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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV aka the best videogame ever... not!

So for all of you video game nerds, or anyone with a television, you probably have noticed that a certain game has come out and caused a bit of controversy called Grand Theft Auto IV. This will be my full on review. Those of you not interested in video games will see a lot of me talking about pop ups, lag, and mission problems. You probably won't care about any of them. However, I also promise to talk about the ladies of the night, executions of drug lords, and liberal use of curse words.

Things I liked:
1. The plot was the best out of any Grand Theft Auto game before. The plot being an eastern European coming to America with promises of mansions and women from his cousin. He shows up and finds his cousin drunk, living in a slum, and in debt to some very evil people. I wanted to find out more and more until I finally beat it exactly 24 hours into the game.

2. The game engine was much improved. In previous games I found myself surrounded by enemies and without a prayer because the auto-aim system was crap. You might lock onto one drug dealer while a gangster pops you from behind.

3. Hundreds of Easter Eggs (for the non-gamers- extra things hidden in the game that have nothing to do with the game) like the real beating heart in the statue of liberty, the fake Apple adds calling out the computers on their pure ego, no hardware status, and the hundreds of web pages programed into the game for your character to read news stories, finding dates on a match.com like site, or checking your email box filled with spam.

4. The hilarious musings of the residents of Liberty City. One resident told one of my friends that they killed an officer and bragged about it, sure enough a block down the street was a dead officer and a cop car speeding toward the killer. (The cops are abusive Rodney King beating guys, so don't feel sympathy.)

Things I liked to do:
1. Fly the helicopter as high as I could get it and jump out, curling into the fetal position, falling a mile, and landing on an innocent car driving down the highway.

2. Execute virtual people that realistically pissed me off, and then the ensuing cop chase afterwards.

3. Playing multiplayer sessions and taking on the police with two-four friends at a time.

4. Driving as fast as I can, running over people, and slamming into a ramp and crashing into the bay.

Now for the list that if anyone that loves the game reads this will hate me for. Things I hated.

1. Random pop ups. This refers to textures and props that don't load by the time you get to the screen they should be on. The most frustrating was when I was driving down the street and seemed to hit an invisible wall, throwing me through the windshield. As my body hit the ground a lamppost appears. I know that people have accidents with "invisible" lampposts all the time, but normally these people are drunk and belong in jail. Other pop-ups that annoyed me were weeds. A grassy knoll is in front of your car, but as you passed the field weeds pop up. People hate when real weeds pop up in their yards, why should I tolerate virtual weeds.

2. Lag with the online mode. Lag refers to a slowdown in game play when you play over the internet. This game has it bad. I'm driving down the street at 120 Mph in a really expensive car I just stole. The road is clear as far as I can see, then there is a 5 second freeze and when the game starts back up, my car has been stolen by one player and I'm being shot in the head by another player.
2b. I had the above problems when I could connect to a game and wasn't booted from a server.

3. Boring weapons. The weapons are supposedly things such as an AK-47 or Glock, but they have nothing special about them. You might as well call them machine gun and pistol.

4. They took out some vehicles. In previous installations you were allowed to fly a bi-plane, jet pack, and even ride a bike. They took them out of this game. They already had them programmed and models, why the heck not just leave them in.

5. The missions are still drive and gun for the most part. Granted they added some twists to the standard GTA missions, but I was still driving a lot and shooting a lot.

6. Which leads me to my next complaint. Liberty City is a model of New York and part of New Jersey and is made up of 5 islands. To get a mission, you might have to drive three islands from your apartment. A mob boss might jump in your car and tell you to take him somewhere... 4 islands away. Then after you finish killing his competition or collecting money from his ladies he wants you to drive him back home. Essentially I spent something like 14 of the 24 hours of game play driving places so I could play.

This game was given perfect scores from many respectable gaming sites and magazines, but I have to disagree. I feel that most these sites went in thinking the game was awesome (not to mention that they spent many months hyping it up) they gave it a biased review. At most, if I forget about the multiplayer issues, I would give this game a 9.5. Taking into account the multiplayer issues, I can only give it an 8.5, which is still high, but nowhere near the record breaking reviews the game got.

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