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Customer Review

42 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can make it here you can make it anywhere., May 17, 2008
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV (Video Game)
Length:: 2:23 Mins

GTA 4's story centers around a sarcastic Eastern European immigrant come to America to get a fresh start away from the corruption and violence of his home country. Whoops. Critics have often harangued the violence and the criminal aspect of GTA, but what flies over their heads is that satire is the premise of the series and always has been. And frankly, the violence here pales in comparison to Gears Of War or Condemned 2: Bloodshot just to name two. GTA's immense popularity is not because of the degeneration of our society (we've got reality television for that), it's because the series is constantly innovating and offering fun spot-on gameplay, brilliant humor, and is a game made by and for an adult audience. So if your child is playing this game, blame yourself for giving your child the means to get it or for not paying attention to what they are doing with their time, not Rockstar for making top-of-the-line entertainment meant for adults (see the markings on the box?).

GTA 4 seperates itself from the past iterations in several ways. First, the arcade feel is largely gone. While the controls are vintage GTA, the overall feel has changed. In previous games, I never got into the story because I would get sidetracked rampaging with katanas and molotov cocktails or hunting for a tank. Now a lot of the distractions like crazy weapons and vehicles and building up your character stats are gone and the story behind the madness is a truly engaging one for the first time. The city is more alive than ever and there is more to do. The characters you meet are all brilliant and interacting with them is seriously fun. Take your girl out to a bar and watch her serious issues surface as she stumbles around slurring curses about "that fu#*ing whore" she thought you were checking out. Or challenge your buddies to bowling, pool, or a friendly game of darts. You ca even head to the comedy club to check out actual routines from Ricky Gervais or Katt Williams. The dialogue during these bonding activities is varied and reveals much about your Liberty City aquaintances, many of whom have special services to offer you should you become close. The entire game is so well-written that one often gets the impression that they are playing a Tarantino flick. Oh yeah, it's that good. The multiplayer aspect is also fun and varied allowing you to battle stangers for Liberty City dominance or just drive around with your friends wreaking havoc. Taking into account the amazing single-player game this really wasn't necessary, but the fact that it is even included just makes this game that much more awesome.

Now all of that is well and good, but what makes GTA 4 the second work I'm upgrading from mere video game status to an official work of interactive fiction (the first was Mass Effect) is the sheer depth of the world in which you exist. So far I have spent multiple hours just surfing the game's internet. That's right, there is a virtual worldwide web in-game complete with dating sites, a Craig's List parody, advertisements, personal blogs complete with flame wars, email, and much more. Hell, you can even download custom ringtones and themes for your cell phone! That is nuts. Do you know how ridiculous it feels to spend that amount of time in a video game surfing a fake internet? There are also several satirical television shows you can watch in your apartment (go Republican Space Rangers!), and naturally there's the radio; the sweet, sweet, sounds of GTA radio stations. There's a rock station featuring Iggy freakin' Pop as the foul-mouthed DJ, classic hip-hop and R&B, smooth jazz, techno, LCHC (Liberty City HardCore), and even an all Bob Marley station just to name a few. Then there's the thinly-veiled talk radio parody station Weazel News featuring the funniest Rush Limbaugh impersonator you're ever likely to hear. You even hear news reports about incidents you were personally involved in as you drive. This game is DEEP.

Honestly, if you like video games or digital entertainment of any kind then this as good as it gets. And if you don't like those things, do your best to hide your ignorance and don't go spouting off about things you don't know anything about. GTA 4 is a brilliant satire full of jabs (and a few haymakers) at American politics and any violence is incidental in comparison to the brilliantly crafted story and interactivity of the in-game world that Rockstar has created. I'll say it again: this is not just a video game, this is interactive fiction on par with some of the great works of modern storytelling. If you own a video game system and you think you can handle some naughty language without getting all hysterical, buy it. It's that simple.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2008 9:54:46 AM PDT
Woopak says:
Hey, T-man, I'm a retired gamer but this film may just get me out of retirement.
Thanks, dude, for the great review

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2008 10:55:09 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
Anytime, man. There have been some killer games this last year that could pull anyone out of retirement. It's amazing how much this stuff has evolved in a relatively short time.

Posted on May 18, 2008 11:56:19 PM PDT
Nice job trashy, I let my 9-yr. old play this, now he's smoking & cussing and punching his teachers, plus a classmate hit 'em with a paternity suit. Sheesh!

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008 2:44:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2008 2:50:53 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
Awesome, Blackshere. Goddamn it, they put a capture with my eyes closed AGAIN! I'll just say I was meditating. Ooooohm. Really, the Man In Black there is saying everything you need to know about American media, too bad the video's a little dark; I meant to end it with a close-up!

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008 10:08:37 PM PDT
Jenny says:
I haven't gotten this yet but the way you put this review together it sounds like one to own. I know they hype it up a lot through the commercials and but so far you and M seem to favor it greatly. I do have a xbox 360 (really my husband) and he likes the shooting games like Fear, Time shift, Bioshock, Games of War, and of course Halo which is my favorite by far.

P.S. Chris you are ruining that boy's innocence, like father like son ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2008 1:19:09 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
My son acts like that and he's not even two. As you say, madame: like father, like son. Plenty of shooting in GTA, but I find the auto-aim to be a pain but the new "Gears" style of cover-based combat is a winner. Whatever kind of game you like this one will most likely scrath that itch. Do what you want, it's that simple. A coworker of mine says her daughter just likes driving around to the shows and playing the minigames and hanging out without even bothering with anarchy. Whatever floats your boat....

Posted on May 24, 2008 11:39:15 PM PDT
I think the real reason that Hillary hates sex in videogames is because she's afraid she'll catch a virtual version of Bill puttin' the pork to Candy Suxxx.

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2008 12:31:21 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
Wow. Did you just read that, Rockstar? I want to see that in the downloadable content. Thanks, Tycho. Man, if I hear one more politician complain about freakin' video games I'll quit reviewing and become a full time clumsy reader of hastily written political rants. That'll show 'em!

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2008 10:26:10 AM PDT
Yeah, fight the fight trashy.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2008 2:22:10 AM PDT
trashcanman says:
Thanks, Lane. Clinton needs to get back to dodging imaginary sniper fire, Lieberman needs to drop dead, and Fox News can eat a big fat.... If anyone out there can explain to me why the leaders of the free world are legitimately afraid of video games please let me know. And please don't misquote discredited studies in your answer. Even Bush isn't that dumb.
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Location: Hanford, CA United States

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