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The Shadow Ring [Mission series]


Jimmy_Leppard
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Hi Jim. Just finished playing this MP and now I see it needs a really long and thorough review, so here goes. Spoilers ahead...

Spoiler

Pros

- Cool story. Holy sh!t, man! The story in this MP is truly a beauty to behold, really. The storytelling is amazingly different from any other work of Jimmy precisely because of one thing: lack of protagonist-centrism. When you know there's only 1 or 2 main characters, you already know that those who oppose them are all evil and they all will be defeated. This one, however, defies any potential notions of protagonist-centrism by introducing a very morally-gray, Game of Thrones-esque, character-centric plot, where 3 protagonists only serve as the observers of this entire premise and who cannot influence the story more than any other character. They're very limited in their capacity, and more often than not, will have to follow the flow that their bosses have created and figure out ways to stay alive on the fly. This is reflected in the player having even less input in the story than ever before, and in a character-centric story this is good thing, because in a story like this the player needs to be powerless to an extent. Many major events and antagonists' deaths are only shown in cutscenes and that's why you'll feel rather detached to what's going on. You'll be a mere camera flying around and watching all of the characters acting out their vices on their own and thus the perpectives of all sides will be given to you in equal measure without shilling or justifing anyone's actions, and also moving the story in accord with cold logic rather than plot armor or any sort of contrived survival techniques. Even the protagonists die when odds are against them, because it would make sense for them to lose in these circumstances. Now, about the morally-gray. I said the story is Game of Thrones-esque because of that exact reason. All 3 protagonist are introduced doing nasty things on behalf of their bosses (expect Kyle who doesn't even need boss' orders to do violent stuff because he's a psychopath), and their bosses are 3 nasty people who are willing to do terrible things to advance their goals. You know all 3 sides are as bad as one another, you know only one side will prevail, and you don't know who is going to win because they're all on the same level. Hence, the Game of Thrones comparison, but with a touch of Scorsece.

- Cool levels. Basically, outside of cutscenes, the gameplay is made entirely of driving and shooting. Just that. However, these basic things that comprise the GTA gameplay are made somewhat better than usual. The driving sections are less of a headache because the player is guided by markers, and shooting sections are a bit more of a balanced challenge because this time, thank god, Jimmy did not feel compelled to give all enemies 100% accuracy all the time. It's a rather minor improvement, but it still counts. Special mention goes to the Introduction levels which aquiant us with the 3 protagonists and also show their everyday routine, their interactions with their bosses and play a crucial role in differentiating the 3 gangs from one another.

- Cool length. 59 chapters, right? More than I bargained more definitely.

- Cool setpieces. Some new landmarks made their way into San Andreas. I'm beyond happy that this MP heavily emphasizes the use of mods, like interior mods or that big-ass yacht. Oh yeah!!! They really help with the much-needed variety and they also look really, really cool.

- Cool characters. This is a whole new realm of cool characters, especially with unique skins for all of them. The entire cast is introduced to you gradually when 3 different, seemingly unconnected crime organisations are contacted by a certain Tom Rhodes to have a joint meeting in Las Venturas. In that joint meeting, all 12 major characters, representing 4 opposing sides, are present in the same room. That's why it's such an important event in this MP. This is where all of the Shadow Ring members find out about each others' existance and also about an immediate threat to the Ring, a certain someone who backstabbed the Ring and exposed its existance to the Yakuza. Right of the bed, that very implication plants the seeds of conflict between the 4 sides, making lethal confrontation an inevitability. Now, I'd like to give my opinion about my most favorite characters.

1. Martinelli. Of all the villains, this one appeals to me the most for a very simple reason. Because his motives are the most logically understable. I mean, sure, he's a grumpy old jackass who yells at everyone all the time, but at least his situation is bad enough that he has to be like that. After Rhodes' death, his entire business goes downhill since he has no more means to transport his guns to his customers. And to make it worse, Rhodes' son, Jason, is raging on and threating to destroy the entire Shadow Ring in revenge for his father's death and Martinelli has to be the one to try and calm him down, so points for trying. When Jason decides to rat everybody out to the FBI, Martinelli finally snaps and orders Sonny and his team to silence the snitch. After all, what was he supposed to do? His business was already crumbling to pieces, and he had to do whatever it takes to protect it. Then, things go even worse... Not only did the assassination attempt on Jason failed miserably because Sonny's team didn't even get to it, but he also directly leads Jason's bodyguard crew led by Knox into Martinelli's warehouse, compromising Martinelli's already diminished business even further by exposing this place to the cops. Understandably, Martinelly loses his sh!t completely and gives his men a green light on Sonny and his accomplice Bruno. After moving to Los Santos to pursue Villa, Martinelli gets into even more trouble when Sonny and Knox team up in order to attack his safehouse and force him into hiding in various motels around the city. Spending all of his time and resources on unsuccessful attacks on Sonny and Knox, Martinelli eventually depletes of his money and manpower and is forced to leave to Vice City to start his crime family from the scrap. What really sells this character to me is that, of all the bosses, he's the more relatable, if not sympathetic one. He's also smart enough to take a back seat when a war between GDs and the rival gangs starts before finally accepting to retreat from the conflict permanently. That's why he's the only antagonist that actually survives. And I'm actually kinda glad he did.

2. Cross. The reveal of him being the traitor I could predict fairly early on. How? Well, basic deduction. Firstly, both Martinelli and Villa are heavily affected by Rhodes' death and are forced to change their course of action because of that, meanwhile Cross' operations remain completely unscathed because Cross' smuggling crew is a lot more self-reliant. For Martinelli or Villa, killing Rhodes would be the ultimate "bite the hand that feeds you" moment, because neither can sell their product without someone to transport it, which is what Cross used to do. And secondly, both Martinelli and Villa order the death of Jason Rhodes for ratting them out to the FBI, but he doesn't do so. Why? Because his Yakuza pals would do that for him anyways. Thirdly, Double Cross, the clue is in the name. Same with Villa(in), blatant as it gets. Also, this character reminds of his namesake, Edwin Cross, from Notna's Four Leaf Clover. Both Crosses are major antagonists who were disgruntled about their respective bosses' treatment, and therefore decided to Double Cross him to advance their ambition. Pretty curious, I think.

