It’s an Evolution Baby

I mentioned that GTA4 failed to revolutionize the series, but instead was another evolutionary step in the franchise; that’s not a bad thing. If you loved previous GTAs then new additions like being thrown through the windshield of your car during a particularly violent accident are nice touches (ok, that sounds a little sociopathic).

The physics in GTA4 are quite possibly the biggest change from earlier games, they are far more realistic - in some cases this is a good thing, in others its a bit annoying. People react more realistically when you hit them with cars or shoot them in the legs, but it also takes longer for you to do things like run up a flight of stairs (also contributing to the game’s slow-control).

Niko, our loving GTA4 protagonist, now has a cell phone that he can use to communicate with other characters in the game. It’s a nice touch, but it’d be even nicer if he had an Internet-enabled smartphone so you wouldn’t have to drive to the nearest Internet cafe to check your email. I guess in GTA5 the main character will rock an iPhone.

You also get use of a GPS, which can give you turn by turn instructions on how to get to your destination. Unfortunately, if the route isn’t plotted automatically by the mission, it’s a bit of a pain to get it started; you have to pause the game, go to the map menu and click on your destination. You’d lose part of the realism but it’d be nice to be able to plot your route directly from the cellphone, since that’s how you receive a lot of instructions on where to head next.

The loading screens are definitely annoying in GTA4, although no where near as frustrating as San Andreas. I’m told that the Playstation 3 version gets around this problem by installing the game to the hard drive, but with everyone I know purchasing the Xbox 360 version I had no choice. Thankfully the loading screen is pretty much limited to before and after cutscenes in the single-player game, its presence in the multiplayer modes is far more frustrating the more I think about it. Actual gameplay is never interrupted by loading in single-player but it’s annoying nonetheless; it contributes to the overall slow/sluggish feeling I get from GTA’s gameplay.

Grand Theft Auto 4 is one of those games where you can, over time, adjust to its pace and controls. The problem is that switching between it and any one of the many faster paced games on the market will throw you off.


I used to love the multiplayer in the old top-down GTAs and admittedly haven't clocked enough hours in the GTA4 multiplayer modes to provide a full analysis but what I will say is this:

1) My complaints about controls are amplified when you get to multiplayer. The games are much more fast paced and thus sluggish controls are even more frustrating.

2) The load times between respawns are frustrating. While the actual loading itself may not be any longer than a respawn in Halo 3, you're left looking at a black screen with the word "Loading" in the corner - making it feel much longer.

3) There's a party system, yay. The party system isn't a carbon copy of what Bungie did for Halo 2/3, boo. At some point I'm hoping Xbox 360 game developers will start taking Halo's party/matchmaking system seriously, because it makes a huge difference when playing with friends. I liked Gears of War, but the lack of a Halo-esque party/matchmaking system meant that once Halo 3 came out, my friends and I dropped it entirely.

The multiplayer itself can be a lot of fun, especially with friends. Even though the various multiplayer modes are very objective oriented, you can still wreak havoc in Liberty City just as well - the difference being that you can do it with friends. That being said, I'm not sure how long the multiplayer will be enjoyable, but for now it's entertaining.

The Ugly is in the Controls Controversy: I Has It
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  • larzemodo - Monday, May 12, 2008 - link

    "The reviewer sounds like someone who is not only new to game reviews but new to gaming. The comments about the depth of field and the animation were both painful and hilarious to read...I guess they deserve some credit for being able to invoke such diametrically opposed emotions."

    - I totally agree, nuff said.

    - Depth of Field is a per-pixel effect and is very draining for any GPU at high resolutions, it combined with motion blur can bring a much more photographic experience, simulating acethetics qualities found in film. For GPUs these two graphical effects are in my oponion are most effective SFX in computer games I have ever seen.

    OK GTa4's Depth of field is far from perfect, it still adds to the overall sense of scale, And when your Drunk it looks awesome!!
  • hvypetals - Monday, May 12, 2008 - link

    seems like the reviewer just wants to be different for differents sake.

    its blurry a block or two away? umm.. yeh so what. you cant be in two places at once. like you need to see the ants crawling on the moon?

    its one thing to be unbiased, its another to hold the game to an unrealisticlly high bar.

    and i had a shootout with cops in a building and had no troubles in the confined spaces just using the free aim and not the auto lock. if you would have read the directions you would see you could do both.

  • raj14 - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    Finally a review that comes off as professional and well written, and not as some 15 year old teenager drooling over a popular title.

    Please review more games!
  • Schnoogs - Tuesday, May 6, 2008 - link

    The reviewer sounds like someone who is not only new to game reviews but new to gaming. The comments about the depth of field and the animation were both painful and hilarious to read...I guess they deserve some credit for being able to invoke such diametrically opposed emotions.

    This isn't a Pixar're not gonna wow even a casual gamer with your complete ignorance of animation and what is considered realistic today.

    Perfectly in focus boxes on the horizon aren't very realistic. The fact that you seem to prefer that over depth of field is a bit scary seeing as that is how both real life and movies look. Knocking this game for obtaining that realism is silly especially when in the next paragraph you go on to knock the animation for not being realistic. So which is it? You want realism or you don't?

    Stick to hardware. That's what you guys do best.
  • tEthiC - Sunday, May 4, 2008 - link

    I've played the game an hour orso, I'm a PC FPS player and i've played the previous versions of GTA. I really have to agree, the cover system annoys me, walking slow annoys me, car handling isnt that fun too anymore, camera always looks in the wrong direction when turning slow, pretty annoying. Aiming and shoot buttons are really not ez getting used too, they're all on the wrong place(PS3). (all of these problems are probably coz i hate aiming with a controller instead of mouse/keyb)

    i really wasnt that much impressed like those other 100% score reviewers, really don't get where this game is that much better than san andreas, it looks and feels the same (on a normal CRT television)
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    *IF* this was not meant to be a review, then it should never have been put on the website, period. Should have been put on your blog page, and left there.

    Most of us who care enough about GTA really do not care what your thoughts are, and we will buy a copy of it *when* it gets put out for the PC.
  • dingetje - Monday, May 5, 2008 - link

    what a bs comment...i liked this speak for your lonely self.

    i would like to know more about thr rumour that this game crashes consoles and even damages them though
  • Andrewsacar - Monday, June 7, 2021 - link

    Does GTA 5 have cheat codes? can gta san andreas codes be used, some poeple are waiting for gta 6 but rockstar hasn't announced it yet.
  • fragbait666 - Thursday, May 1, 2008 - link

    i hope this comes out for PC soon
  • unbaisedgamer - Thursday, May 1, 2008 - link

    Just as people bash magazines and websites for giving the game a 10, so should you people be bashed for jumping on the "hate the mainstream" bandwagons.

    The majority of gamers will find this game to be a 9-10. Fans of the series will find the game to be a 10.

    There will be plenty of people who hate it because its popular. There will also be players who dislike the genre.
    There will be players who are fanboys and toute their system as the superior version.
    There will also be players who just don't enjoy the game.

    All that's fine, but alas we are all drops of water in an ocean. If you didn't like it, there will be a million other people who loved it.

    Honestly though, fanboys and people who hate all things mainstream are wastes of space.

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