Review by ApochWeiss

"Listen to the little voice inside your head..."

After opening my X-Box 360 friends list and seeing almost every one of my forty or so friends on-line at once playing Grand Theft Auto, with the exception of two, it made me think that perhaps judgement was passed on this game too soon. One cannot judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. However, past experiences with Grand Theft Auto and Bully said things otherwise. Remember the engine! Remember the boredom! Too bad those words went unheeded.

Grand Theft Auto IV is quickly becoming one of the biggest games of all time, not just by the hype, but also by how much it grossed, which has Hollywood worried that a game might very well crush all earned money from the biggest blockbuster film. While the series has matured, and this game being the best out of all iot's predecessors, it still lacks horribly. For most gamers, the attractions are simple to spot out: You can run down pedestrians and get away with it, go to the strip club and get a lap dance, and the fact that the story line can be done when you feel like it with optional side missions and a free roaming world.

Well, with this edition, we get to be a Russian man named Nico, straight off the boat from Russia to a glamorous life his cousin talked about. As you play the game, obviously you get yourself in a world of trouble. The typical Grand Theft Auto elements are all there: Do this mission, this guy needs your help, go shoot a few people for me, here's some money. The gameplay seems like a very watered down version of World Of Warcraft, just with voices instead of old parchments with words inked to look like they were done on a typewriter. It gets boring and overly repetitive, so it's nice of Rockstar to have you take girls out on dates, have mini-games to play such as bowling, darts and Qub3d.

The story, however, is much more entertaining then previous games. However, there was a huge push for humor in this game, which often can lead to the story feeling a little childish. The arguments between Nico and his cousin will cause you to laugh, and the sarcasm that appears through the game, as well as stereotypes that are more frustrating then hilarious, keep you chuckling and leaving you unable to take the game one hundred percent serious.

The camera controls are a bit aggrivating, as the camera won't stay in the same spot that you place it, leaving you to have to change the camera angle often. And the graphics aren't the greatest either, which look exactly like what Bully had to offer on the 360, perhaps a little bit better. But, does it really shock you? Why would Rockstar mess with their Grand Theft Auto format?

Grand Theft Auto IV also features a X-Box Live activities, such as racing, to break up the monotony of the game's story mode. Aside from that perk about the on-line aspect, the fact that the Grand Theft Auto series has such a legion of rabid fans foaming at the mouth to finish the story and take you down through cyberspace make it so you will always have someone to play this part of the game with at all times, day and night.

However, be warned, if you are one of those horny teens who wants this game because it happens to have a strip club in it, here's the worst news of all, saved just for you for last: The nipples are covered and they wear thongs. So, sorry needy highschoolers, no boobies for you.

Guaranteed thousands of sales have just been averted by revealing that little tidbit of information. And, while on the anatomical aspect of the game, with all of the technology around, and given that the Dead Or Alive series seems to thrive on the fictional, yet arousing, aspect of breast movement, one would imagine that the girls in a strip club would have breasts that move. Nope, most of the time, if not all, the breasts stay motionless, as if they are just huge mounds of flesh protruding from the chest and will poke your eye out if you get too close, kind of like a porcupine. However, the facial movements on the girls, as well as all the other characters, work well for the engine that Rockstar uses, and every voice seems to synch up perfectly with the characters mouths, which is nice for a change.

So it all boils down to whether you love or hate the series. If overly boring missions with some that are remotely entertaining, as well as being everybodys lapdog most of the game with upscaled last gen graphics is your idea of excitement, then go for it. If not, pass this release up as you probably don't like it anyhow. While the free roaming aspect is great if you are one of those gamers who like to do a little exploring, it doesn't really make up for that much.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 05/05/08

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

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