3. Knox. With everyone else betraying each other and fighting only for their own gain, seeing Knox's sincere, undying loyalty for Rhodes family is very refreshing. His entire story arc is about him being a god awfully incompetent bodyguard (Basically like Max Payne 3, but Agent 47's skin) who failed to protect both of his employers (there's the cruel irony in his choice of name) and finding himself in a very forced team-up with a sarcastic jerk Sonny Santoro (Also, I think his surname is a reference to Scorsece's Casino character, Nicky Santoro. Now I know where you get your inspiration, Jimmy!!!), the improntu Butch and Sundance duo. Knox also mentions that Butch and Sundance died, damn foreshadowing. He dedicates all of himself to protecting and later avenging his benefactors, even if he has to do some shady things in the process. He willingly abducts, blackmails and kills in huge numbers in order to accomplish his goal, and he's also an extremely impulsive and short-tempered, but his sheer determination and sense of duty make him into a sort of a noble knight in rusty armor. One of chapter's names - "Noble Savage" perfectly sums up his entire character in just 2 words, and the fact that Jimmy could figure out a way to create a character which embodies these two otherwise contradictory personality traits so naturally and seamlessly is why I think he deserves a special mention in my review.

4. Pearce. The entire story arc with agents Pearce and Kagawa represents exactly how miserable the police is in GTA universe. Aside from providing narration from the authorities' side, these two stooges can't advance the plot in any meaningful way whatsoever, nor can they really give any feasable threat to any one of the 3 gangs. To make FBI even more stupid, they couldn't even provide enough security for a freakin' assassination attempt survivor, who not only almost his life to a sniper shot, but also saw his father die IN THE EXACT SAME FASHION. No wonder Jason was dead man walking from the moment the incompetent FBI and equally incompetent Knox put him under their "care". And, to add an insult to injury, the one chance where Pearce actually gets a chance to be badass and defeat a japanese assassin in a fight, he gets shot in the back by his asian "partner" because yellow trouble apparently. In short, Pearce's entire story is dedicated to showing just how utterly and hopelessly out of his depth he was, and that's really cool! Flock the police!

Cons

- Skins. As much as I appreciate how Jimmy actually went ahead and gave the characters their own unique skins instead of the same old ones, this thing kinda flips on its ass when you realize that they all got taken from different games and... Well, it can be a bit hard to take seriously when you see Max Payne 2 mob guy, Desmond Miles, and freakin' HITMAN like this. Feels like a weird-ass wacky crossover of all things.

- Difficulty. High accuracy is appreciated in closed in spaces because it gives off a tactical shooter vide, but in open areas like the docks it really isn't welcome. And also, EVERY SINGLE NPC ALLY is awful and useless and you have to babysit them all the freakin' time because they always charge into a fight like retarded goats and always die badly.

 

Most and least favorite things

- Most favorite level: The entire Two Headed Monster arc. Given how much of a traitorous bastard Cross is, it feels cathartic to the bone to finally exert vengeance on him, especially when you know from the start that he's the culprit.

- Least favorite level: Divide and Conquer. Everything you would hate: hyper-accurate enemites, time limit, useless allies, etc.

- Most favorite good guy: Well, for a given value of a "good guy", Knox. He's a bit stupid at times, but he's got the spirit.

- Least favorite good guy: Victor. No offence, but compared to the goofy Sonny and psychotic Kyle, he just feels as flat as a wooden plank.

- Most favorite bad guy: Martinelli. He's just got such classic "pissed off italian" appeal and he's somewhat relatable to boot. I was really glad when he exited the story safe and sound.

- Least favorite bad guy: Cross. He's just such a cliched Bond villain who can't help monologuing about not being loved enough or some crap. And he's a completely rotten ässhole in general.

 

As a bonus, I will express my opinion about the ending and the overall theme of this MP.

- Everyone died. Almost everyone. The only 3 surviving characters are Russell (who suffers PTSD after being helpless to save his best friend), Kiara (who's utterly ruined because both her boyfriend and her brother got killed on the same night. Trauma of this magnitude can lead her to commit suicide or turn to drugs or both) and Martinelli (who's pretty much clinically depressed after seeing his business in shambles, failing to kill the two responsible for his humiliation and being forced to retreat with nothing), and neither of them are in a good shape. Normally, people expect the good guys to come out healthy and intact out of a horrifying war zone. This MP, however, does not shy away from showing the realistic ugliness of a global gang war. In real war, there are no winners, only survivors. And those survivors have to bear the physical and psychological scars with them for the rest of their life. The finale is really good at conveying this grim, but also necessary-to-acknowledge message. The only one who gets a "happy ending" is Knox, he successfully deals with 3 men who killed the Rhodes family, and goes out with a smile, knowing that everything went exactly how he planned and that his benefactors are avenged.

@Jimmy_Leppard, I sincerely hope that you will carefully read this long-ass review and respond to the points I made in them. Peace out.

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Jimmy_Leppard
11 hours ago, thermal7 said:

Hi Jim. Just finished playing this MP and now I see it needs a really long and thorough review, so here goes. Spoilers ahead...

