Review by cadet_stimpy
"A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SOCCER MOM..."
I gave GTA4 a good go, I tried hard to like it, real hard, and just like it's predecessors, I gave up after 15 or so hours out of boredom. I'll admit it: I just don't get GTA! I heard somebody the other day say that GTA is basically an average driving game combined with an average shooter. To me this sums GTA up precisely.
As a driving game this baby has potential for brilliance: I love the way the cars handle in GTA4: a sublime mix of physics and hollywood, pure fun. This game must have the best handbrake in the business! But the driving missions are just so mind numbingly boring! OK, a couple were great but most lacked any challenge: drive here, drive there, it is like a day in the life of a soccer mom. In the first couple of hours the missions could have been substituted for picking up the kids from school, getting the groceries, it was really, really drab. Things picked up after a few hours but there was very rarely any 'wow' in any of the missions.
As a shooter game I found it well below par. The controls and camera are sluggish & cumbersome and the AI simply stupid. Some of the scenarios have such great potential but the core combat mechanics are flawed, I found the combat missions frustrating and simply not fun.
And the side missions: taking your fat cousin bowling... lame dates with stereotyped women... uuuggghhh!!!!!! I have enough of this is real life!
The average driving and shooter components are wrapped up in a slick and impressive package, it oozes style, this game is a piece of art. The great big free roaming city is a stunning technical achievement, but it still doesn't feel "alive" - I didn't get any thrill out of just wandering around, but maybe I'm just not the 'exploring' kinda gamer, and I have a real city at my doorstep. And the humour\radio stations\tv had me laughing out loud, but it gets repetitive very quickly.
I did enjoy the story although it was full of holes, not that it matters, it is a fun story, and the characters are terrific: but I just couldn't sit through another 20 hours of playing soccer mum to see what happens in the end...
Having said all that I am still glad I gave the game a try as any self-respecting game-nerd should. Even if you don't like the game it still shows the potential of what can be done in gaming. I would love to see a GTA with combat that is as fun as (insert your favourite shooter here), missions that get the heart pumping and a story/characters to match that of cinema. GTA4 is so close to this yet so far...
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 05/30/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (AU, 04/29/08)
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