GTA IV: An Alternative View

After reading review after review slobbering over the new GTA it was quite refreshing to read this review. It was written by Michael Thomsen over at IGN Insider so if you’re not a subscriber you can’t read it but I’ll hit on a few of his points.

…the game itself, which, in comparison to the breath-taking technology that Rockstar has built, is lethargic, derivative, and mechanically outdated. It’s ironic that, for a series that has served as an emissary for emergent gameplay over the last half decade, GTA IV remains trapped in the story-telling conventions of a PlayStation title, forcing players to sit through long-winded cutscenes that bookend every mission.

Which is what I was trying to get at in the last post.

In truth GTA IV is, like the game’s that preceded it, a painfully limited experience. You have the freedom to choose what kind of car to drive and where to shoot the weapon of your choice. You can choose what radio station to listen to. You can choose what kind of clothes Niko wears. You can choose the women that he sleeps with. But you can’t have any impact on how he accomplishes his goals…. All you can do is drive to the blinking icon on the map, get out of your car, and shoot everyone with a red arrow floating over their head.

Okay but I hear the story though is interesting and we finally have a compelling protagonist.

Rockstar is convinced its tale is one of epic tragedy, forgiving Niko’s homicidal behavior in advance with some simple character arithmetic equivocating hundreds of murders because someone in Niko’s past did something bad to him first…. Niko isn’t an empathetic protagonist; he’s a feckless tool that I found myself rooting against the longer I played.

Well I don’t want to quote too much but he didn’t care much for the game play either. No mention of multi-player but his biggest gripe with the game play was the aiming system. I think this game probably still has a lot of thrills and the instantly gratifying car mayhem and police chases the PS2 GTA’s had. I just can’t see playing this game to the finish.

I’d love to hear more about the multi-player and if you have any dissenting views from me or the author of the review. Is anything said here ringing true or is it backlash spurred stick-in-the-mudness?

I will give the last word to the review author though.

GTA IV could have exemplified the deepest strengths of interactive art: to draw the player through a meaningful experience in an evocative environment. Instead, the game is a compromised train wreck; a sloppy collision between redundant game design, poorly conceived and unconvincing drama and one of the most strikingly beautiful graphics technologies to run on a console.


3 thoughts on “GTA IV: An Alternative View

  1. I hate to say it, but I see a GTA mmo being the only way you can get what you want, Mike.

    Impressions of the game, its just a prettier GTA, minus some of the elements of Vice City (buying property) and San Andreas (working out, gang turf control). Multiplayer sounds kind like Deathmatch in a GTA game (i.e. same old same old).

  2. “I hate to say it, but I see a GTA mmo being the only way you can get what you want, Mike.”

    Why, because RockStar is too lazy? It’s not technichally possible?

    I agree with you if it’s a case of RS raking money in hand over fist and not wanting to bother changing a successful formula.

    Technologically though it’s very possible, Bioware has done what I’m talking about this generation and the one before it, Fable too.

    I wouldn’t get worked up about it if this game didn’t beg to be so much more than it is. I guess if everyone is happy playing it then I’ll shut up.

  3. Well, its pretty obvious that the game is getting 10’s not because its a great game, but because of marketing/paying off microsoft/hype. The same thing happened with Gears of War.

    Fairly generic game gets hyped up to the point that if you call it for what it is, you get shot down. If I had to grade GTA 4, its a 7.5 game. Its solid, but really nothing I haven’t played before. Also, I miss Vice City… 😛

    Steve’s at the Emerald City Comicon, so we may or may not be getting some coverage on that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s