  Hide contents

Pros

- Cool story. Holy sh!t, man! The story in this MP is truly a beauty to behold, really. The storytelling is amazingly different from any other work of Jimmy precisely because of one thing: lack of protagonist-centrism. When you know there's only 1 or 2 main characters, you already know that those who oppose them are all evil and they all will be defeated. This one, however, defies any potential notions of protagonist-centrism by introducing a very morally-gray, Game of Thrones-esque, character-centric plot, where 3 protagonists only serve as the observers of this entire premise and who cannot influence the story more than any other character. They're very limited in their capacity, and more often than not, will have to follow the flow that their bosses have created and figure out ways to stay alive on the fly. This is reflected in the player having even less input in the story than ever before, and in a character-centric story this is good thing, because in a story like this the player needs to be powerless to an extent. Many major events and antagonists' deaths are only shown in cutscenes and that's why you'll feel rather detached to what's going on. You'll be a mere camera flying around and watching all of the characters acting out their vices on their own and thus the perpectives of all sides will be given to you in equal measure without shilling or justifing anyone's actions, and also moving the story in accord with cold logic rather than plot armor or any sort of contrived survival techniques. Even the protagonists die when odds are against them, because it would make sense for them to lose in these circumstances. Now, about the morally-gray. I said the story is Game of Thrones-esque because of that exact reason. All 3 protagonist are introduced doing nasty things on behalf of their bosses (expect Kyle who doesn't even need boss' orders to do violent stuff because he's a psychopath), and their bosses are 3 nasty people who are willing to do terrible things to advance their goals. You know all 3 sides are as bad as one another, you know only one side will prevail, and you don't know who is going to win because they're all on the same level. Hence, the Game of Thrones comparison, but with a touch of Scorsece.

- Cool levels. Basically, outside of cutscenes, the gameplay is made entirely of driving and shooting. Just that. However, these basic things that comprise the GTA gameplay are made somewhat better than usual. The driving sections are less of a headache because the player is guided by markers, and shooting sections are a bit more of a balanced challenge because this time, thank god, Jimmy did not feel compelled to give all enemies 100% accuracy all the time. It's a rather minor improvement, but it still counts. Special mention goes to the Introduction levels which aquiant us with the 3 protagonists and also show their everyday routine, their interactions with their bosses and play a crucial role in differentiating the 3 gangs from one another.

- Cool length. 59 chapters, right? More than I bargained more definitely.

- Cool setpieces. Some new landmarks made their way into San Andreas. I'm beyond happy that this MP heavily emphasizes the use of mods, like interior mods or that big-ass yacht. Oh yeah!!! They really help with the much-needed variety and they also look really, really cool.

- Cool characters. This is a whole new realm of cool characters, especially with unique skins for all of them. The entire cast is introduced to you gradually when 3 different, seemingly unconnected crime organisations are contacted by a certain Tom Rhodes to have a joint meeting in Las Venturas. In that joint meeting, all 12 major characters, representing 4 opposing sides, are present in the same room. That's why it's such an important event in this MP. This is where all of the Shadow Ring members find out about each others' existance and also about an immediate threat to the Ring, a certain someone who backstabbed the Ring and exposed its existance to the Yakuza. Right of the bed, that very implication plants the seeds of conflict between the 4 sides, making lethal confrontation an inevitability. Now, I'd like to give my opinion about my most favorite characters.

1. Martinelli. Of all the villains, this one appeals to me the most for a very simple reason. Because his motives are the most logically understable. I mean, sure, he's a grumpy old jackass who yells at everyone all the time, but at least his situation is bad enough that he has to be like that. After Rhodes' death, his entire business goes downhill since he has no more means to transport his guns to his customers. And to make it worse, Rhodes' son, Jason, is raging on and threating to destroy the entire Shadow Ring in revenge for his father's death and Martinelli has to be the one to try and calm him down, so points for trying. When Jason decides to rat everybody out to the FBI, Martinelli finally snaps and orders Sonny and his team to silence the snitch. After all, what was he supposed to do? His business was already crumbling to pieces, and he had to do whatever it takes to protect it. Then, things go even worse... Not only did the assassination attempt on Jason failed miserably because Sonny's team didn't even get to it, but he also directly leads Jason's bodyguard crew led by Knox into Martinelli's warehouse, compromising Martinelli's already diminished business even further by exposing this place to the cops. Understandably, Martinelly loses his sh!t completely and gives his men a green light on Sonny and his accomplice Bruno. After moving to Los Santos to pursue Villa, Martinelli gets into even more trouble when Sonny and Knox team up in order to attack his safehouse and force him into hiding in various motels around the city. Spending all of his time and resources on unsuccessful attacks on Sonny and Knox, Martinelli eventually depletes of his money and manpower and is forced to leave to Vice City to start his crime family from the scrap. What really sells this character to me is that, of all the bosses, he's the more relatable, if not sympathetic one. He's also smart enough to take a back seat when a war between GDs and the rival gangs starts before finally accepting to retreat from the conflict permanently. That's why he's the only antagonist that actually survives. And I'm actually kinda glad he did.

2. Cross. The reveal of him being the traitor I could predict fairly early on. How? Well, basic deduction. Firstly, both Martinelli and Villa are heavily affected by Rhodes' death and are forced to change their course of action because of that, meanwhile Cross' operations remain completely unscathed because Cross' smuggling crew is a lot more self-reliant. For Martinelli or Villa, killing Rhodes would be the ultimate "bite the hand that feeds you" moment, because neither can sell their product without someone to transport it, which is what Cross used to do. And secondly, both Martinelli and Villa order the death of Jason Rhodes for ratting them out to the FBI, but he doesn't do so. Why? Because his Yakuza pals would do that for him anyways. Thirdly, Double Cross, the clue is in the name. Same with Villa(in), blatant as it gets. Also, this character reminds of his namesake, Edwin Cross, from Notna's Four Leaf Clover. Both Crosses are major antagonists who were disgruntled about their respective bosses' treatment, and therefore decided to Double Cross him to advance their ambition. Pretty curious, I think.

