Review by Ana No

"A Black Spot on The GTA Series"

Rockstar Games pulled a pretty neat trick by somehow reviving the GTA franchise after killing and burying it with this pitiful sequel, that basically rehashes the formula of the first installment, but seems to forget why that installment was fun or enjoyable at all.

Upon it's release, I originally avoided this game due to the fact that some trustworthy friends of mine deemed it ''really bad.'' But, after loving the third, and having equal love for first on the Playstation, I decided to scour the used bins and give this one a shot.

The lesson here is to not start doubting your trustworthy friends.

The only major difference gameplay-wise from the first to the second, is that now there are three separate gangs to pull jobs for. You make friends with one gang by making enemies with another. All this basically means is there are more people shooting at you than in the first. I for one, fail to see why this is supposed to add any fun to the experience, but I'm sure whoever decided upon this had their reasons.

What the constant gunfire did do for me is irritate, and inevitably bore me, quickly. Part on the fun of the first installment is that YOU were the bad guy, YOU had the gun, YOU were causing the havoc. When seemingly everybody is the city is causing as much mayhem as you, the joy is sort of killed. You're reduced from Shiva wild-eyed creator of urban destruction, to just another pixel on the screen. You're average, nothing special.

Actually, I'll take that back. In GTA2, you very special in one regard. You seem to be the only pixel on the screen the police pixels pay any attention to. Random gang members can mow down 70 people in front of a policeman and stroll away, if you so much as tap a parked car in front of that same policeman, you find yourself running from the entire force. In moments like this, where the lapses in logic were so gaping (even by videogame standards), I couldn't help but wonder if the developers ever bothered to play their own game.

Actually, I asked myself that question constantly while playing GTA2. Because as the player, I was the one forced to try and control the onscreen movement. GTA2 has impossible control, not awkward, not difficult, not 'takes some getting used to,' impossible. The first installment features the former's control scheme, GTA2 decided to make movement only possible through the analog stick which leads the player into driving into lots of walls, and walking in lots of circles. You can imagine my joy as I'm running from 300 cops and try to turn a corner, only to push the stick 1/8 of a millimeter too far, and do a complete 180 right into the cops arms. Boy, this is fun, I'm ready to play again.

All of this action is backed up with a soundtrack of somebody flipping through a fake radio stations. Have you ever been on a long drive where your companion refuses to stay on one station for more than two seconds? Gets pretty irritating doesn’t it? No different in the game. This might have been relieved if whenever the flipping stopped, you actually got to listen to some music, but you character only seems to stop for faux-commercials and Japanese women screaming. Oh, and there’s this “punk rock” song that isn’t good the first time you hear it, and only becomes less good.

In a strange way, I almost have to hand it to Rockstar. They succeeded in creating probably the most completely grating gaming experience I’ve ever had in my 20 odd years of playing the blasted things. Which in of itself, is sort of an accomplishment. The drab visuals, frustrating gameplay and control, and annoying music, harmonize together to create a full bodied symphony of displeasure. I’ll never forget playing GTA2, and I’ll always be glad I never have to play it again.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 06/18/02, Updated 06/18/02


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