Review by PokeyBanana

"No disater, but a step back nontheless"

Having always been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, I was looking forward to this game in no minor way. Sadly, despite still being a fine game, it is not as good as one would have hoped.

First the positives.
The city in which the game takes place is very impressive and detailed. It is very closely modelled on the real New York and the streets and buildings all look as they should and one can have no complaints on this score. The graphics themselves are very good, if not amazing, too. The rain effects are especially nice and the glowing lights of the city illuminate the area to give a very immersive feel to the game.

On to the negatives.
While there is nothing wrong with the characters and storyline, neither is there anything particularly good about them either. The characters are the same old instantly forgettable types that have graced every previous GTA game. They are all various stereotypes who illicit no real passion or emotion from the gamer. The storyline too, whilst somewhat grittier than GTAs of old, is still not particularly interesting or poignant.

The missions soon get repetitive. Drive from point A to point B then kill person C is about as sophisticated as it gets. There are many, only slightly differing, chase missions where the player is completely unable to catch their target and must simply keep in touch until the game allows you to attack your target. Also there are many missions which require you to clear out a building of enemies, and with very little variety, this soon becomes boring.

Many missions will also require you to drive quite a distance to actually start the mission proper (something you will have to do again if you fail the mission) and constantly buying more armour is a necessary chore.

The city itself, whilst looking nice, has now become overused. The game really needs to be given a breath of fresh air. A brand new city, and a new country even, would have helped this game immeasurably. The jokes and satirical material which have served previous GTAs so well is now tired and predictable. The soundtrack too is rather poor with too much focus on certain brands of music such as R'n'B and not enough of others such as pop.

In conclusion.
This game is very well made (certain technical issues aside, which is not to make light of them of course) and there is a decent level of fun to be had here but is simply isn't as good as its immediate predecessors. Worth buying? Yes, but don't expect it to push back the boundaries of gaming.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/20/08

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

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