Review by GodOfWarFanatic
"Same old, same old."
GTA IV is definitely the most hyped game of 2008, but also one of the most overrated games of our time. I'm not saying it's horrible, but it isn't perfect in any way, shape, or form. It adds many new features, but they aren't enough to save it and give it a perfect score. After it received perfect 10's from three major game/review companies (IGN, GameSpot, and Gameinformer), I felt that I just had to play it. Especially since IGN are strict about how they rate their games. With that being said, I was very excited for it. When I played it, I was letdown. I expected much more and it failed to deliver. The only redeeming quality I found was how Rockstar got rid of the poor RPG elements that San Andreas had. Other than that, this game isn't outstanding, at least to me, and it just feels the same. You're probaly saying to yourself, "Of course it feels the same, it's a sequel." Well, you're right, but it is practically exactly the same as the other GTA's (GTA III and so on). Missions are all the same and all have the same formula. Go to the dot, do the objective (Mainly killing someone), repeat. There is hardly any variety within the missions, making them repetitive and boring. Especially if you played the other GTA's a lot.
GTA IV adds many activities. Like bowling, darts, drinking, pool, whatever. They are fun, but get old, and fast. This is just to add replay value...for an hour, or so. There are many things to do in the world of Liberty City aside from the main Story Missions, but they don't involve enough entertainment for me to be satisfied.
The "outstanding" features of this game are the use of your cell phone, realism, and the new shooting/cover system. All which fail in one way or another.
You use the phone to do a lot. To make plans are the main objective for it. One little problem that consists is you can go to a friend on you contact list, go to one of the options (Activities), press, and they'll pick up so you two can arrange something. But, there is also just a call button for each person. You press it and they won't answer, no matter how many times you try. This takes away some realism that Rockstar was aiming for. They could've at least added little conversations, but no. The only time they'll answer from using that "call" button is if you're calling them back or if it's significant to the story.
The realism aspect is mainly on the features within the game, like activities, the cell phone, internet cafe's, etc.. I can complain about the aspects that aren't realistic, but I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to explain a part in the game where realism shouldn't apply to, and that's the driving. The handling is just annoying. When trying to do a 90 degree turn when using the handbrake, you'll usually do a 180. Unless you have mix the handbrake and the reverse button together. And this takes a while to get used to. Still, at the same time, I'm used to the vehicle controls and I'm still annoyed by it. With the turning, it becomes a major pain in the ass when outrunning from the cops. Which reminds me, there are way too many cops in the game.
Horrible. This is a sandbox game that tries to incorporate third-person shooter aspects, which fails majorly. Even reviewers who give this game a perfect score complaining about how it just doesn't work. The cover system just sucks, shooting is ok, but the cover system is just vile and a major pain in the ass. When you're hiding and trying to target an enemy whos say, behind the couch or trying to target a person behind beside the TV, it'll target the other person, the one you're trying not to aim at (You'll recognize this later in the game, but I'm not releasing any spoilers). This is due to the fact that you move to a different side (Just facing right or left), when you don't want to. It just doesn't work out.
Another thing I didn't like was the lack of cheats, one of the things in GTA is known for. Also, certain cheats disable some achievements (Cheats that could be beneficial to the success of it) which will piss-off some of you achievement whores. Also, you enter them through your cell phone which is a somewhat tedious process. I don't care about the achievement part, just the lack of them.
Two cool features, however, is how you sometimes can decide the fate of someone or two different people (one dies, the other doesn't) in the duration of a mission, and special kills. But the problem with the special kills is that they aren't that cinematic, which is what I was hoping for, and you can only do them to certain people and not everyone. Still, these don't overpower the problems in this game that I had.
GTA has a big reputation. So big that any other sandbox game that's not GTA is called a GTA rip-off. And a lot of the "GTA Rip-offs" for me, are better. But that's not where I'm getting at. What I'm saying is, GTA took some elements from other sandbox games. I'll name three key features in this game that were "taken" from other games. The cell phone and multiplayer is taken from Saint's Row and the new running-from-the-cops feature is taken from Scarface: The World is Yours. I know this will piss some of you off, but if any sandbox game that's not GTA is considered a rip-off, then I'll say this all I want. Hell, GTA III wasn't even the first sandbox game.
There are many other features in this game that I haven't talked about yet, but you get the picture that you have a lot of freedom.
Rockstar must be a big fan of Scarface. The story is practically the same as Scarface (Al Pacino version, obviously). A foreign man with a violent past comes to America to start a new life. But they get caught up with a criminal life-again. Niko gets caught up with various criminal acts and Tony get's caught up primarily with the cocaine buisiness. I love the story, but it gets the low score since it's not original.
It's a big improvement over the GTA series, but that's not saying much. The graphics aren't that impressive, so why am I giving it a high score? Well it's because there is a lot of buildings and the city is so big and it can hold all that same detail with no framerate problems. So I give it credit. The only problem is the pop-up issue, but it can't fit all things in the enviroment without that.
A lot of things sound realistic, but I still prefer the sounds in Vice City. Plus the radio is annoying with not that much good music, in my opinion.
The on-foot controls are fine, they work how they're suppose to, but it's the vehicle controls that annoys me, as I've made clear.
Same ol' GTA gameplay. Which is where this game fails on a lot of levels. I want something entirely new.
Replay Value: 710
Some missions are fun and worth going through the game again for. GTA is known for replayability, especially because of the freedom and the amount of things to do aside from the main-story missions.
Practically the only thing GTA IV excells at. There is A LOT to do, many side-missions and the main story takes more than 30 hours to beat.
Final Rating: 6/10
It's keeps the same old GTA feel. Not saying that's a bad thing, but it fails to bring any innovation. The entertainment value has gone down for me considering it's just all the same. If you are a hardcore GTA fan that loves the same formula, this is for you. But if you're the hardcore GTA fan that wants something different, with the same feel, look somewhere else. GTA IV is a good game, but not outstanding or perfect.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 06/13/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)
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