About Us | Game Reviews | Feature Articles | Podcast | Best Work | Forums | Shop | Review Game

Grand Theft Auto IV Review

Daniel Weissenberger's picture

Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) Screenshot 

The term sociopath was coined primarily because "psychopath" had too many negative connotations. It describes people, the Gary Ridgeways and Henry Kissingers of the world, who have absolutely no conscience. It's a blanket term used to describe people suffering from a wide variety of mental problems, the most interesting and relevant to this review being Antisocial Personality Disorder. A combination of antipathy, violently impulsive behavior, and a general disrespect for the rules of society, APD is the medical community's way of explaining that criminals are, almost to a man, suffering from a psychological defect. What does this have to do with Grand Theft Auto IV? Simple. In their attempts to make a grittier, more realistic game, Rockstar North has offered the world one of the best fictional portraits of the pure sociopath in recent memory.

The ninth installment in the long-running Grand Theft Auto series, GTA4 doesn't reinvent the wheel, nor should it be expected to. The move from GTA2 to GTA3 was as significant a leap in gameplay design as Mario's move to the '64 had been, and could even be called the birth of a new genre, if DMA Design hadn't pioneered all the core gameplay mechanics in the underrated Body Harvest three years earlier. For the past seven years, Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) have refined and tweaked a simple trio of gameplay concepts: 1: Shoot people. 2: Steal their cars. 3: Use those cars to run other people over. GTA4 is nothing more than the latest refinement of that concept, offering only two major additions: A wonderful multiplayer mode, and a truly compelling story, replacing Bully as the company's finest.

Technologically speaking, GTA4 is a borderline triumph. While the graphics don't offer the fidelity of many other titles, and the textures are blurrier than next-generation gamers have come to expect, the game looks far better, and more importantly, performs far better than any GTA game before it. There's still the occasional "GTA Speedbump", that unhappy circumstance when a car crashes into nothing at all, and then a second later a telephone pole is drawn in, but by and large all issues of appearing scenery and disappearing behicles have been resolved, and it makes the game world seem all that much more authentic.

Authenticity is the watchword here, as the developers have gone to absurd lengths to depict a 1/5 scale (or thereabouts) depiction of New York City. It's nowhere near so exact that I'd imagine residents of New York are going to be driving by their own apartments and marveling at how well they were modeled, but it certainly has the look and feel of an actual city, one of the first in videogame history.

This push towards realism in game design has affected the missions as well, and it's a change for the better. While there are probably those out there who enjoyed the hugely pyrotechnic or otherwise outlandish missions of the last few games, I wasn't one of them, and I was pleased to see GTA4 going back to basics. Most of the missions involve driving to a location and shooting a couple of people, or shooting a couple of people while driving to a location. Every now and then I'd be asked to drive a boat somewhere or chase someone with a helicopter, but by and large I kept to simple gangland enforcing and executions.

Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) Screenshot

What keeps the more basic mission structure from getting stale or tedious is the level of satisfaction the combat offers. This satisfaction is due in small part to an improved targeting system, and in a much larger part to the brand new progressive animation system called Euphoria. Instead of canned actions or string-cutting ragdoll physics, enemies are now made up of simulated skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems, allowing them to react naturally when shot, recoiling from the impact of a shoulder hit, stumbling if shot while running, or crumpling awkwardly when instantly killed by a bullet to the head. It looks so good and feels so authentic that I found myself eagerly anticipating each new gunfight, so I could watch the new ways there were for my enemies to crumple and die.

Just as developers fell all over themselves to include Havok physics a few years back, GTA4's release has not doubt led to the "Euphoria" people's phones ringing off the hook. Frankly, I'll be shocked if in 18 months time there's a shooting game that doesn't use this new kind of character animation, or some variation thereof. For that reason, I almost don't want to give GTA4 too much credit for the animation—after all, soon enough almost every game will sport it—but still, based on the game's sales so far, this is going to be most people's first experience with Euphoria, and the unbridled joy it brings to people looking to shoot fictional people within the confines of their television screens.

