Review by pimpinpalomo

"GTA:4 - A step backwards?"

I got this game as a gift for Christmas from my brother. I have played it enough since then to give an honest and accurate review.

Introduction

The GTA series has always been unique in its style of game play. It has stood out among other games as a role model. The games in the series are meant for every kind of gamer. The game is awesome for the casual gamer, has enough depth for the experienced gamer, and plenty of replayability to keep most gamers satisfied. So why am I giving it a 7? Just keep reading on and you will soon find out.

Story - 5/10

You are Niko Bellic, an eastern European immigrant who is now living in Liberty City (based off of New York) with his cousin, Roman. Your cousin has told you of how wonderful his life is here in America, but you soon find out that almost all of it was lies. Niko and Roman are slowly dragged deep into the criminal life. Basically, the story drops right after the beginning part of the game, and doesn't continue on until late in the game. Most of the missions you will be doing have nothing to do with the main plot, but they are required to finish the game.

Graphics - 8/10

Rockstar obviously had to improve the graphics for the next generation of systems. GTA IV is much more detailed than any other game of its kind. The cutscenes are especially detailed because the characters have facial expressions. The only complaint that I have with the game's graphics is the awful loading times for the textures. If you are driving fast enough, everything will just look like a blur. You might even run into something that you didn't even see because it hasn't loaded yet.

Loading times - 4/10

Right when you start up the game, it takes about 30 seconds just to load the game and your last saved file. Even after that, it hasn't loaded some of the textures in your area. There are a lot of loading times during missions, and some of them are as long as 7 seconds (just for a cutscene). This game would have been much better if they prioritized what things to load first. I don't want to see the insides of the buildings loading before the road I am driving on is loaded. This only becomes a problem when you are driving REALLY fast cars.

Sound - 10/10

I can't complain about the sound. This is the first time Rockstar has made the sound perfect. The voice acting was nearly flawless.

Music - 6/10

Rockstar usually picks a good choice of music. This time, it wasn't so good. The game has music that will satisfy every player, but there isn't a lot of any specific genre. Most of the songs in this game I have never even heard of. Unlike GTA:SA before it, you can't listen to music on your hard drive while driving a vehicle. Instead, you have to use the Xbox 360 dashboard to play the music. The problem with that is it is usually too loud, and it doesn't turn off when you get out of vehicles. It even stays on during cutscenes. The only way to turn it off is by opening up the dashboard again.

Controls - 8/10

The targeting system has improved in this game dramatically. You can now free aim by lightly holding either trigger and moving the right stick. A cover button was also added to the game. My only problem with this is it sometimes takes cover behind the wrong thing. The controls are easy enough to learn for the new players.

Gameplay - 7/10

This is where the GTA series usually shines. This is not the case, however, for this game. You would expect a game like GTA IV to take the best from the previous GTA games and make it better. Lets put it this way: the best new feature in this game was a cell phone. You had a cell phone in San Andreas too, but you couldn't call people on it. Rockstar actually TOOK OUT some major things that were in previous GTA games. The skills and stats(driving skill, weapon skills, muscle, stamina, etc.), introduced in San Andreas, was taken out. This is what made San Andreas possibly the best GTA game ever made. Rockstar also took out some side missions, like the paramedic missions and the gang wars. They even changed the taxi missions a little (you have to call your cousin to do them now). They even removed planes from this game. It's not all bad though. You can now shoot people while driving using the LB button. The game is also more realistic than the previous GTA games. People will now respond to you if you aim a gun in their face while they are driving. The handling and braking are more realistic as well (don't know if that is a pro or con). You can kill people in automobile accidents, and you can even fly out of the car if you aren't careful. The main problem, though, is the missions. Unlike San Andreas, you aren't doing random missions. Most of them are drive, shoot, drop off someone, pick up something. The few random missions there are in this game aren't even enjoyable. If you aren't playing this game for the missions, though, the gameplay is basically the same as previous GTA games.

Replayability - 10/10

After beating this game once, I played it again, trying to get all of the achievements. Some of them are quite hard and time consuming, especially getting 100% completion. I still haven't found everything there is to do in this game, and I have had it since Christmas. Online play helps expand the replayability by a ton. This game will keep you busy for months.

Bugs/Glitches - 5/10

Rockstar never seems to test their games properly, because there are tons of bugs in this game. The "swing sets of doom", as they are usually called, are probably the buggiest thing in the game. Some of the buildings in this game aren't even solid (you can fly right through them). Personally, I have found more than 5 glitches on my own (without even trying to).

Multiplayer - 10/10

From what I have seen in videos online of GTA IV multiplayer, it is actually fun. This is definitely the best part of the game. Personally, I haven't played online because I don't have a hard drive or Xbox Live.

Total - 73/100 or 7/10

My Recommendation:

Get it. It is worth it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/06/09

Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)


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