Review by ANTI POP 101
"Addicting Fun Even if Bugged"
I don't like long introductions so I will cut to the chase...
The graphics in this are amazing for a GTA game, however some minor flaws keep it from getting a very high score. The lack of great antialiasing keeps it from perfect scores, not that I would expect absolute perfection from a console game, I simply feel there could have been more done on this. Shadow/lighting problems also give it a minor disadvantage as some of the shadows on characters don't look like shadows at all, but more like a graphical error. The lighting is almost perfect, however there are some moments when things look way too bloomed, or too dark to see a few feet ahead of you. Maybe it's just my eyes, but I had to turn up the brightness and contrast to be able to function well at night. Regardless of these flaws the graphics are really good and the textures while some can feel tacked on, and seem not very well done, overall are amazing.
The sound in this game is AWESOME. From the sirens to the phone, alarm clock, voices, and music, it's basically perfect. The thing that keeps it from getting a 10 is that some of the audio (voices) pretty much requires the use of subtitles to be able to understand what people are saying, and even then it can be of little help.
This was one of my biggest disappointments for Grand Theft Auto IV. The previous entries for the series had awesome music, funny dialogue for the stations, and kept me entertained any time I listened to it. This time around the soundtrack is very obscure and repetitive with very few known artists and very few good unknown artists. The dialogue is decent, but not as good as its predecessors. Offers minimal laughs and can sometimes be annoying. The lack of a custom soundtrack (mp3 playback) was a major letdown for this, as it was pretty much expected for the game and it came up short.
The storyline in this entry is top-notch. The characters are very deep and more realistic, making them extremely interesting and more keyed to the plot of the story. It is also refreshing to get rid of the usual mafia/gang lead character so you can really see what happens when you truly have little to nothing to work with. With the great character animations and facial expressions you can really get into and understand the story through the eyes of the characters, making this an extremely well done and interesting story to get into.
Most will say the gameplay is repetitive or too much like the previous GTA games. I beg to differ on this. It keeps the core of the gameplay, but adds its own personality making it stand out. The modified controls for vehicles is much more comfortable in my opinion than before, although I would have preferred if they allowed aiming before shooting while driving, instead you can't help but to spray and pray. On foot is the same as before, with some added fun. Pressing UP on the D-Pad will let you use a cell phone that will be your greatest asset throughout the game wether it be to get jobs, arrange dates, take pictures, go online, and even use cheats. The aiming system for on-foot combat is much more enjoyable this time around with sensitivity control, better cameraview and much more forgiving precision. Only thing keeping this from a perfect score is the unforgiving "partner" system. For instance if you go on a date, and you and your partner are on a mortorcycle, and you get into even the smallest accident, you instantly fail the date which I feel is a little bit unnecessary. It takes very little to "spook" things.
This would get a mediocre score due to the fact that for more than 90% of the copies of this game, online multiplayer does not work. Sometimes you can't even load the game while connected to PlayStation Network. I had to play another friend's system in order to play online and be able to review this myself.
Besides my bias, the online is GREAT. There are MANY modes of play here, there is definitely something for everybody wether you like to play on a team or not, or if you just want to have fun with other people without a game rule, there is something to enjoy. In my experience I had no problems with lag or disconnection errors, which is a major plus for this kind of game. My only gripe here is that you have very little options for the customization of your online avatar, making it feel lackluster with little to no feeling that the character is truly your own. Besides that minor annoyance, this is probably the best done online multiplayer I've seen in a game in a long time. Major props to the designers for adding so much variety for us to enjoy.
I have to be honest here. While this is a very very good game, it simply feels unfinished with all the bugs that have become present since release. I am holding that against Rockstar/Take2 because it is their job to make sure they put out a quality product and it feels like this was not tested thoroughly enough before completion. The other thing keeping it down is the fact that they made downloadable content pretty much exclusive to Microsoft, leaving nothing for those of us on the PlayStation 3. I will give them an A for effort, but a D when it comes to customer satisfaction, as it leaves a majority only able to play single player and not be able to enjoy all the game has to offer.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 05/06/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)
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