3. Knox. With everyone else betraying each other and fighting only for their own gain, seeing Knox's sincere, undying loyalty for Rhodes family is very refreshing. His entire story arc is about him being a god awfully incompetent bodyguard (Basically like Max Payne 3, but Agent 47's skin) who failed to protect both of his employers (there's the cruel irony in his choice of name) and finding himself in a very forced team-up with a sarcastic jerk Sonny Santoro (Also, I think his surname is a reference to Scorsece's Casino character, Nicky Santoro. Now I know where you get your inspiration, Jimmy!!!), the improntu Butch and Sundance duo. Knox also mentions that Butch and Sundance died, damn foreshadowing. He dedicates all of himself to protecting and later avenging his benefactors, even if he has to do some shady things in the process. He willingly abducts, blackmails and kills in huge numbers in order to accomplish his goal, and he's also an extremely impulsive and short-tempered, but his sheer determination and sense of duty make him into a sort of a noble knight in rusty armor. One of chapter's names - "Noble Savage" perfectly sums up his entire character in just 2 words, and the fact that Jimmy could figure out a way to create a character which embodies these two otherwise contradictory personality traits so naturally and seamlessly is why I think he deserves a special mention in my review.

4. Pearce. The entire story arc with agents Pearce and Kagawa represents exactly how miserable the police is in GTA universe. Aside from providing narration from the authorities' side, these two stooges can't advance the plot in any meaningful way whatsoever, nor can they really give any feasable threat to any one of the 3 gangs. To make FBI even more stupid, they couldn't even provide enough security for a freakin' assassination attempt survivor, who not only almost his life to a sniper shot, but also saw his father die IN THE EXACT SAME FASHION. No wonder Jason was dead man walking from the moment the incompetent FBI and equally incompetent Knox put him under their "care". And, to add an insult to injury, the one chance where Pearce actually gets a chance to be badass and defeat a japanese assassin in a fight, he gets shot in the back by his asian "partner" because yellow trouble apparently. In short, Pearce's entire story is dedicated to showing just how utterly and hopelessly out of his depth he was, and that's really cool! Flock the police!

Cons

- Skins. As much as I appreciate how Jimmy actually went ahead and gave the characters their own unique skins instead of the same old ones, this thing kinda flips on its ass when you realize that they all got taken from different games and... Well, it can be a bit hard to take seriously when you see Max Payne 2 mob guy, Desmond Miles, and freakin' HITMAN like this. Feels like a weird-ass wacky crossover of all things.

- Difficulty. High accuracy is appreciated in closed in spaces because it gives off a tactical shooter vide, but in open areas like the docks it really isn't welcome. And also, EVERY SINGLE NPC ALLY is awful and useless and you have to babysit them all the freakin' time because they always charge into a fight like retarded goats and always die badly.

 

Most and least favorite things

- Most favorite level: The entire Two Headed Monster arc. Given how much of a traitorous bastard Cross is, it feels cathartic to the bone to finally exert vengeance on him, especially when you know from the start that he's the culprit.

- Least favorite level: Divide and Conquer. Everything you would hate: hyper-accurate enemites, time limit, useless allies, etc.

- Most favorite good guy: Well, for a given value of a "good guy", Knox. He's a bit stupid at times, but he's got the spirit.

- Least favorite good guy: Victor. No offence, but compared to the goofy Sonny and psychotic Kyle, he just feels as flat as a wooden plank.

- Most favorite bad guy: Martinelli. He's just got such classic "pissed off italian" appeal and he's somewhat relatable to boot. I was really glad when he exited the story safe and sound.

- Least favorite bad guy: Cross. He's just such a cliched Bond villain who can't help monologuing about not being loved enough or some crap. And he's a completely rotten ässhole in general.

 

As a bonus, I will express my opinion about the ending and the overall theme of this MP.

- Everyone died. Almost everyone. The only 3 surviving characters are Russell (who suffers PTSD after being helpless to save his best friend), Kiara (who's utterly ruined because both her boyfriend and her brother got killed on the same night. Trauma of this magnitude can lead her to commit suicide or turn to drugs or both) and Martinelli (who's pretty much clinically depressed after seeing his business in shambles, failing to kill the two responsible for his humiliation and being forced to retreat with nothing), and neither of them are in a good shape. Normally, people expect the good guys to come out healthy and intact out of a horrifying war zone. This MP, however, does not shy away from showing the realistic ugliness of a global gang war. In real war, there are no winners, only survivors. And those survivors have to bear the physical and psychological scars with them for the rest of their life. The finale is really good at conveying this grim, but also necessary-to-acknowledge message. The only one who gets a "happy ending" is Knox, he successfully deals with 3 men who killed the Rhodes family, and goes out with a smile, knowing that everything went exactly how he planned and that his benefactors are avenged.

@Jimmy_Leppard, I sincerely hope that you will carefully read this long-ass review and respond to the points I made in them. Peace out.

Damn dude. I thought it would be hard to beat that ''Edge of High Life'' review you left not long ago, but boy, was I terribly mistaken! 😀 You blew me away with this review even more so than with the EoHL one. It was jaw-dropping to read some of the stuff that you got absolutely right on the money! Fantastic. So many things to address here, so here goes:

 

 

First of all, I'm really glad you picked up on the story focus change. It was a gamble for sure and just like I said before, it's the thing that's gonna make or break this mission pack. Fortunately, in your case, it made it and I'm very happy that you enjoyed it this much! And one of the things you got right on the money was this - ''3 protagonists only serve as the observers of this entire premise and who cannot influence the story more than any other character.''. Perfectly said. It was exactly what I wanted to do. Now, I've never watched Game of Thrones, but I really appreciate the comparison for sure! Not to mention the Scorsese comparison. Thanks a lot man. He's absolutely awesome. 😃 I'm also glad you liked the missions from a technical standpoint (the newly introduced mods too). I laughed when I read the thing about 100% accuracy 😀  Good to know I didn't go overboard this time 😃

As far as the characters go, I was really surprised that you liked Martinelli so much, but I was positively surprised because of your deep assessment of him as a character. Another one of those things you got right on the money! I'm happy you managed to see deeper, beyond just his rigidness and swearing. Essentially, he's this proactive guy who has been forced into a situation which pretty much renders his proactiveness useless. That's where all his frustration comes from - and understandably so because none of it is his own fault. Hence all the choices he's made along the way. He's a tragic characeter for sure and while similar to the other 2 bosses in some ways, he's also a lot different from them in many ways. I'm really glad you noticed that.

