Review by kurtangletn

"Rockstar Should Have Focused on the actual Game! Could have been a lot better!"

Rockstar from the very beginning of this game clearly put emphasis on recreating New York City, I mean when you think of it we really never got a glimpse of game play till it was released. Instead what we got was flybys on the city. To want to re create and in a way have this living breathing city was a nice idea, and the execution was great, but it should have been secondary to creating the actual gameplay.

Graphics: The graphics are pretty sub par, there are poor textures everywhere, jaggies are more common than any other next gen game I've played, and annoyingly the game is too dark during night times, affecting gameplay on some missions. Effects are pretty nice, from the water waves and reflections, to the building lighting and explosion effects. Still a massive improvement over the GTA 3 era games. 7/10

Gameplay: Immediately off the bat you can tell that the game has newer, more realistic game mechanics. People hang on your hood till you smash them into a wall, killing them. There is a new duck and cover system, allowing you to turn any area into a place to stop. The actual gameplay is at it's core very improved. The problem is the mission design is just really poor. It's the same over and over. Chances are you are either killing someone or picking up/dropping off something, and it just begins to feel more like a chore than it should. There are a couple of cool missions like the bank robbery one, the chasing motorcyles through the subway one, but for the most part the mission design sucked, and without checkpoints the longer ones suffer because any small mistake causes you to restart. Although improved, mission design really could have used some innovation. 6/10.

Presentation/Story- Here is the shining point of the game. New York City (although not exactly, and they weren't aiming for it) and a part of New Jersey are created well and more importantly you really have that big city feel. You truly do feel like an ant in a massive city, the atmosphere is really amazing. The story is both good and bad. On one hand we certainly have our deepest GTA protagonist. With a full back story, morals, and views on American culture, humanity, etc. Niko (the main character) can be both funny and annoying in dialogue scenes. One one hand he is very sarcastic and witty and overall a cool head with such crazy and off the wall characters, a great foil. On the other, the entire story revolves around money and Niko and his cousins lack of it. The main problem with this is you often get a good amount of money for missions, and besides ammo and guns, there really isn't much to spend it on. The atmosphere is one of the best in gaming, characters are for the most part great with good voice acting, but the lack of things to spend money on hurts a bit of the story. 9/10

Value/Depth- An important factor for me is value in a game. If you are like me, you have a limited amount of income you can spend on games, so finding out if it's worth your $60 is a big factor. GTA IV is long, and there are a lot of secrets and side things you can do in the game. I'm a bit shocked and disappointed they removed things like car customization from the previous titles, things like buying safe houses (all are given to you). There are less vehicles, no planes, and some depth missing from GTA: SA. The depth could and should have been a lot better, the lack of depth features that kept you going after the main missions are really missed in this game. 7/10.

Verdict: If you are borderline on this game, and have other good next gen titles on your mind, go for the others. This game is a product of hype and is a shining example of a next gen disappointment, could have been a lot better if it did some basic things.

I'd also consider renting it and playing the hell out of it for a week, if you like it, go ahead and buy it, if you decide you can't get through the boring and repetitive missions, you just saved yourself a good $53 or so to get a good game.

My expectations of this game weren't overly high, and they weren't of the level of the hype. I'm shocked at how much was removed from GTA: SA, and I really wish they focused more on the depth and fun side parts of the game (to break the chain of the boring missions) rather than things like TV shows.

Proceed with caution gamers.

Overall - It's between a 6-7 type game, above average but not a classic. I really want what IGN was smoking when they said this deserved to be in the same room as games like Ocarina of Time, and other timeless classics.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/17/08

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

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