GTA 4 Review (Xbox 360)

Ok…so 12+ hrs later…

Here is my first impressions of GTA IV.

Let me start off by saying that gave this game a 10 and they actually they had a disclaimer at the end of the review explaining that…while not ‘perfect’, for what the game does…in thier eyes it earned a 10….good save.

I am about a good 1/2 way thru the first island’s missions and I have:

  • beat up gangsters threatening my cousin
  • thrown a man out of a window 3 stories to his death
  • Went bowling and played darts
  • Watched the cops arrest a guy for illegal credit cards
  • said no to weed from a ganga smoking Rasta
  • had warm coffee…hint hint…
  • played darts
  • Wrecked enough havoc with the LCPD to make any criminal blush….and
    got away…
  • Made it with some random ho in a park and blew her away
  • Of course, checked out the Strip Club
  • Watched Katt Williams on TV (for some odd reason, not a funny as it
    could be…lol)
  • Saw a magic show
  • Accidentally ran my car into the river and survived!!

Now guess which ones were in a mission and not!

I am going to start off some of the cons of the game and get it over with because while expectations are high, let’s bring it down a few notches and make sure people don’t get too overly hyped about the game.

– display issues: I am not sure what happened here but some some reason Rockstar decided to run this game at 720p. When displayed on my TV, The rght portion of my screen is partially cut off…I can’t really see how many stars I have and sometimes it’s a tiny bit of a challenge telling what weapons are being used or how many bullets you have left.

– ducking the cops: Ok….this is a mixed bag of a new innovation. While I do like the idea of any trouble you start brings up a proximinty circle of where the cops will come to the scene of a crime, sometimes it’s far too easy to get away, even when you have done something that warrants the SWAT team to come in. Even still if after you lose them and come back in almost immediately after the
circle disappears, there is no particular reason for the cops to continually be on the lookout for you….maybe I am nitpicking but at least in other iterations, when you have set off every possible alarm, it was nearly impossible to shake the cops and made getting away very harrowing….because once you got up to 5 and 6 starts the cops were very poersistent….but then…with as apathetic as cops really are, this may be real…LOL.

– Speaking of, no real reprecussions and consequences for actions in some cases: One thing I think I would like to have seen more of is, if you do something, the is a bit more of a reaction for the crowd. For instance, I was at a club and some bouncers tried to jump me, I went to town with my shotgun…maybe 2 or 3 people moved. With the way that the AI was hyped in this game, I was hoping more for a
stampede for the doors and maybe a 911 call. Same with being out on the street, I robbed and shot someone in broad day light….now while a few people ran, most still carried on thier business and not one frantic call to 911…but again…this may be sad testimony to what kind of empathy to people…LOL

And that pretty much are my only issues with the game…as far as
everything else well:

I am very impressed with the storyline and voice acting. This has always been a very top notch standard with Rockstar and GTA games. I also like the fact that if you are with characters during missions, the dialogue doesn’t just happen in the cutscenes, it also flows with you and the NPCs as you travel. For instance, you find out more about what Roman has gotten himself into, Michelle asks about your
stay in America, Little Jacob, if you can understand his heavily West Indian accent explains why he needs someone he can trust to do his errands and so forth, so count on interactions like that throughout the game beyond cutscenes not to mention most missions do seem to run a little differently and sometimes have added twists

I was also graphically and aurally with the environment. The game really pushes the 360’s power! No matter what GTA you have ever played it has always looked kinda sterile despite the grittiness. In this iteration, all you need is smells, good and bad. When you are nicer lookng neighborhoods, you can really tell…when you are in
bad areas…ditto.

And aurally, with all the ambient noices…second only to Assassin’s Creed (despite all the shortcomings of the game, really listen to the background chatter!) in quality to make you almost feel like you are ‘there’.

Everything else that IGN touched on as far as getting around, getting missions and so forth is on point.

The control, once you get the hang of it is fairly decent. The fight controls could have been a bit tighter, but it works.

Now while I did talk a bit down about the AI, let me tell you how it is when it really does work. You can sometimes go along and see some really random occurances in a course of the day.

There is more traffic on the street at 2pm than there is at 2am and this is still depending on what part of town you are in. I saw a random instance in which a cop chased down a thief and held him at gunpoint. I saw people use thier cell phones. I saw where early in the morning you see people out sweeping the sidewalk. I alos noticed that late at night you see more garbage trucks…but what was most
priceless was a womon walking along sipping a soda…walks PAST a trashcan…and drops the cup in the street….yes…she litters!!

Yes, there are so many little nuances in this game that can be picked up on and so much randomness going on that it does make it seem ‘alive’ but you still kind of wish for more but…..that’s not what the whole game is about.

As far as multiplayer, it’s a lot smoother than I thought it was going to be, I really haven’t had a chance to delve estensively into it as of yet but I played around in a set up with 10 people and noticed no lag whatsoever…it’s smooth like butter.

What I will say, and this is one of the reasons why I am not big on doing multiplayers with a whole lot of strangers, is that the kids and the knuckleheads that have gotten this game will abuse the language more than what it needs to be abused. If you got sensitive ears…just be prepared..otherwise I recommend that you find a group of friends and set up your own private match and play.

All in all, GTA IV is the must play game of the year, I can’t fully endorse the 10 unless you count the story and all the random mini games but, so far the game is so tight , that I do believe that Saint’s Row II will have it’s work cut out for it.

SO pick it up, go bowling, make sure you watch TV, and listen out for Jack Thompson’s being a stripper reference!!

   — The Dreddheaded Poet.


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