4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as some people would have you believe....
, 24 July 2008
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I love groundbreaking games. You know, the sort of games that are fresh and succeed into making the audience love it. GTA 4 tries to do this, to be a groundbreaking game, it's clear from the start. But have they succeeded? The answer to that is 'meh'.
Ok firstly, I'll have to mention the fantastic scripting on offer in this game. It includes probably the most clever dialog ever in a video game, as well as that, the plot is intriguing and rather gripping and it's filled with countless memorable characters. As well as that there's more swearing in this than in Gordon Ramsay's house. I think my favorite moment in GTA is when, Niko Bellic (the illegal immigrant you play as)visits his friend Patrick McReary to get a job. Patrick tells Niko the job and says:
"Now are you going to do this job, or are we going to have to kill you?"
"Well, since you put it that way...."
There are plenty of smart moments in the game like this that just manage to put a grin on your face. Now enough about the fantastic scripting, how is the actual game? The quality of the game is split in two. Every aspect of the game has a good side and a downside. The gameplay has been much improved since the previous GTA games. taking cover helps, and so does the auto aim feature, but these new features haven't been polished enough to be called amazing. You see, taking cover, although very handy it might be, doesn't stop some enemies you haven't spotted from easily circling around behind you and killing you almost immediately. It's a shame really because it actually fits into the game well. As for the auto aim feature, it's much better than taking your time to aim at the enemies, but once again comes a downside, sometimes you want to aim at another guy but you can't because the auto aim feature doesn't always let you. Which kinda sucks.
As for the driving, it's also improved, but because the games taken a more realistic turn, some annoying things can happen. Say if you slam into a wall or a lampost for some reason and it happens a lot, you begin flying out of your vehicle and lose a lot of your health. It's very annoying when you're in the middle of being in a chase in a mission because if it happens once, you might as well give up because by the time you try and get another vehicle to continue the chase, the guy your chasing's already escaped. It's the most frustrating thing in any game that's ever existed.
And that leads me to the mission structure. It's poor. The fact is, the difficulty curve is unbelievable. Now I'm probably what people call a veteran gamer. I'm usually very good at playing games. And to be honest, I'm pretty damn good at GTA 4. The problem is, missions can sometimes be too easy, or way way too hard. Or sometimes it can be even worse and start relatively easy and then suddenly just attack you on an unbearable difficulty level when you least expect it. This is probably the most disappointing aspect of the game. But there are still plenty more to mention.
The friends system is unnecessary. It's boring, it's not very rewarding and it doesn't improve the already great character development. It's not essential to do it but it's just a stupid idea. You know, crime lords can still have a good time going bowling!!
I've been moaning too much about GTA 4's downsides but the truth is, it IS fatally flawed. That's the same with the graphics. Now, the graphics have lovely cinematic effects to them, but the textures are god awful. Some of the textures look as if Rockstar games copied and pasted some of the textures from Baldur's gate into GTA 4. Although lip sync is good, I can't say that the character models are very impressive. And the cutscenes can range from good to bad. Some animations seem very stiff, not that it takes away the enjoyment of the fantastic plot. As well as that, no matter what camera perspective you use, it's always slow and annoying to try and rotate the camera. But there is a lot of detail put into the game, even if not everything is pretty. The cars can sometimes make you dribble by looking so stylish and real. But it's obvious they've concentrated more on making the cars look pretty rather than some of the environments.
So after all my whining are there any other great features to GTA 4? Yeah, a couple. Multiplayer is good and has a wide variety of games. The problem with the cover system I mentioned before has been removed here because instead of having annoying AI circling around to kill you from the back, it seems that for some strange reason, it doesn't happen in multiplayer which is great. And having the whole map of Liberty City to explore with your friends is a great option. Only trouble is, my friends hate GTA 4 and prefer to go on COD, so I can't really ever see GTA's multiplayer to it's full potential. But of what I've seen, it's good.
Some of the critics reviews have been ridiculous for this game. IGN gave it a 10/10 and probably made the worst review I have EVER seen.
I might be too generous giving GTA 4 four stars, but then again it's obvious a lot of effort has been made into making this game possible. And the scripting alone deserves 4 stars anyway.
GTA 4 is art, but it's the art that's good, not the game.
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