Now, your assessment of both Cross and Villa was absolutely amazing. (Double)Cross and Villa(in) are precisely the reasons why I chose those names for them. Are you in my head? 😃 It was just kinda my subtle way of foreshadowing things. I'm really impressed how you picked up on that too. Also, good job on recognizing the traitor outside the foreshadowing clues. To me, it was the most logical thing to do. And you explained it yourself perfectly with the ''...hand that feeds you'' quote. That's exactly what it is. I mean, sure, I could've easily made someone else the traitor, but for that reason alone, it wouldn't have made much sense.

I'm very happy you pointed out Knox. He and Sonny are my personal favorite characters in this mission pack. I had a lot of fun creating them. Also, yes, the idea for Sonny's last name was taken from the very character you mentioned. 😃 Knox was embodiment of loyalty in the story where loyalty is in short supply. While he may be the ruthless guy  he does indeed have heart and an unparalled will - hence why the ''noble savage'' mark. I'm very happy you picked up on that too. He's probably the most tragic character of this mission pack. His past is far from something to be proud of and even though he did overcome it, he got run over by his present in the worst way - having the only two glows of light in his rather dark life (being Tom and Jason Rhodes) taken away from him in such swift ways with him being right there basically.

When it comes to Pearce, you also said it perfectly. Yes, Kagawa was somewhat keeping him out of the loop intentionally, but still, whether being FBI or local police, it's really hard to get in-step with something so deeply connected and secretive like ''The Shadow Ring''.organization. In real life, the law enforcement wants to paint this picture that it's easy to get caught by them and that they do their job of keeping the ''bad guys'' off the streets almost with ease so that the people can feel ''safe'' and ''protected'', but in reality, it's not really like that. It's a delicate thing to break through to the very core of something secretive. Very often, the law enforcement or anyone else snooping around will find themselves 5 steps behind whatever is going on. The way it works with the big time criminals is that they are able to create the circumstances where, even if you catch the string and follow the leads, by the time you get to the end of the string, there will be nothing there. And then you can either look for another string or quit. It's not called a cat and mouse game for no reason. And the law enforcement is not some all powerful being who sees all and knows all. So yeah, Pearce was definitely in way over his head.

The cons paragraph really made me laugh because it's so true. 😃 What's really funny to me is the fact that I actually didn't know some of the skins were actually the characters from other games. Obviously, I knew Hitman skin, but that's about it. Someone else in this topic mentioned that one of the skins was a guy from Assassin's Creed I think. I've never played it, so to me, it was just a cool looking skin. So I understand why it might be off-putting for some. Sorry about that 😃 Also, the inevitable NPC bashing which never gets old. ''Retarded goats'' - that was hilarious and unfortunately very true. It is what it is. 😃

I was surprised you chose the 4-part Two Headed Monster mission as your favorite mission, but I wasn't surprised you chose the ''Divide and Conquer'' mission as your least favorite. I think that's the hardest mission of the mission pack. I'm very happy Knox is your favorite ''good guy''. He deserves it 😃 Same with his counterpart Martinelli. It was kinda funny to read about Victor since his personality is a lot less expressive and more quiet than the other two guys. He's a phlegmatic dude.

 

And lastly, a very nice review of the ending. It's true. All the survivors definitely have a huge load to bear. Sometimes staying alive is a curse. That's why you hear so many soldiers feeling heartbroken after surviving the war - because their friends didn't. All in all, thank you for this awesome review. You definitely outdid yourself with this one! 😃 I'm glad you enjoyed it. Cheers!

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2 hours ago, Jimmy_Leppard said:

Damn dude. I thought it would be hard to beat that ''Edge of High Life'' review you left not long ago, but boy, was I terribly mistaken! 😀 You blew me away with this review even more so than with the EoHL one. It was jaw-dropping to read some of the stuff that you got absolutely right on the money! Fantastic. So many things to address here, so here goes:

 

  Hide contents

First of all, I'm really glad you picked up on the story focus change. It was a gamble for sure and just like I said before, it's the thing that's gonna make or break this mission pack. Fortunately, in your case, it made it and I'm very happy that you enjoyed it this much! And one of the things you got right on the money was this - ''3 protagonists only serve as the observers of this entire premise and who cannot influence the story more than any other character.''. Perfectly said. It was exactly what I wanted to do. Now, I've never watched Game of Thrones, but I really appreciate the comparison for sure! Not to mention the Scorsese comparison. Thanks a lot man. He's absolutely awesome. 😃 I'm also glad you liked the missions from a technical standpoint (the newly introduced mods too). I laughed when I read the thing about 100% accuracy 😀  Good to know I didn't go overboard this time 😃

As far as the characters go, I was really surprised that you liked Martinelli so much, but I was positively surprised because of your deep assessment of him as a character. Another one of those things you got right on the money! I'm happy you managed to see deeper, beyond just his rigidness and swearing. Essentially, he's this proactive guy who has been forced into a situation which pretty much renders his proactiveness useless. That's where all his frustration comes from - and understandably so because none of it is his own fault. Hence all the choices he's made along the way. He's a tragic characeter for sure and while similar to the other 2 bosses in some ways, he's also a lot different from them in many ways. I'm really glad you noticed that.

Now, your assessment of both Cross and Villa was absolutely amazing. (Double)Cross and Villa(in) are precisely the reasons why I chose those names for them. Are you in my head? 😃 It was just kinda my subtle way of foreshadowing things. I'm really impressed how you picked up on that too. Also, good job on recognizing the traitor outside the foreshadowing clues. To me, it was the most logical thing to do. And you explained it yourself perfectly with the ''...hand that feeds you'' quote. That's exactly what it is. I mean, sure, I could've easily made someone else the traitor, but for that reason alone, it wouldn't have made much sense.

