22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV - Xbox 360 (Standard Edition) (Video Game)GTA 4 is a long, long... long game. Is it fun? A little. There's a lot of tedium, and somehow the spark that made the last games in the series such inimitable experiences is gone.
In at least a couple of ways, GTA 4 is too big of a game. The map is too big, and the intentions are too big.
Too quickly did I start to tire of having to drive to all the different places in order to get missions, and then drive to the actual missions. About 1/3 of the way through the game, I started using taxis to get places almost exclusively. And... isn't the heart of this game supposed to be driving around in a giant playground? Aren't I supposed to get distracted from missions and just screw around for 45 minutes for no reason? Somehow, none of that is fun in this iteration. This was just one giant mission slog 'til the end.
I was really excited that I'd finally get to ride around subways -- I was really excited to get some small whiff of the excitement of being in the actual New York City. At first, I thought my hopes were simply too lofty, but now I realize this game just isn't that fun. I used the train system probably twice total. What's the point? Between taxis and cars, why would I use the subway system?
And what good is a huge world if almost every square inch of it is identical? GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas all had areas with very different feels and textures to them. Remember how in San Andreas, you could be in the ghetto, or go up into the Hollywood hills, or go drive out into the boondocks? None of that variance of experience exists on GTA 4. Here, no matter what island you're on, every square block is exactly the same. With the exception of hills and a few annoying water-based missions, the entirety of GTA 4's world is interchangeable: city blocks, light poles, people, and way too many police officers.
And forget about Central Park; you'll spend the end of one mission here, and that's it. There's no reason for it to exist.
GTA 4 also loses the cop-versus-player dynamic, as well. Here the cops feel almost like an afterthought; they're annoying, predictable, and are only brought in to increase the difficulty of missions.
And once you've tired of the missions - the endless whack, chase, and escort jobs you have to pull for endless, anonymous mobsters - you can spend some time with the most utterly pointless and tedious feature in any game I've played recently: relationships.
In GTA 4, you can befriend people and date people (just women, as far as I can tell, except for one mission). These people will call you up from time to time and ask you to hang out, doing things like getting drunk (which is actually a great simulation of inebriation -- so good, in fact, that I think they should make kids do it in driving school), playing darts, and eating food. When you do this, they will like you more (like in The Sims), and if you do this a lot of times, you'll get a modest benefit, like cheap guns and not-always-successful cop wanted-level reductions. This might be a fine side-benefit if it were semi-hidden and didn't take the incredible time investment required for what is basically a chore that gets you something you don't really need, but GTA 4 inundates you with this relationship crap. The game makes a point of nagging you about various relationships right after you've begun a mission, so you're forced to tell the person "no" and incur negative repercussions on this relationship. Why the **** did they do this? What is the purpose of putting you in a fake moral quandary? Maybe the GT in GTA stands for Guilt Trip now.
And there's no more powerful symbol for how flawed this game is than how awful driving is. I don't know for the life of me why they changed the driving system so substantially, but they did. It's like every car weighs 4 tons and has soap all over the tires. Even after playing for nearly forty hours and having the best cars in the game, I still never got the hang of power sliding -- even though I did it many times every time I drove a car.
In conclusion, I have a lot of gripes with this game, but I don't think they necessarily add up to the sour taste GTA 4 leaves in my mouth. This game just doesn't feel as good as GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas. I'm not totally sure why. I do know that the whole time I played this, I pined for Vice City. I pined for the lush, colorful environments; I pined for the ability to drive down the beautiful, art deco-clad beachside strip. But most of all, I pined for the transcendent fun (really, almost ecstacy!) the past GTA games have provided. Don't believe the hype: This one's a heart crushing dud.
Verdict: Not worth playing
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 24, 2009 5:23:39 PM PST
Dark Mechanicus JSG says:
Subways in the actual New York City are exciting? Seriously? Somebody call Hizzoner---bet even Mayor Bloomberg doesn't know what *some* tourists will pay for!
Posted on May 24, 2009 10:40:58 PM PDT
excellent review. my thoughts exactly on every aspect you identified. This game is boring, repetitive and just plain stupid. I can't believe all the fanboy "super game!!!!!" on the board. I must be missing something. Back to FPS for me. Pat
Posted on May 27, 2009 11:12:42 AM PDT
I don't get this game. It must be me but it is mind-bogglingly repetitive. After the first few hours, I started not caring about the missions and just went on my own exploratory trips of Liberty City. And then I wigged out and starting tagging the denizens of the city and got tagged back!
That got old quickly. I shelved the game and have not played it since.
The fault must lie with me.
Posted on May 31, 2009 11:41:34 PM PDT
Paul Mosier says:
I was saying this from the beginning, check my review. Though nobody believed me at the time it is good to see others have finally realized this.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2009 11:01:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2009 11:02:55 AM PST
C. Johnson says:
yup, haven't played this game in over a year. I stopped playing after I got tired of having to drive to a mission where I had to kill 600 guys in a warehouse, only to die afterwards in the subsequent cop chase. Playing this game was the turning point for me when I really started thinking if it was worth it to spend $60 bucks on a game just because of its hype. I gave this game three stars in my review and I think that was VERY generous. From the poorly handling vehicles, piss poor controls, and the annoying attention starved in game friends that blow up your cell phone every 10 minutes, I have no desire to play this again EVER.
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