After waiting for GTA IV for over 3 years, it’s finally out and has been for quite some time. Now it’s time to see how 3 years were spent at Rockstar.
When you review a next gen title, graphics is a very hard category to look at since all games (hopefully) run beautifully in HD. GTA IV may not be the prettiest, but it still looks pretty good. The game, like Battlefield has a very grainy effect popped over the screen which can be turned on and off by messing with the three display effects, but most of the time doing this results in horrendous effects. Grand Theft Auto features a very in depth thoroughly built city and characters are very realistic, in cut scenes. In game they are not as detailed and defined but they are fine. The amount of detail in the game and the vastness of the city is spectacular and impressive and the fact that they could not have Gears of War graphics is understandable. This game runs pretty smoothly on the controls compared to other GTA’s where shooting was a face button. However the car handling in this game is crap. They tried to make it realistic and in turn failed. Remember when in San Andreas where you sucked at driving but “leveled” up? Well, in GTA IV you are at level 0 the whole game. The controls for in the vehicles are a little messed up where, if you go to break quickly you’ll on instinct hit “X” or “Square” but this will in turn… adjust your headlights. Pretty useless. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be approaching a bend and slam on the x button and the headlights would brighten but I’d slam into a wall and be ejected through the windshield. Other than the driving the other controls work well.
This game is called GTA IV yet some parts feel like the same thing as the older ones. Just a new city, in hi-def. Many new features have been added like bowling, seeing comedian/cabaret shows, the cell phone feature and much more. Many other features were taken out though like tanks, rampages, and flamethrowers. This was because they were trying to make it more realistic. It’s still a GTA game at its roots though, it’s fun, open, and you can have a body count of 2,000 and wreak havoc on the city. I personally have always loved the story lines behind the GTA games, except that San Andreas made you play a “gangsta” and therefore killed the class (which I say loosely) of the past Mafioso games. This game returns to the mafia-esque plot, the revenge, and the blood. Wait… I’ve seen those elements somewhere else before… a thousand times. However the story was heavily realistic and kept me playing the game. Despite having seen the plot so many times before, it was well executed and was very enjoyable. The voice acting and characters are both great and enjoyable so that always helps.
With about 90 missions in this game it’s hard to nit pick, because if there is a problem it would likely repeat. And there are plenty of problems here. For one, because of the massive amount of features, the whole game was really a big tutorial to using all of them, and I believe you are given directions on how to do something on the final level. It felt as if the game never really let go of your hand and was always telling you what to do, for me at least. This was used for a dramatic effect, but was still a tutorial. There are many other examples I won’t get to specific about. Also, the poor vehicle handling killed the fun of racing, and the auto lock on that just won’t stop looking at corpses took the fun out of the gun-fights (I highly recommend you turn off the auto-lock feature). The missions were fun, but repetitive. But how can’t they be when there are 90 of them. The old quality vs quantity fight (which you are about to see again). I think GTA’s city is enough of a reason to check out this game. While being modeled after Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, and New Jersey; it is still it’s own interactive, breathing city. It is beautiful, amazing, and the best open world setting yet, however, not the biggest.
Replayability is a huge factor. It’s an open world game and you can do anything. Countless hours can be spent in the game. The game is very realistic, perhaps to realistic for its own good. Many of the features from past GTA games were taken out (airplanes, rampages, fun vehicles, fun weapons, gang wars (wouldn’t make sense here, but a little war in Manhattan would’ve been FUN) to keep the game realistic. This makes the game feel like a errand/repetitive snooze fest. You will eventually feel all you are doing is running errands so don’t mess around for too long. It seemed that Rockstar has been shut in their caves for the past 3 years making this game because it shows. It shows in the in depth feel, the realism, and apparently they missed the realization us gamers had: Quality > Quantity.
There are 15 modes in total but I only count that as 11: Team: Team Deathmatch Team Mafia Work Team Car Jack City Turf War Cops n Crooks Non-Team: Car Jack City Deathmatch Mafia Work Race Gta Race Other: Free-Roam Co-op The Co-op has 3 different missions, and Rockstar decided to call each mission a separate mode to up the total to 15. I have Co-op as one mode because, one mission doesn’t count as a mode, it’s like calling GRAW’s co-op missions modes. You don’t do it.
The Rockstars up at Rockstar decided if you have friends you can only play the team modes with them in ranked… good call. However, they forgot to include the most team based game in the Team category; CO-OP… bad call. You can not play Co-op with your friends. If you want to play co-op you have 3 possible outcomes: 1- You get in a room where there are high levels and they say “Oi! Look at this moronic level 5, he’s not a god so boot him. He probably doesn’t know what to do.” And you say “Yes I do” and you say exactly what you should do. You get booted anyway. 2- You get in an empty game and the lobby gets no other players… ever. 3- You get in a game with a moron, a mute, and the self proclaimed King of the World. The mute turns out to be the only one who knows what tto do, but you can’t talk to him so it doesn’t matter. The moron has no idea what to do and talks loudly about being “O.G.”, but won’t listen to you yelling at him that he’s driving off to the edge of the world where he will fall off. And the King is ordering everyone around, and half the time he knows what he’s doing… he’s just loud and annoying so you don’t listen and mute him.
This is how fun co-op is. Team Deathmatch is pretty standard but it always ends up in a 2v2v2v1v2v2v2v3… at the Airport or Prison. The 2 least fun areas. The only fun I ever had was a 5v5v5 in Bohan. But the game ended half way through. Which happens a lot. Mafia Work has you running around the city doing errands which makes you realize… I’ve been playing Grand Theft Chauffeur IV, and have been since I beat the game. Car Jack City is similar to Mafia Work. Race and GTA Race are the same thing, but you can get guns in GTA race, but it doesn’t really matter. The car handling is enough of a gun, aimed at your own head.
Cops n Crooks is actually a bit fun, one team plays cops and the other team is crooks, you get the point, but it’s fun. And that leaves us at Free Roam… the Free Roam in this game is what you are going to be playing most of the time. This is because no one likes the multiplayer modes and would rather kill their own friends. You can turn roam the entire city with up to 15 other people and there are tons of options to play with. The possibilities are endless! Flying helicopters through the city, barricading you and your friends in the middle of times square defending a 6 star wanted level, or just messing around. This makes up for (almost) everything else. GTA IV is a great game in many ways. Unfortunately Rockstar kind of messed up the multiplayer. The multiplayer is really not much fun although the single player is so exceptional that it makes up for it. The amount of detail, size of the city and interaction in the city is so amazing that at first it floors you. The added new features are welcomed and the loss of the insanity from the older GTA games is shocking at first but they needed to do it to obtain a more realistic feel. Overall GTA IV is a great game and is recommended to anyone who loves video games.