Wednesday, May 07, 2008

GTA 4... Overrated?

The following statements reflect the opinion of B Town Big C and not necessarily that of this blog or any other B Town Boy. Thank you.

I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of time at work. Lord knows I'm not taking personal time to post :) It's funny how you can change your mind in 24 hours...

The driving force behind my feelings about GTA 4 is that IGN.com gave this game a 10 out of 10. According to IGN, a console game has not been rated a 10 since 1999. Think of all the games that have come out since then... Is GTA 4 the best game you've played since college?

The first time I played, I thought the answer was a resounding "NO". The graphics are not spectacular... the camera feels broken at times... the missions get fairly predictable. You may or may not steal a car, drive to a location, kill a person or people, and you may or may not then have to run from the cops. Sometimes you do a drug deal to change things up a bit.

But, eventually you get used to the camera. As the game goes along you get introduced to more and more characters. And that's where this game shines. If you haven't talked to Brucie yet, just wait. I won't spoil it for you, but he has to be one of the best personalities I've seen in a game. The formula for the missions stays about the same, but now you get to use sniper rifles, grenades, and the other weapons that make free roam multiplayer so fun. Those weapons do the same for the missions.

Speaking of multiplayer, last night's free roam session was the most fun I've had online since Chump and I got caught (fill in the blank) in the caves playing Halo 3. I think the best part is randomly getting caught up in someone else's something. Somebody running from the cops? Hell yeah I want to jump in their car and ride with them, firing my uzi out the window. The cops are after me? Chump, come pick me up. We gots to go NOW! Juddy wants to race down the freeway? Sure why not. T wants to grab a boat and wreak havoc on the open water? I'd love to fire a rocket into some stuck-up asshole's sailboat. Grab a helo and we'll all head over to Happiness Island and shoot some tourists. Good stuff.

Is this the best game I've played since college? I'm starting to change my mind. I'll say this: it's close. It's definitely the best "sandbox" game I've ever played, and makes Burnout Paradise look even worse than it did before. The character development is beginning to rival that in Mass Effect (supposed to be the new hybrid shooter/RPG genre that is developing). I actually kind of care about Roman and hope he lands that chick someday. Brucie cracks me up everytime he talks or emails or texts. I'm sure I would like Little John or whoever the rasta guy is if I could understand one damn word he says.

Personally I still give the nod to GRAW 2. I would have Goldeneye 007 over GTA4 if we go back to 1996. Do I think GTA4 is a 10 out of 10? No. There are still a lot of technical flaws with the game that simply should not be there. Yesterday I would have said this game was only a little better than Burnout Paradise. One mission and a couple of free roam sessions later and I can say I've definitely changed my mind. This game is a shit-ton of fun and I hope the free roam doesn't get too old too fast.

5 comments:

B Town Chump said...

GTA 4 overrated? Not sure.

I must say that I personally anticipated GTA 4 more than any other X360 title I can remember. I had my copy pre-ordered about 2 months ahead of time, and even shelled out the additional $30 for the Special Edition (which in hindsight really wasn't necessary.) Nevertheless, I've always been a fan of the GTA franchise since Big C gave me my first pirated copy of the original.

When I sold off my old XBOX and games to put money down on GH3, the only games I didn't trade in were GTA3, GTA-VC, and GTA-SA. And let me say that San Andreas was certainly one of my favorite games for the XBOX. The GTA franchise really took a huge leap forward with the release of SA, at least in the arena of game play. The story line was well written and interesting to follow. The late 90's L.A. gangsta was a bit corny at times, but fun nonetheless. And the map varied from downtown San Andreas / Las Angelos to the back-wood country, to a metro Las Vegas which kept the missions unique and entertaining. I've played through the game three times and each time was very fun. If you haven't played SA, I highly recommend you go out and get it as soon as it hits the $20 Classic Bin.

So I was highly anticipating the release of GTA 4. Was I / am I impressed? Well, yes and no. I've only made it about 10% through, and I've still only unlocked one borough in the campaign/mission mode, so I may be jumping to conclusions too soon.

First, in my opinion, the graphics are incredible. Maybe they don't compare to COD4 or similar, BUT they are a hell of an improvement over San Andreas. While I thought SA's graphics were also very good, they do appear a bit boxy, cartoony, and stagnate, whereas GTA4 has a much more realistic look with more detail and awesome dynamic shading. And I must say that the cars this time around look almost exactly like their real counterpart. I'm sure the 5+ years it took to release the next title along with this being the first GTA release on a next-gen system gave the developers a lot of opportunity to upgrade the franchise, and it shows.

As for the game play and missions... blah blah blah. It does seem like the same crap all over again. Go here; do this; get back. There's really no deviation. But really what else can you do? I'm just enjoying seeing the story line play out, and see what happens next. It's like playing in an interactive movie. I'm just waiting for that obligatory plot twist and gratuitous violence / action. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bored with GTA4 right not, not by a long shot, but I can see where simply doing the same thing over-and-over again will get pretty old quickly.

But you've got to give kudos to the online multiplayer. I haven't even touched on most of the games you can join, but the free play mode might just be the best way to experience GTA4. I agree that last night's free roam was the best time I've had since the halo incident. There's just so much you can do. Helicopter fights, Lambo races, loading up the stolen cop car with your buddies, etc... the list goes on and on. I had so much fun, my sides hurt from giggling like a little school girl. Especially after Big C followed me out to the island in Central Park... we were getting along okay, but then I had to shoot him in the head because he refered to it at "my island." Right before he died, his words still echo in my head, "I mean OUR island... OUR island!" LMFAO! Good Stuff.

Do I think GTA4 deserves a 10/10. No way. Maybe an 8. Do I think it's overrated? No. Is it the best game since college? Maybe, but probably not. But I will say this, in my small arsenal of XBOX and 360 games I've played, GTA4 is certainly in my top 5, if not top 3. The jury is still out whether or not 4 outranks SA. I'll have to get back to you on that.

B Town Big C said...

Jesus that was the most fun I've had on an island since my Oceanic flight went down in the Pacific. As soon as I finished saying "...my island." I KNEW I was going to get shot. As I start to say "OUR island" I turned around and saw Chump raising his shotgun. It was already too late. My body was still on the island, but my head was everywhere else.

B Town Big C said...

I also shelled out the extra $30 for the special edition because they were out of the regular. The lockbox is pretty cool, not that I'm ever going to use it as a lockbox though. Maybe I'll keep my headset and battery pack in it. The rest of the stuff? Meh. At least it came with a 1 month gold subscription to Live.

B-Town V.J.G. J Ho said...

Personally, I am still not sure about GTA 4 yet. Fun free roam, but the single player gets boring. Too many cell phone calls. I had more fun playing Saint's Row. Saint's Row has great graphics and some innovations in gameplay.

I may change my opinion after i play it more, but i call it average, with good graphics.

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