I'm very happy you pointed out Knox. He and Sonny are my personal favorite characters in this mission pack. I had a lot of fun creating them. Also, yes, the idea for Sonny's last name was taken from the very character you mentioned. 😃 Knox was embodiment of loyalty in the story where loyalty is in short supply. While he may be the ruthless guy  he does indeed have heart and an unparalled will - hence why the ''noble savage'' mark. I'm very happy you picked up on that too. He's probably the most tragic character of this mission pack. His past is far from something to be proud of and even though he did overcome it, he got run over by his present in the worst way - having the only two glows of light in his rather dark life (being Tom and Jason Rhodes) taken away from him in such swift ways with him being right there basically.

When it comes to Pearce, you also said it perfectly. Yes, Kagawa was somewhat keeping him out of the loop intentionally, but still, whether being FBI or local police, it's really hard to get in-step with something so deeply connected and secretive like ''The Shadow Ring''.organization. In real life, the law enforcement wants to paint this picture that it's easy to get caught by them and that they do their job of keeping the ''bad guys'' off the streets almost with ease so that the people can feel ''safe'' and ''protected'', but in reality, it's not really like that. It's a delicate thing to break through to the very core of something secretive. Very often, the law enforcement or anyone else snooping around will find themselves 5 steps behind whatever is going on. The way it works with the big time criminals is that they are able to create the circumstances where, even if you catch the string and follow the leads, by the time you get to the end of the string, there will be nothing there. And then you can either look for another string or quit. It's not called a cat and mouse game for no reason. And the law enforcement is not some all powerful being who sees all and knows all. So yeah, Pearce was definitely in way over his head.

The cons paragraph really made me laugh because it's so true. 😃 What's really funny to me is the fact that I actually didn't know some of the skins were actually the characters from other games. Obviously, I knew Hitman skin, but that's about it. Someone else in this topic mentioned that one of the skins was a guy from Assassin's Creed I think. I've never played it, so to me, it was just a cool looking skin. So I understand why it might be off-putting for some. Sorry about that 😃 Also, the inevitable NPC bashing which never gets old. ''Retarded goats'' - that was hilarious and unfortunately very true. It is what it is. 😃

I was surprised you chose the 4-part Two Headed Monster mission as your favorite mission, but I wasn't surprised you chose the ''Divide and Conquer'' mission as your least favorite. I think that's the hardest mission of the mission pack. I'm very happy Knox is your favorite ''good guy''. He deserves it 😃 Same with his counterpart Martinelli. It was kinda funny to read about Victor since his personality is a lot less expressive and more quiet than the other two guys. He's a phlegmatic dude.

 

And lastly, a very nice review of the ending. It's true. All the survivors definitely have a huge load to bear. Sometimes staying alive is a curse. That's why you hear so many soldiers feeling heartbroken after surviving the war - because their friends didn't. All in all, thank you for this awesome review. You definitely outdid yourself with this one! 😃 I'm glad you enjoyed it. Cheers!

Thanks for the response! I'm currently preparing a review of The Invisible System, a lot of cool things to talk about there.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/14/2020 at 8:05 PM, SatournFan said:

Holy sh*t this looks incredible already. I'll be sure to play this in the coming days.

well, the "coming days" have finally come I guess.

 

This is a tough project to review because I've been away from DYOM for quite some time now and therefore lost all my writing prowess so I'll try to make it quick and concise. 'The Shadow Ring' is a good mission pack for people who like Jimmy_Leppard's works. It is otherwise a pretty mediocre project with an awful, overwritten script, bland characters with little to no personality, the usual 'story over gameplay' approach except this time the gameplay is downright laughable - you either follow a time limit or exterminate hundreds of hostile actors with high accuracy and health. It gets boring and tedious real fast, especially once the difficulty is really ramped up in the final two chapters.

 

What I did like is your handling of your own story. You did a great job juggling the intertwining and overarching plotlines and character arcs, and it's quite interesting to follow. But that really is the only positive thing I can say about 'The Shadow Ring'. If anything, I would call it a 'btec Platinum Circle'.

 

So that's really it. I guess I've finally grown out of your style, but after playing all 20+ projects of yours I can't say it's an unexpected change of heart for me.

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9 hours ago, SatournFan said:

well, the "coming days" have finally come I guess.

 

This is a tough project to review because I've been away from DYOM for quite some time now and therefore lost all my writing prowess so I'll try to make it quick and concise. 'The Shadow Ring' is a good mission pack for people who like Jimmy_Leppard's works. It is otherwise a pretty mediocre project with an awful, overwritten script, bland characters with little to no personality, the usual 'story over gameplay' approach except this time the gameplay is downright laughable - you either follow a time limit or exterminate hundreds of hostile actors with high accuracy and health. It gets boring and tedious real fast, especially once the difficulty is really ramped up in the final two chapters.

 

What I did like is your handling of your own story. You did a great job juggling the intertwining and overarching plotlines and character arcs, and it's quite interesting to follow. But that really is the only positive thing I can say about 'The Shadow Ring'. If anything, I would call it a 'btec Platinum Circle'.

 

So that's really it. I guess I've finally grown out of your style, but after playing all 20+ projects of yours I can't say it's an unexpected change of heart for me.

Hey man! Good to hear from you after a while. It's certainly not the result I was hoping to get from you, but it is what it is. I'm sorry you feel that way. I guess it's like you said - your taste has changed and therefore, your reaction is not surprising. Having said that, I respect your opinion, of course. Cheers!

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  • 1 month later...

muchas gracias de verdad, todas las partes de la misión son geniales, los interiores

y los diseños de piel son increíbles. mi pc es de gama baja y todavía funciona muy bien. ¡Muy buen trabajo!

Thank you very much indeed, all the parts of the mission are great, the interiors 
and the designs of the skins are incredible. my pc is low-end 
and it still works great. very good work!
Edited by Pepe Panda
mistake
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1 hour ago, Pepe Panda said:

muchas gracias de verdad, todas las partes de la misión son geniales, los interiores

y los diseños de piel son increíbles. mi pc es de gama baja y todavía funciona muy bien. ¡Muy buen trabajo!

