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in comparison to the breath-taking technology that Rockstar has built, is lethargic, derivative, and mechanically outdated.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.