Review by imationdaman
"A step back for Rockstar, definitely overhyped."
When Grand Theft Auto IV was released, I was once proud to say I was one of the first in line at my local EB Games. The moment I had my copy in hand, I dashed to my car, broke half a dozen laws racing home, and, handling the DVD as if it were a brick of gold, I placed it into my Xbox360. I was hooked, all my skepticism about the game gone when I saw for the first time the pristine, flawless graphics. To me, it seemed perfect. That was before I actually played the game further.
Grand Theft Auto IV is the latest game to fall victim to the "graphics over gameplay" mentality gaming companies seem to adopt now. Despite my loyalty to Rockstar and my passion for the Grand Theft Auto series, I still feel like that GTAIV was Rockstar's giant middle finger to the masses of gamers who purchased this game, nonetheless, I will try and be as unbiased as I can.
Okay, first off; Woah. The graphics look amazing. Rockstar have paid attention to every detail, so no two streets look the same. The water looks simply stunning, and the actual characters themselves look fantastic. The graphics are without a doubt the best feature of GTAIV.
The ambient sounds and the pedestrian crosstalk immersed me entirely, giving me the feeling I was IN Liberty City. The radio has a large mix of genres to choose from (a nice change from GTA: San Andreas, where it seemed every radio station was rap or hip-hop).
The voices of the characters - yuck. Grand Theft Auto games in the past have been known to feature the voices of some of the movie industry's most renowned actors (see Samuel L Jackson), and each character's voice was unique. This is where GTAIV started going down hill for me. Every primary character in this game has a stereotypical Middle Eastern-European accent (see Dracula), and some of the voices are so nonsensical, you'll need subtitles on to save your sanity.
This is where all those who aren't as attentive to detail will start to catch on with what I'm saying. GTAIV, it seems, has taken one giant leap back in game-play. Remember all the fun stuff in GTA: San Andreas? Remember the car-mod shops, the military jet, and the gym? Don't expect to find it in GTAIV.
Aside from the in-game story missions, there is little to do in the game. It feels like you're playing GTA3 again, with, apparently, everything but driving and shooting being removed from the game. After a while, the game becomes very monotonous, and you'll be kicking yourself after finishing the game when you realize how much Rockstar have disappointed you.
None, whatsoever. Once you finish the game, there's nothing to do. Go on a rampage and kill thousands, you say? It won't happen. Rockstar have jacked the difficulty of the police up so much, that once you hit the three-four star mark, you might as well just turn the console off. Replay gets a 2/10 from me simply because of the Achivements (for the benefit of those who enjoy achivement-gathering on Xbox360).
You're an ex-military man from Serbia in America with the promise of the American Dream, blah blah blah. In fact, up until the three-quarter mark, I had absolutely no idea what the plot-line was, and there's NOTHING in the "story" missions to suggest an actual plot, just a thirty-second cinematic towards the end.
GTAIV, whilst being built on the backs of giants, is mediocre at best. I purchased this game, got sick of it, and now It's collecting dust on my bookshelf, which is quite sad, as I expected much better from Rockstar.
Try it before you buy it, you might be wowed by the beautiful graphics, but underneath the beauty is horrible, shallow gameplay that will make you feel ripped off and cheated out of your money.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 07/28/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)
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