Posted by FlyAtTheThigh | 6/26/2008 11:09:00 AM | Grand Theft Auto IV, Video Games
I know I said I was going to do a Metal Gear Solid 4 one, and I think that one is still coming, but seeing as I actually played and beat GTA, then I figured this one would be more relevant.
What an amazing game. That's really the only way to start it. A lot of games these days actually try to make you believe that you're playing a movie by throwing long, elaborate, and boring cut scenes at you as much as possible. What that does in reality is to make the gameplay sparse and really second fiddle. And in a game, shouldn't gameplay be number one? I think so.
And this is where GTA succeeds. Instead of hitting you with 15-20 minute cutscenes, you get 1-2 minute scenes that really push the story forward. The voice acting during those scenes is awesome. Because they are so short and integral to the plot, you actually cannot wait until you get to see the next one. What is the main character, Niko Bellic, being asked to do this time? Clear out a strip club owned by a rival gang member? Chase someone in a boat? Unleash a rocket launcher from the side of a helicopter as a politician tries to escape?
The interaction between characters is amazing. All of the characters are borderline unbelievable in their traits...Brucie's roided up, Barry Bonds-persona, Jacob's unintelligible rasta-speak, Dwayne's suicidal "gangsta" schtick...but the way that these secondary characters play off of Niko is indicative of the attention to detail paid by Rockstar when they put this bad boy out.
The radio features in the car is. as always, way above average. The only fault is that it's really, really repetitive. This is fine if you're going with the music channels, which feature offerings from Smashing Pumpkins, Deep Purple, Queen, and The Who (amongst others). If you're like me, however, and you love to listen to the talk radio portions, you'll find that you've heard all there is to hear about an hour or two into the game. Although I could listen to Judge Grady over and over.
In short, this is a game that wows you with amazing gameplay (the new cover system is a God-send compared to the old way of shooting in GTA), an interesting story, and characters that you actually care about. Add that in to two endings, online play, post-story free play (for achievement hounds), and a moment in the end that really makes you feel for Niko Bellic (in the Revenge ending, that is). This is a game that you should go find, immediately. If you can find it used and at a discount, jump on it because I cannot imagine there being that many people who have elected to return it.
I give this bad boy a 9.5/10.