Review by kayray44
Grand Theft Auto 4: The Most Overrated Game of All-Time
Welcome to Liberty City, where frustration and outdated gameplay await you!
Okay, GTA4 finally stepped up and brought a decent graphical effort to a series that has been notorious for being years behind in graphical prowess. However, the character's animations are often wooden in cut-scenes, and there is a ridiculous amount of pop-up texturing in the game. Also, there is a tendency for the animation to slow down to almost 20 FPS in crowded situations, which is just inexcusable in games of the so called "next generation".
The area where the game shines. The soundtrack is among one of the most diverse and well-planned I've ever seen in a videogame. From Russian pop and rock, to old school rap and hip-hop, there is some kind of music here for everyone. The voice acting is also top-notch, where Rockstar forwent the celebrity voices of San Andreas, like James Woods and Samuel L. Jackson, for much more authentic voices. The environmental ambience is almost perfect, and every place you come across will sound just like you would imagine it to in real life.
Awful is the easiest way to put it. The gameplay has always, in my mind, been Grand Theft Auto's weakness, and this game does little to improve it (it in fact damages the gameplay). The new targeting system is useless, as the Left Trigger's sensitivity is never right on, so you will often accidentally auto-aim or free-aim without intending to. The new driving controls are better than previous entries, but still feels clunky and unrefined. The cover mechanism is a welcome addition, but feels poorly implemented because of the lack of places to use as cover. Finally, the mission structure remains unchanged, meaning failure results in a huge monetary penalty AND the fun of restarting the mission from scratch. It is still frustrating, and is an outdated mechanism for keeping difficulty in an otherwise easy game. And again, most of the missions are simply bad, from having to follow a guy for about ten minutes, and then kill him, to having to go to an interview to kill a guy. There are a few standouts, like the bank robbery, that are absolutely awesome to play, but having ten good and sixty bad missions is not a good balance AT ALL.
The best GTA storyline yet, but that isn't saying much. Nico Bellic is an interesting character, but his surrounding players are a mix of offensively bad stereotypes and cardboard cut-out gang movie types. No one else in the cast stands out, other than Little Jacob, but that's because you can't understand anything he says. The traditional GTA storyline themes are also present, like betrayal, doubt, shame, etc., but they feel tired and forced in most situations.
Average, like every other GTA game. They are fun distractions for about an hour if you want to just run around doing nothing in particular, but otherwise, are a miserable failure. If you like the GTA series, rent this and see if you want to buy it. If you are complacent or a hater of the series, stay away, because it will not do anything for you. Just go get the Orange Box, Mass Effect, or Bioshock if you want a great time on the 360.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)
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