Review by SaintDarkSide

"Grand Theft.......hold on a sec!"

Grand Theft Auto, a game that possibly started it all with open ended do whatever you want and don't feel guilty about it game play. Lets face it people, GTA is our guilty pleasure and we all like to unwind with the most extreme types of game play and Rockstar has been doing an excellent job, but we seriously need to look beyond the beautiful graphics and admit that this one wasn't worth the hype at all. I am not saying that this game is bad, it's amazing to be honest, but just not worth all the hype.

NOT WORTH THE HYPE?!......not at all. If I would have played about one hour of this game prior to its release I would not have been so super excited as if it were Christmas and gung ho about getting to the store at midnight to pick it up. I would have patiently waited knowing what I was getting was just a regular game.....beautiful graphics....but just regular. Now I am probably annoying alot of die hard GTA fans who will defend this game to the grave but I myself must be honest being a "die hard GTA fan".

A good excuse to debate this would be to enjoy the game for what it is and not to let the small things bother you but to me that is contradiction. We did hold so much to this game, all our expectations were riding with the game of the we have to settle for what it is and its no use making lemonade when you lost your pitcher, but the taste of lemons will always be on your tongue. But enough of about all this jazz, lets get into this game! Here is my honest review, and even though my expectations were really high for this title...I try not to keep high standards. I was guilty to go with the crowd on this one......

You assume the role of Niko, a man with a dark past and an uncertain furture. You arrive in Liberty City to start a new life but what will come of it? You start off with your cousin Roman and this is where the game initially takes place...

Firstly for a GTA game I expected a little bit more from the story, just because the title is GTA, doesn't mean another "man" has to start from the bottom of the totem pole and work his way up to the top.....yet again.... It happened in GTA3, it was tried with Italians in Vice city, and to mix it up a bit they got a little "gangsta" in San Andreas. Now it seems like they have run out of options and had to resort to a foreign guy. Does anyone but me find humour in this? But whatever...I can at least hold my breath a little longer and see what comes of it...

The soundtrack is.....well.....okay. to tell you the truth I didn't recognize all but maybe 5 songs. This is set in modern day...where are the modern song stations?? The soundtrack may grow on you but you will soon find yourself flipping stations because a song gets annoying and than you might either situate or turn it off.

Controls wise the game is pretty solid, especially how fluid Niko moves around. Rockstar put a large amount of emphasis on "correcting" and "improving" the aiming system but I personally feel it stayed the same. And to be honest I never had a problem with it to begin with. It gets a little frustrating up close and personal so your best bet is to keep distance, they added a new cover system which is pretty cool but sometimes you find yourself stuck in immediate situations and kind of forget about it which leads to other frustrating moments. I don't like the fact that you cannot free aim. They claim it is free aim but its only free so long as you aren't locked on to anyone. The camera angle can get a bit frustrating as well but only in closed areas or indoors (unfortunately where it gets the most inconvenient.) And to my surprise they added the same odd camera angles for driving, like the overhead and far away to the side which nobody ever uses because not only does it hinder you from driving well but you can't hardly see anything around you...this isn't a movie....our character is at stake. And besides, its cute when its new but this is next gen and its pretty much unnecessary. The hand to hand combat isn't bad, pitty there isn't more of it. It reminded me of how real fights go so I wish they could have incorporated it more into missions. On terms of re mapping the controls, it may take a while to get used to the whole cell phone that does everything for you thing...sometimes you have to use it while you see where that can lead? I think its actually easier to do it in real life, I don't have 27 fingers.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as the rest but alot was focused on realism and detail. San Andreas was probably my favorite because you got to live the life of your character and customize your character to the max. Hair cuts, tattoos, cars, respect, weight gain etc... You will notice that alot of this is gone. It seems to me like an absolute downgrade. And I don't even mind it for the only fact that I do not feel connected to my character in the least, only Niko knows that that is it. While a lot of neat stuff was added it almost feels repetitive after a while, once again I will probably get scorned by many but I kind of get sick of feeling like a pimp who delivers stuff and plays alot of bar type games.....wait, that pretty much describes a PIMP!

Graphics I cannot really say anthing negative about...they are absolutely gorgeous in every aspect! The character models, the weather, the cars, the city, the lighting effects, the fire and explosions, its all breath taking! Just a few games I say can actually stand up to this title so far but graphically it holds its own by a long shot!

The realism factor kind of humours me a bit...the game is extremely realistic but than again there are things that were wide open for debate. First off the dialogue seems a little fake to me. Especially when you have guys with power acting like idiots and taking their lives with a grain of salt when they can do whatever they want and are rich as heck. I also find the aspect of lightly bumping into someone when it rains and they drop their umbrella and walk away hilarious.

Okay now that I got all of that out of my system those are the things that will pretty much make or break this game for many. It almost seems that this is what GTA3 should have been if it were to be the first on a next gen console. And to my understanding GTA San Andreas was WAY ahead of its time and I don't see what the complaints were about...It had everything a gamer could want in a game and if you didnt like all the extra stuff you didnt have to do it. Just continue on with the missions and there you have it....GTA4. GTA3+cell phone+re-design+graphics upgrade+weird foreign guy=GTA4.

If you never liked any game in the GTA series you wouldn't like this. If you are a GTA fan and are familiar with the game than you would absolutely love it despite the flaws. As for everyone else just rent it! Like I said earlier it was not worth the hype and now we need to admit it. Excellent game, just not what everyone thought it was going to be like....including myself.

The Special Edition includes a Rockstar logo keychain, a tote bag, a book containing art from the game, a sweet lock box, and the soundtrack! Definitely worth the $90 price tag.
If you can work past the fact that this game has failed in many areas and isn't the be all to end all, you will be just fine!

-Happy Gaming!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/01/08

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

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