, I'd say I spent that $20 on the DVD. About $1 per minute.
Great stuff for the completist. It's a series of loosely connected vignettes concerning the characters' lives immediately before the game starts... so you get to see some events only alluded to in the game proper, as well as some foreshadowing (and minor spoiling) of stuff that happens to you later on. And some great shots of CJ driving around Liberty City, like the Red Light Distract and other locations I immediately recognized even though it's been three years since I played GTA3.
As for the Making of Resident Evil 4 DVD, it's also a cool little bonus. Interviews with the creators, lots of game footage... but more documentary styled than hype machine. Instead of all the typical "YOU MUST BUY THIS GAME" hardsell, the pushiest the video gets is when the director offers his humble wishes that you will enjoy the game. By now I've seen quite a few of these "Behind the Scenes" sort of interviews, and I love the way the Japanese talk about their creations. While American developers are always seen gushing about their games being cool and exciting and full of explosions, the Japanese almost always talk quietly about their interest in detailing, immersion, and their sincere hope that gamers will understand and appreciate the art form their game represents... even if their game contains just as many explosions as a Western-designed game. You can see why our respective cultures treat video games so differently... the Americans simply haven't learned how to talk about video games without sounding like a sugared-up 14 year old.
After watching both of these DVDs, the thought occurred that this is what G4 should aspire to. Well-produced documentaries such as these would go a long way towards salvaging the cable channel's galling reputation. Gamers are eager for competent, in-depth looks at their favorite games, creators and companies. Hell, maybe they do run things like this sometimes... but every time I turn it on, it's some faux hipster in a gameskins t-shirt smacktalking his way through a "review" with more or less the equivalent intelligence level of your average bulletin board forum. Just without the smileys and mile-long sig graphics that either say "NINTENDO SUX" or "NINTENDO ROX."
The free OPM monthly demo disk has better content than most weeks of G4, except for the rare instance where the disk tries to wipe your memory card.