Saturday, May 03, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV Review

Grand Theft Auto IV cover This is the first Grand Theft Auto in the series that I've owned. Some of the cons I mention may be traditional GTA features that are kept for nostalgic reasons and the pros I mention may be GTA standards that are always there and aren't special.

I bought the game while I applied for jobs at the mall. The Source needed an 18+ ID, and being 17, I didn't produce an ID. I went to HMV, and after applying there, I asked about GTA4. The cashier said I had to be 17. SCORE! So if you're 17, go to HMV :) I didn't even have to produce an ID because I had my Engineering clipboard to hold my resumes and the cashier thought it made sense that I'm 17 if I'm in University.

Jack of all Trades

After a couple days of playing it, I'd say the game is a jack of all trades master of none. I don't think it deserves the 10/10 that IGN gave it. This game has everything. Billiards, bowling, swimming, open world roaming, street racing, watch TV etc. I haven't confirmed for myself but you might even be able to play some sports. If GTA4 gets any better, this might be the one game you need for everything. If you combine 20 genres of PS1 or PS2 games, and add a little bit of PS3 capability in the mix, you get GTA IV.

The Cons

None of them are that exceptional. Billiards has no physics. The ball has to be exactly in the hole. If 75% of it was in the hole, it wont fall in. The driving is weird. Most cars feel like muscle cars and few have decent handling. The brakes are slow too. In a real car, step on the brakes a little and the car pretty much stops (and if you're going fast enough you die). I'm getting the hang of driving but I don't think it can be compared to GT5:Prologue like Dan was comparing it, or even arcade-style racing like Need For Speed. The AI is dumb. You see someone running in the street, what do you do? You let them hit you and complain after? A lot of cars turn without the right of way. I'm going straight on a green, it turns yellow and they start turning. I mean sure, right turns are legal, but they make left turns. The cops are dumb too - but I guess that's part of the game otherwise if they kept a record on you, you'd never be able to step out of your apartment. How fast the time goes is quite horrible. A red light lasts 5 minutes on the cellphone's clock. A green light lasts half, maybe 1 minute. If you're late for picking up your friend by 3 minutes, they don't want to go anymore? Wouldn't happen IRL. Lastly, although a lot of games have food as health regenerators, this game should've been a little more creative. Hotdogs? =/ Use bandages or something! Even resting at your apartment could be the health regen or regen over time.

The Pros

The graphics are the best part of this game. It's nothing like CoD4 graphics for landscape, nor GT5:Prologue graphics for cars, but it's damn good for such a huge map, lots of cars, buildings, etc. If you walk on sand, it keeps your footprints for a good while. I kept walking in circles for 3 minutes and my first footstep was still there, so I gave up. The water is pretty awesome too. The splash is more realistic than the waterfall in CoD4's creek, and looks pretty much like a Warhawk sliding right on top of the water. The dynamic weather is awesome, although night gets a bit too dark. Other than Warcraft 3, this might be the only game I've seen that has night and day. The hand combat and gun fighting are awesome parts of the game too. It's better than Warhawk's gunfighting. And the fact that you can swim, fly a copter, drive, walk, run, jog, all in one game is great too. The physics of free roam is pretty cool. You get off a car when it's too fast and you get hurt. You get hit by a fast car, you get hurt a lot. Hit by a slow car, you just fall to the ground.

Hardware Issues

So far the only issues I've had is with online play. After an hour of online play, the game froze. I waited for a long time and it didn't stabilize. I reloaded the game and not even my single player would load. However, after a hard shutdown (flipping the switch on the back), it's working again. Another problem I've heard about but haven't experienced is the game doesn't work at all. Apparently this happens with the original 60GB PS3, and the limited Special Edition of GTA4. So just keep a note of that.