Review by bryannm
Good, not great and not nearly brilliant enough
You know, I still drag out San Andreas now again and go parachuting, drive a tank, fly a plane or win some money. I think when it came out I played it to death for nearly a year and it is still one of the best games of all time ever released.
But it's less than a month since GTA IV was released and after finishing the storyline, I'm sadly bored with it.
Rockstar have made a reasonable game, but have failed to give us the brilliance of San Andreas, the all encompassing choices in game play that made it so damn good. Regardless of what add-ons Rockstar intend to dribble out to us over the next twelve months, I feel somewhat cheated, especially after all the hype.
The game is really GTA III and Vice City with better graphics. It has similar plots and scripting, that whilst done well, are now looking a bit weary. San Andreas set the bar of where IV could have gone, but instead Rockstar have looked backwards, rehashing what they did in GTA III and Vice City rather than coming up with something all together new and ground breaking.
To chew on a few disappointments, why so few safehouses that make going out with your friends and dates a yawning chore? Why no garaging where if you parked your car you knew it would be there forever, not disappearing from outside your safehouse for no reason? GTA III had a brilliant concept of stealing cars where once you had the lot you could go back to the garages and choose any of the cars to drive for free. San Andreas had numerous places where you could park your cars, but GTA IV have so few.
And to me Liberty City is a rather dead environment. It may be a huge, massive place with lots of bright lights, but there is so little to do in it, just sprinkled with the odd fast food place and uninspiring places to go for a bit of R&R. A city this big would have a casino, pokies, horse racing, sports stadiums, a car racing track, a marina and in the supposed terrorist environment, a national guard unit. Where are the tanks, the great planes, the cop motor cycles that made chasing crooks a ball? Where are the real estate vendors so you can buy more safehouses, to make playing the game less of a time consuming chore. Now I'll admit that there are probably quite a few things I haven't discovered in the game, yet I'm just not engrossed enough to go and look for them. These days with the amount of games being released, games have a shelf life of about a month, unless they offer something truly inspiring. GTA IV was supposed to have done this.
I've played a few of the multiplayer missions with friends and they're reasonable fun, but buggy and not very engrossing. I'd rather play COD4 and as I do... suck at it!
Of course, this is GTA IV and just like GTA III, there will probably be an add-on to it, like Vice City. But for me I'll be looking for another studio to make a game where San Andreas left off. The market is out there people... Rockstar haven't given me what I expected. Will you?
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (AU, 04/29/08)
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