Customer Review

96 of 123 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know... I just don't know., 30 April 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
The most eagerly awaited game ever? Well it's certainly up there in the top five, rubbing shoulders with the Master Chief which ever way you cut it.

Does it look amazing? Yes of course it does. More gritty and less cartoonish than it's predecessors, detail aplenty, pop-up and draw-distance problems controlled if not entirely removed, cars that look as good as a racing game, characters that look as good as a third person action game. It's all here.

It looks and feels fantastic, but...

If you've been there since the beginning there is just a tiny nagging feeling that past all the glitz and glamour, beneath all the media hype it isn't really that much of an advancement from GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas.

You see, when GTA III came along it replaced a crude but addictive top-down scroller. It took that world and used the newly minted PS2 to blast it into full 3D, defining that platform and ushering in the era of the sandbox game.

As I stare at GTA IV in 36 inches of HDMI beauty I simply don't feel quite as excited as I did when I hit the streets of Liberty City the first time. There's a tiny voice inside me that keeps saying that all the glowing reviews in the mainstream media are only written because those reviewers weren't there to see how incredible it was when the series first went 3D. Struggling to come to terms with a form of media that they neither understand nor respect, they are only written because they feel they are expected to crow about how great it is.

I try to put my finger on what exactly has disappointed me but it isn't easy. Perhaps it was the fact that Saints Row really made a feature of the car modifying thing, that San Andreas gave you a whole county to explore, perhaps I just like the playlist less this time or perhaps its just one sandbox too many?

Don't get me wrong, this still beats most games by a country mile. The voice acting is beyond reproach, as are the character models, the level design, the cell phone system. In short, it oozes quality from every pore and yet remains a bizarrely muted experience.

Of course you'll buy it. Everyone will. But twenty years from now, will we talk most fondly about this one? Or will it be one of the previous three?
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Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 May 2008 07:58:35 BDT
Harry Carr says:
I don't understand what you actually expect from the game, if this is your criticism of it. Are you saying it had to be as revolutionary as a switch to 3D? Because if you are, that's an unfair criticism. Of course nothing can be as revolutionary as a dimension shift. And it being 'The same GTA' is also a curious criticism as well - this IS a Grand Theft Auto game. Do you want it to be something different?

I look at it this way - Mario 64 was the revolutionary game in the series, but Mario Galaxy is every bit as good as Mario 64 was. And what's changed? Not much. Not much has to change when a formula works so well.

Posted on 11 May 2008 00:17:37 BDT
F. Lowes says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2008 14:53:21 BDT
Trigger says:
I agree in ways with both the review and Harry Carr's post. The thing is, I think many people expect too much from this generation - physics were largely mastered last-gen and large and intricate gameworlds have long since been achieved, so I think the only real advancements left to make are in the graphics and in the little details.

I mean, sure, better graphics can help immerse you better than ever before, and the option to do stuff like watch telly is great, but ultimately I think we're beyond true advancements like stepping into GTA3's gameworld, or getting Half Life 2's Gravity Gun for the first time, and I think that anyone who expects this sort of thing is going to be really quite dissapointed.

Posted on 23 May 2008 22:59:45 BDT
I agree with the OP. This game has disappointed me (slightly) and not because of the hype (I actually read the early previews and thought it was going to be awful). I think it's just a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Most people were happy with GTA3 and we just wanted more, bigger, better graphics and online. We didn't want tweaked car handling, we didn't ask to have internet cafes. Ducking into a Pay'n'Spray with cops outside and losing your wanted level was silly, but it's a game. We liked the paramedic missions, flying planes, doing rampages. Turf wars, appearance changes, businesses and buying properties all added extra dimensions. All gone. A lot of the fun and general larking about has disappeared. For a sandbox game that's a real shame as tying everything into the main story makes it more linear than before.

Posted on 23 May 2008 22:59:49 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 23 May 2008 23:00:19 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2008 00:26:36 BDT
Bash1987 says:
Totally agree that the fun element has been taken out of the game. What are we supposed to spend money on in the game, weapons????

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Aug 2008 02:37:59 BDT
Ben Fox says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 17 Oct 2008 16:45:24 BDT
Joe says:
I agree, the series has been going ever so slightly down hill since VC.

Posted on 22 Oct 2008 15:44:53 BDT
S. Fountain says:
people say negative thing about this game because they think that having an alternative opinion makes it seem like they know something we dont or that they just dislike it themselves as opposed to judging it as a game.this game is the 360s best and one of the best ever made.To all those that dont like this game...thats too bad you must be so dissapointed, the rest of us are having an awsome time in liberty city.

Posted on 22 Jan 2009 22:00:18 GMT
Spuddy Spud says:
You make some fair comments, but I can't agree with you. I've been playing this game to death since I got it and I'm not a newcomer to the series either. The previous GTAs never did it for me like this one. Apart from the graphics of the city, which are stunning, and the satisfaction of driving in this incarnation which is much improved, the thing that sets this game apart is the story, characterisation and acting. Maybe there's something about Nico and his misadventures that draws me in more than the previous games. This game has a 'what happens next' grab like a premium TV series. The other games were very, very good (especially GTASA), but I was not as interested in how the story played out. The game side of it is also excellent, and I'm not too worried that it doesn't have the modification whistles and bells of other games. In fact, I see its simplicity as a strength. Mind you, I'd like to see them come up with a slightly better mapping system. The waypoint lines are not bright enough against the background for my taste!
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