The one place these amazing physics don't appear, however, is the multiplayer. All human-controlled characters are immune to the effects of gunfire, and can soak up bullets unaffected until their health runs out and they collapse. I understand why this choice was made, after all, if player characters reacted authentically to wounds, whoever got hit first would lose the gunfight. Despite the rest of the game's shift in that direction, it's simply not the kind of brutal realism that most people going online are looking for.

Luckily that absence of physics and a needlessly awkward method of going online are pretty much the only things wrong with the multiplayer mode, which is something of a revelation in all other respects. I don't suppose it should really be much of a surprise that the game works so well with extra human players. After all, I've been riding along with AI partners for a couple of games now, and San Andreas featured an experimental co-op mode. What is surprising is just how naturally the game's aesthetic encourages teamplaying. Going online only with complete strangers, whenever I started a team adversarial mode I always found people willing to pull their cars to the curb and let me in so I could help with the shooting. Everyone I played with just seemed to agree that not only was it more practical to have a car full of guns, it made the game more fun, as well.

Even better than the adversarial modes are the co-operative ones. Made for four players, each of the game's three co-op missions have the players teaming up to take down armored cars, rob drug dealers, and blow up boats. The greatest compliment I can give these levels is that during the single player game I found myself wishing that I could invite a friend into the game to ride shotgun on some of the more difficult missions, rather than having to rely on the always-awkward AI partners. I don't know what Rockstar has planned for their downloadable content, but so long as there are new co-op missions, I'll be buying them.

Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) Screenshot

While the multiplayer may be great, it's the story that really stands out in my mind. Well, not actually the story, but rather the story's main character. While the plot is the standard crime game tale of warring factions, betrayal, and revenge, Niko Bellic, the game's star, is anything but the standard issue anti-hero. Rather, he's a fully realized person. A tragic monster fuelled by nothing but hate, he's the best lead the series has ever had. Not that there's a lot of competition. GTA3 offered a mute, personalityless cipher, Vice City gave us Tommy Vercetti, a vicious psychopath motivated by an overwhelming desire to control everything around him, while San Andreas featured the most disturbed of all the characters, CJ, a self styled Robin-of-the-'hood who used claims of familial responsibility and moral relativism to convince himself that all of his mass murdering was somehow justified.

Niko Bellic is an entirely different breed of deviant in that he has almost no motivation of any kind, beyond a dedication to his cousin, and a simple desire to punish the people he feels are responsible for leaving him a hollow shell of a man. He finds himself swinging from master to master, playing both sides for his own benefit, but he never has much of an overall plan. Niko kills some people, has sex with others, and helps out a rare few, but strangely he doesn't seem to derive joy from any of it. Unlike the player's presumptive attitude, Niko never gets any pleasure from the mayhem he causes.

An entirely passive man, Niko fully believes himself to be a product of his environment. Various allusions are made to his time in the Army, and all of the atrocities he was forced to commit during the endless wars of the formerly communist republics. What makes him fascinating is that Niko has allowed himself to be completely defined by these actions—the government turned him into a criminal, so that's what he is, and nothing else. In one chilling speech, he mentions having been a slaver in passing, the way a normal person might talk about their time working at a fast-food restaurant.

Normally main characters in games are ciphers so that the player can make decisions without acting "out of character", since there's no character to be acting out of. Here the developers have done the seemingly impossible, created a character for whom no decision would seem surprising. Even suicide seems like a natural choice for a man so bereft of any emotion. At a few of points in the game the player is forced to make what would normally be a moral choice, but here is framed in a much harsher light, with Niko being forced to choose between a side that offers cash, and a side that appeals to his sentimentality. The player isn't asked to choose between good or evil, but rather greed or narcissism. By putting the player in such an unremittingly bleak position, the developers have done something amazing, and provided the game industry with one of its most well-rounded characters, up at the top of the heap with Kiryu from Yakuza.

It's in the shadow of the story's success that I began to find the game's failures, though. The first of these problems is the game's huge tonal schizophrenia. While the game's story does everything but stand on a desk and hold up a sign that reads "TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!!!" the rest of the game's content resides squarely in the middle-school potty-humor gutter that it's been wading in for over a decade. I doubt there's anything more unpleasantly jarring in the game than listening to Niko tell the awful story of how he discovered his aunt's body after she had been raped by soldiers and tortured to death, while driving past a salacious billboard for "Pisswater Beer". The series's attempts at satire have always been on the weak side, but they benefited by largely being set in the past—since the GTA games were the only ones still making jokes about Reagonomics or the Rodney King trial, at least there was an element freshness to them. Or if not freshness, at least an element of being the thing that doesn't get thawed out too often. Now that the game is set in the present day, the targets they choose to take shots at are all incredibly familiar: Fox News, spam e-mail, conservative politicians who are secretly gay—they've been covered by literally everyone else, and much better than they are here.

Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) Screenshot

Things also get a little rough on the combat mechanics front as well. The hand to hand combat is pretty much a wash, but in the entire game the player is only forced to fistfight once or twice, and that's just so they can learn how to do it. The gun combat is definitely an improvement—finally bowing to the peer pressure of every other third-person shooter, GTA4 at long last implements a decent targeting and cover system. Aping Everything or Nothing, the targeting system allows players to lock on to enemies, and then fine-tune their aim with the right thumbstick. This lets players choose between spraying bullets in their opponent's general direction or carefully seeking out headshots, depending on their tastes. The cover system isn't quite as successful. While targeting and blindfiring work well enough, for some reason it's impossible to lean out from cover without shooting, despite the fact that every other game with a cover system allows players to do so. This means that in order to fire accurately, the player has to lock on to an opponent and pull the trigger, which initiates the "leaning out of cover" animation. The second this animation takes can mean the difference between a hit or a miss on opponents that use cover, and if the player wants to adjust their aim, they have to do so while continuously firing, since letting go of the trigger button even momentarily will cause Niko to duck back behind cover. I can't imagine how this mistake was made—literally every other game has figured this one out, so how did Rockstar not? Do they just not want players to have a good gunfighting system?

The combat is also harmed by the fact that the enemies have no AI to speak of. Once in a blue moon an enemy will run towards or away from Niko, but for the vast majority of the time they will either stand still, firing away, or duck in and out from behind a single piece of cover. Almost no strategy is required to kill them, just a basic understanding of how to use cover and the ability to flick the targeting reticle between a number of static targets. If the Euphoria-powered animations didn't make actually shooting people such a pleasure, I'd go so far as to call the game's combat a disappointment.

There's also a problem with the size of the city. While considerably smaller than San Andreas, the last game's location, Liberty City still takes an awful lot of time to drive around. The driving is fun enough that this isn't a chore for the first dozen or so hours, but by hour twenty, when every mission asks the player to drive from one end of the map to the other, let's just say I started taking a lot of cabs, the game's helpful way of allowing the player to warp around the map in a flash.

While Liberty City is a huge, beautiful location, I was surprised by just how little there was to do in it. Perhaps because of the move towards realism in the game, Ambulance and Fire Truck missions have been removed, as have the mysterious "packages" that seemed to litter the ground of Liberty City last time around. Gone with them are the unlockable perks. Players can't become fireproof, nor are there ever any respawning weapons available at their cribs. Luckily Vigilante Missions remain, allowing the player to clean up the streets, although for no reward beyond a sense of self-satisfaction. This seems to have been a last-minute change, though, since a line of dialogue in the game explicitly states that the police car missions should be paying, they just don't.

Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) Screenshot

This dearth of activities also shows up in the social networking system, which has been expanded quite a bit since San Andreas. Now Niko doesn't just have to take girls out on dates, but all of his friends as well. When the player completes certain mission lines, his employer becomes a "friend" who will call him on his cell phone and want to hang out. This hanging out can involve getting some food, playing minigames, or going to see a show, and it takes up far more time than it really ought to. Not only because there are so many friendships that need to be maintained, but because there are so few places to hang out and do things in the city. One would think that a place like Liberty City would have a restaurant or bar on every corner, but one would be very, very wrong. Every time one of these "dates" begins the player has to drive to pick up their friend within an hour of game time (about two minutes), and then drive them across town to someplace they want to hang out. Of course, the entire social aspect of the game can be ignored, but since these friends and girlfriends are the game's only source of helpful perks, like cheap guns, health boosts, and resetting the wanted meter, the player would be put at quite a disadvantage by ignoring them.

