Travel to the wind(bag) city!
Now, unlike most professional reviewers, I did not get a copy of GTAIV
soon after launch with a pocket full of cash and a head full of expectations. No, I got it months later, after having gotten Saint's Row 2
soon after launch with a pocket full of cash and a head full of expectations, which that game lived up to.
Now, I'd heard some pretty bad things regarding GTAIV
and how it 'betrayed' its roots somewhat, but as I wasn't paying full price for it (me and my younger brother pooled our money, much as we did with SR2
), I decided to get it anyway.
Man, is it one depressing game!
I mean, not only is the main character, Niko Bellic, just a hive of depression and sorrow, but the entire game seems hell-bent on bumming you out. Pretty much everyone talks about starting their life over (especially Niko), you're constantly faced with he-dies-or-the-other-one-dies decisions and no matter what, at the end of the game you lose one of the mission critical people. It's not so much a game as it is a buzz-killer.
In fact, the few moments of humour in the game are usually caused by one of two people: Little Jacob or Brucie. You'll never tire of listening to either of those two as they'll be the only cheery thing in this dank, depressing game, though you may have to turn subtitles on in order to understand Little Jacob. Then again, there's always the comedy club you can go to, however you can't get to it until you unlock the central island, which sucks.
As you know, the story of a GTA
game reveals itself as it goes along, so saying anything about it here would be like summarising a book. Needless to say, it involves a lot of angry thugs and criminals who want to either hire you, or fire at
And they will likely kill you too. After having played SR2
, I was not used to the cover system implemented in GTAIV
, and as such I ended up dead a lot. Fortunately, you now can retry a mission instantly upon failure, which is something I took for granted. A lot.
One would expect for a GTA
game that there'd be a variety of weapons for you to use, but no such luck here. You've pretty much got only two of each type of weapon to choose from: Meleé, Pistol, Shotgun, SMG, Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle and Thrown. That's a measley 16 guns, nowhere near the amount in GTA:SA
, or SR2
. Give us some more weapons next time, fellas!
Police presence in GTAIV
is different to other titles in the series. Before, you could only evade police by hiding from them, and then it'd go down one star at a time. But here, you can outrun them. When you get spotted by a cop, a circle appears on your radar. Get out of the circle, stay hidden from the cops and you're off the hook. It's childs play with a 1-star rating, but with a 2-star, not only is the circle bigger, but more cops will appear outside the circle too, and if you get spotted by them the circle moves to where you are, and you gotta run again. It gets even harder with 3-star and higher, too.
"But what about the Pay 'N Sprays?" I hear you ask? Well, they're not worth jack now. If you get spotted by a cop going into one (which, if you've got a 3-star or higher rating or a slow car due to either loss of tyres or poor vehicle choice, is pretty much guaranteed), they won't work, leaving you to face the fuzz. Trust me, the words 'The cops saw you enter' will become the most dreaded phrase you can think of.
However, I have to hand it to the game, there is a lot to do. But, as none of it is overly interesting
, it's not exactly redeeming itself here.
Yes, you can go on the game's Internet, but there's nothing good on there aside from mission-critical sites.
Yes, you can go out with a friend, but the result of which is either a small minigame event, a cutscene or just cutting back to the game with a drunk Niko (which is fun, I have to admit)
Yes, you can ride in taxis. Whoopee. That means you don't have to steal cars in a game which is named after the police term for stealing cars!
Yes, you can watch TV, but there's never anything good on. Besides, you'll probably end up watching either poker or the history channel.
Yes, you can buy clothes, but there's not that much variety in them. Heck, there isn't even any vests!
In short, there's a lot to do, but not much incentive to do it. In terms of enjoyment, I'd rather play SR2
. I hate being depressed!