Grand Theft Auto IV Review

I have never really been a fan of GTA games. That being said, this one seemed like it was going to do enough different that it sounded kind of interesting. When I got the game I liked that the narrative seemed to have been spruced up a bit, but it still felt like a GTA game. Surprisingly, this one kept my interest the whole way through. I just beat the game a few minutes ago, so I figured now would be a good time to give a brief review.

Things I liked:

  • The Story
  • The Voice Acting – This was probably my favorite thing about this game. The voice acting was brilliantly done. I wish Niko had a few more quips to shout when shooting, those got kind of repetitive after awhile, but over all. It was excellent.
  • The Shooting Mechanic – This was a problem for me in the previous games, and I thought it worked pretty well in this one.
  • The graphics – Some of the shadows were a bit flickery, but I thought the game looked pretty good as a whole.
  • The multiplayer seems pretty fun. I’ve only played a few times with friends, but it was pretty cool. I think free mode is my favorite, because you can just fuck around and do whatever you want.

Some things I didnt like:

  • The Driving – If this game drove like Burnout Paradise it would have been MUCH better, and car chases would have actually been fun instead of being an “ugh here we go again”. The cars felt like they weighed about 6 pounds, and would flip extremely easily. The desire to go fast was often defeated by the fear of sending a car into a flip/spin frenzy. Motorcycles were probably the worst controlling vehicles in the game. Every time a mission required the use of one (including the last one which took place on sandy beaches, further reducing handling) I would groan.
  • Some of the contextual button presses didn’t work very well. I would often have to hit the button 2 or 3 times before Niko would scale a ladder. Also I don’t know how many times I accidentally stole a taxi when trying to enter as a passenger.
  • AI/Glitches – There seemed to be several problems with the AI. I died countless times because of people running toward the motorcycle while screaming in fear. Because motorcycles in this game only weigh 2 pounds, this would cause me to flip headfirst into a wall. I saw a lot of animation glitches, like Niko’s foot coming out of his pants at some crazy angle and shaking violently. I was doing the last mission today and there was a part where you have to go off a jump. I wasn’t going fast enough so I failed the mission, and when I got to shore, instead of getting the restart mission option I got a the call that activates the mission in the first place, Which includes an additional car chase, plus having to manually backtrack.
  • It was kind of annoying getting calls from every single person you meet in the game constantly.

Overall this game is definitely worth playing, and I’d say its the best one in the series. Its pretty fun, and engaging throughout. I don’t think it is as good as all the reviewers for major sites have been saying, especially once you’ve removed the rose colored glasses that come with a big name release like GTA.

B

GTAIV First Impressions

So yesterday after work I went and picked up my copy of GTAIV from the local Gamestop. I played it for about 4 hours straight and have a few observations about it. I’ll start off with the negative.

  1. After recently playing games like Burnout Paradise, and Gran Turismo 5, the car physics in this game based on stealing cars are pretty awful. I don’t know how many times I’ve flipped cars over while driving 30 mph only to have the occupants not seem to notice and keep on going with their conversation. After some aerial acrobatics the car usually lands wheel side down, barely taking a scratch and keeps on going.
  2. The next thing is the walking animation. This is actually something Rob pointed out to me yesterday before I had the game. When walking, whenever you turn Niko’s whole body leans like 30 degrees. This may be expected for an all out run, but while walking it just looks kind of ridiculous.
  3. I am not a huge fan of the way the game does tutorials. When you’re driving around a city and trying to follow a GPS the last thing you want to be doing is also trying to read text in the upper left of the screen.

Now for the good:

  1. The voice acting is some of the best I’ve seen in videogames. Niko seems fairly normal when back-lit by all these crazy people he is interacting with and is very likable unlike a lot of the previous GTA characters. I am surprised by how funny he is, as well.
  2. The explosions are really great looking. They look very nice with volumetric smoke and particle effects.
  3. The world feels really good, its probably the most lifelike city I’ve seen in a game thus far, which is something… I guess.

I cant really say much about the story yet, but overall I am enjoying myself with this game. I just wish the cars felt a little bit more weighty and the walk animation’s turning situation wasn’t so overblown.

GTAIV in the wild.

GTAIV is officially released, now. I gotta go pick up my pre-order after work today. I know that my buddy Rob was going to go to the midnight launch. Hopefully he’ll have taken some pictures of the lines and such. If so I’ll post them here. Otherwise, go get the game you slouch!

GTAIV Multiplayer Screenshots

GTAIV Multiplayer

ShackNews has a bunch of screen shots of Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer. Now, as someone who has never actually completed a GTA game, I wasnt really that excited for this one. The more I see it, though, the more I feel the twinge of excitement start to gnaw at me. These multiplayer screenshots confirm it. I want this game. Beating up hookers with your friends will never be the same again!

Visit ShackNews for more screens!