Thank you very much indeed, all the parts of the mission are great, the interiors 
and the designs of the skins are incredible. my pc is low-end 
and it still works great. very good work!

Thank you for your comment! I'm glad everything worked for you and that you liked the mission pack! 😃

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  • 2 months later...
Jimmy_Leppard
4 hours ago, leoncj said:

@Jimmy_Leppard - want to let you know that the series on youtube is back ;)

Dude, you got your channel back? That's awesome! 😃 Thanks for letting me know, will be checking it out for sure!

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  • 4 weeks later...

no mames what an incredible story those mods are great I congratulate you although the end I did not like so much but hey this surpasses the stories of leoncj Ghost Ship: REMASTERED - COMPLETE hahahahahaha without onfender I hope in the future make another stories like this greetings

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13 hours ago, ZERO34 said:

no mames what an incredible story those mods are great I congratulate you although the end I did not like so much but hey this surpasses the stories of leoncj Ghost Ship: REMASTERED - COMPLETE hahahahahaha without onfender I hope in the future make another stories like this greetings

Thanks a lot, glad you liked the mission pack! 😀

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  • 1 month later...

Awesome man. Seriously, You outdid yourself this time.
Fantastic missions and I hope you do the same or even better in the future. :)

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On 6/27/2021 at 10:11 AM, MassM said:

Awesome man. Seriously, You outdid yourself this time.
Fantastic missions and I hope you do the same or even better in the future. :)

Thanks for the support, man! I'm glad you had fun playing the missions 😀

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  • 1 month later...

bro its not working for me after i copied all mods it stops working at loading screen itself AfterI delete the mods and cleo and ASI it my game works fine but I cant play missions .so please help i am dying to play it i love your missions so please help

bro its not working for me after i copied all mods it stops working at loading screen itself AfterI delete the mods and cleo and ASI it my game works fine but I cant play missions .so please help i am dying to play it i love your missions so please help

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:38 AM, awakened01 said:

bro its not working for me after i copied all mods it stops working at loading screen itself AfterI delete the mods and cleo and ASI it my game works fine but I cant play missions .so please help i am dying to play it i love your missions so please help

bro its not working for me after i copied all mods it stops working at loading screen itself AfterI delete the mods and cleo and ASI it my game works fine but I cant play missions .so please help i am dying to play it i love your missions so please help

Sorry man. I provided the in-depth instructions on how to install the mods. If the game crashes for you, then it means the mods are just too much for your game to handle and it's out of my hands at that point. ☹️

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bro can you give me the  instruction link please 

 

ok man but you are awesome and i have played all the missions of yours the are just incredible keep doing man

 

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bro I have tried copying mod folder files it works fine 

i will rate it after i complete

 

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Hi Jimmy, I hope this MP was in Spanish since I'm from Colombia and my English is not that good.

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On 8/1/2021 at 3:08 PM, ZERO34 said:

Hi Jimmy, I hope this MP was in Spanish since I'm from Colombia and my English is not that good.

Unfortunately, it's in English as I barely know a few words of Spanish. You can always use a translator until you improve your English skills, I guess 😀

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  • 2 weeks later...

hello jimmy i'm already learning english hahahaha by the way this package of missions did you think of gta v or any other game?

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...
Jimmy_Leppard

No new mission packs from me, indeed. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about it though. I won't say it's impossible, but it's next to impossible.

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  • 4 months later...
Jimmy_Leppard
21 hours ago, Detonario said:

Looks fresh! 🔥

Thanks a lot, buddy! :)

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  • 2 months later...

Review (contains spoilers)

Spoiler

A friend recommended me to play this and I gotta say that I didn't regret playing through it all. I say this because I never had any interest to play DYOM MPs that much, but I decided to give this a shot anyway.

Besides the few downsides, this story is amazing. I bet this wasn't easy to pull off, because you had to control the story of 3 protagonists, not just 1 (which would lead to their deaths anyway). Each character had a crucial role in the story and I like that. With all the situations that were going on with each of the protagonists (which happened simultaneously), you managed to connect them perfectly.

Speaking of the story, I've got only one complaint during the last mission. I don't get Russell's sniper being jammed during the whole part. That is the only reason why it led to the plan completely falling apart which would then lead to a non-interesting ending, which is kinda dissapointing and stupid. The sniper is jammed during the part where Hector and Victor get into the yacht, that I do dig it, but it being jammed during the whole shootout so Russell can just stay there and be almost helpless? Not really. Russell could've easily "un-jammed" it. Besides the deaths of the other protagonists, I don't believe Kyle's death was well executed.

Off to another matter. While I did say the story is astonishing (for the most part), I can't say the same thing about the gameplay, it's more of the opposite. That's because you've given most of the enemies ridiculous amounts of HP. I'm not saying it made the gameplay harder, but painfully longer and frustrating. You could've (generally) went with 250 hp for the enemies, even 500 would've been a good balance if you had a powerful firearm like the combat shotgun for instance. However, 1000 hp and above for normal enemies is never good and at that point you're only attempting to make the gameplay more annoying for most people like me. Another annoying part is the frequent use of timelimits. In almost every mission, your only way to make the gameplay more "engageable" outside the cutscenes would've been the use of timelimits which is an issue. You gotta look for ways to change to course of the gameplay through other means like drive-by, chase and kill, stealth etc.

MP like this with a lot of chapters definitely deserved some sound effects and music for the SD, but for some reason you never focused on that. Instead, you had put text like "(car door closing sound)" and let us imagine how that sounds like or make those sounds ourselves which is sorta cringe. I suggest you to stop doing that in future MPs and instead look for the right sound effects and music to improve the experience a lot better.

And finally, the goofy part of this MP is the choice of the skins used. I never like high quality skins like Knox's, Victor's and so on because they don't fit well in a low polished game like SA. I never understood why others are ok with it. Ped skins like Sonny's fit right in, though. So next time try to avoid the skins I mentioned. Perhaps you can just ask certain guys like M316 to make the skins for you (he's active in the discord server).

Overall: Good story but you need to work A LOT more in some other aspects.

 

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18 hours ago, Robert17 said:

Review (contains spoilers)

  Reveal hidden contents

A friend recommended me to play this and I gotta say that I didn't regret playing through it all. I say this because I never had any interest to play DYOM MPs that much, but I decided to give this a shot anyway.

Besides the few downsides, this story is amazing. I bet this wasn't easy to pull off, because you had to control the story of 3 protagonists, not just 1 (which would lead to their deaths anyway). Each character had a crucial role in the story and I like that. With all the situations that were going on with each of the protagonists (which happened simultaneously), you managed to connect them perfectly.

Speaking of the story, I've got only one complaint during the last mission. I don't get Russell's sniper being jammed during the whole part. That is the only reason why it led to the plan completely falling apart which would then lead to a non-interesting ending, which is kinda dissapointing and stupid. The sniper is jammed during the part where Hector and Victor get into the yacht, that I do dig it, but it being jammed during the whole shootout so Russell can just stay there and be almost helpless? Not really. Russell could've easily "un-jammed" it. Besides the deaths of the other protagonists, I don't believe Kyle's death was well executed.

Off to another matter. While I did say the story is astonishing (for the most part), I can't say the same thing about the gameplay, it's more of the opposite. That's because you've given most of the enemies ridiculous amounts of HP. I'm not saying it made the gameplay harder, but painfully longer and frustrating. You could've (generally) went with 250 hp for the enemies, even 500 would've been a good balance if you had a powerful firearm like the combat shotgun for instance. However, 1000 hp and above for normal enemies is never good and at that point you're only attempting to make the gameplay more annoying for most people like me. Another annoying part is the frequent use of timelimits. In almost every mission, your only way to make the gameplay more "engageable" outside the cutscenes would've been the use of timelimits which is an issue. You gotta look for ways to change to course of the gameplay through other means like drive-by, chase and kill, stealth etc.

MP like this with a lot of chapters definitely deserved some sound effects and music for the SD, but for some reason you never focused on that. Instead, you had put text like "(car door closing sound)" and let us imagine how that sounds like or make those sounds ourselves which is sorta cringe. I suggest you to stop doing that in future MPs and instead look for the right sound effects and music to improve the experience a lot better.

And finally, the goofy part of this MP is the choice of the skins used. I never like high quality skins like Knox's, Victor's and so on because they don't fit well in a low polished game like SA. I never understood why others are ok with it. Ped skins like Sonny's fit right in, though. So next time try to avoid the skins I mentioned. Perhaps you can just ask certain guys like M316 to make the skins for you (he's active in the discord server).

Overall: Good story but you need to work A LOT more in some other aspects.

 

Thanks a lot on the detailed review, bud. 😃

 

As far as your opinion on the downsides goes, I respect your preferences when it comes to some of the stuff like sound effects. Due to the limited time I have to design the missions etc., I've always only focused on the thing that matters most and that's the story because that either makes or breaks the mission pack for most people. I don't really think sound effects are necessary, even more so because it takes away time from other stuff with not that much of a reward. To me, that's like giving a car a paintjob or a cabin makeover instead of taking that time to focus on making sure it runs as smoothly and as efficiently as possible because that's what it's for. But that's my opinion. It is what it is.

 

What did surprise me was the fact that you don't like high quality peds. I assume you didn't like the high quality interiors either. I think you're the first one I've seen who thinks that way. I'm the complete opposite. I absolutely love the high quality stuff for the game 😃

 

The gameplay part, you should probably play some of my other stuff in that regard. I've said it many times to other people too that I don't use DYOM features just because I can. I only use those that the story needs and when it needs them. The Shadow Ring is primarily a run-n-gun type of a story, so over the top gunfights were the bread and butter of it. I wanted it to be that way (and I also like tough enemies that don't go down easily, but that's just me 😃). The time limits are there because of one reason - the urgency of the situation in which it is present. GTA SA mechanics are not really that great the way they are in terms of that and time limit at least closes the gap. 

 

All in all, I'm glad you liked the mission pack overall! Cheers.

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40 minutes ago, Jimmy_Leppard said:

Due to the limited time I have to design the missions etc., I've always only focused on the thing that matters most and that's the story because that either makes or breaks the mission pack for most people.

As much as I understand your only focus is the story, other parts of a mission pack are crucial as well. There's this majority of people that prefer cutscene only missions and those that prefer gameplay more (some of that majority also get bored over watching cutscene only missions). To make up for both sides, try to balance the usage of cutscenes and objectives which involve gameplay so that you can make up for both majority of people (keeping in mind my own suggestions about gameplay as well). And trust me when I say the SD is the final cherry on top (that includes sound effects and music). Music is what completely changes the atmosphere and mood in a storyline. It doesn't take long to add sound effects as well because it's much better than just putting text that is describing the sound effect. You might think that's a waste of time but it won't hurt to improve the MP in any way, shape or form you can before publishing it. Masterpieces usually take long to make.

Anyway, I noticed that you forgot to talk about my complaint about the ending.

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19 minutes ago, Robert17 said:

I noticed that you forgot to talk about my complaint about the ending.

It's not that, I said I was glad you liked the mission pack overall and that's what's always the end goal for me. I know I can't make everyone happy and it's pointless to try. I dare say it has the opposite effect on the project. I always tell the story I want to tell and I'm always 100% behind it whether somebody likes it or not. Of course I feel bad if someone plays my mission pack and doesn't feel like the time was worth spending, but at that point, it's out of my hands. I've had discussions with people many times and the best thing is to agree to disagree.

 

I've done a quick research on the gun jamming topic while writing the story and from my understanding, some jams can be easy to fix while others can't. Plus, you have to have in mind that Russell isn't a weapons expert. He can handle them, but doesn't necessarily have the knowledge to also fix them, so that's also a nice little way of looking at it if you want 😃 But primarily, the idea was that the jam wasn't fixable on the spot and thus, without a boat on hand, Russell was unwillingly physically cut off from the action.

 

 

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