Perhaps the most frustrating mistake the game makes is in the car combat. When this works, it's one of the game's bright points, as passengers blast away at other cars, shredding metal, blowing out wheels, and slaughtering the occupants, but when it fails, the game is crippled by that failure. I can't understand, for example, why passengers in a car are restricted to using pistols and submachine guns, the same way the driver is—sure it makes sense that a person driving a car has just one free hand, but why can't the person riding shotgun use a, well, shotgun? A far bigger problem is that the car-chase missions are divided up into two distinct styles: Free-form and Scripted. In the free-form chases the player can shoot out wheels, run the enemy off the road, really do anything they like. In the scripted missions, the enemy car can't be destroyed until it reaches a specific point on the map where an event is triggered. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell the player which missions are which, so more than once I found myself emptying hundreds of round of SMG fire into a car, puzzled as to why it refused to catch on fire.

Some of GTA4's problems can be attributed to the developers' desire to hold features over from previous incarnations, and the rest seem to be caused by the understandable lack of focus that results from attempting to create a truly epic game world. All of these problems are outweighed by what the game gets right, both in the superlative story it tells and the unprecedented freedom the multiplayer mode offers. The GTA franchise is a funny one. Sometimes a sequel will be a leap forward in gameplay design and overall fun (like 3, or San Andreas), but other times they'll wind up being little more than an exercise in wheel-spinning or cashing in (Vice City and the Stories titles). GTA4 is certainly a step in the right direction, and I'm really looking forward to whatever the series has in store for us next. That being said, I hope that now they've produced a new engine that they can milk for the forseeable future the developers at Rockstar North take the time to iron out some of the larger problems next time around. Oh, and while I'm hoping for things, as a longtime fan of the series and knowing how much Rockstar North enjoys going back to the well, I'd like to formally request that the next game be set either in the near-future dystopian city of GTA2, or the "swinging London" of GTA: London 1969. Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Disclaimer: This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

According to ESRB, this game contains: blood, intense violence, strong sexual content, use of drugs and alcohol, partial nudity, strong language

Parents should keep their children far, far away from this game. I know that all of their friends are going to be playing it, but seriously, you're a parent. Grow some backbone. The content listing should have made the point clearly enough, but just in case you don't know what those words mean, let me make this absolutely clear: among other things, the game features strip clubs, endless headshots, drug dealing, implied and threatened torture, and plenty of offscreen sex. If your older teens beg for it, fine, but it's not to be played by anyone who confuses fantasy with reality.

GTA Fans can rejoice, this is everything that you had hoped it would be. Sure, all of the RPG elements of San Andreas have been pruned out, but the tradeoff is a fantastic story and incredibly entertaining multiplayer mode, so don't be too sad that you can't make Niko eat burgers until he's a waddling tub.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers should be pretty safe with this one. The onscreen HUD is great at keeping you oriented, the subtitling extends even to some of the incidental dialogue, and Niko's in-game cellphone can even be set to vibrate, so the controller shakes in your hand whenever you're getting a call. Rockstar North has really shown a dedication to accessibility with this one.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   PC  
Developer(s): Rockstar North  
Publisher: Rockstar  
Series: Grand Theft Auto  
Genre(s): Shooting   Open World  
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

This game has gotten perfect

This game has gotten perfect or near-perfect reviews around the board. I'm glad someone finally took the time to take off their hype spectacles and give the game an honest review. It's pretty damn far from perfect, although I would still classify it as a "great" game.

I don't think it raises the bar for anything, though. If Rockstar owned and developed the Euphoria Engine it might be some feat that they implemented it. Rather, like you said, it will pop up in more and more games as time goes on. And better gunplay - which GTA has needed for a while now - is great, but it's not inventive; they just implemented a standard set by existing shooters (and somewhat half-assedly).

Probably the most disturbing thing about this game is how you're given so much money but can't actually spend it on anything... Why carry 500 grand if you can't buy a safehouse or helicopter or tank or something?

Hopefully the next game in this series will improve on the improvements and bring back the fun stuff that worked in the previous games that they inexplicably left out. Why it's realistic to murder everyone on a Most Wanted list for money but not realistic to put out fires or run a taxi part-time is beyond me.

You must not have put enough time into the game...

I agreed with everything you said up until the last paragraph. You can, in fact, do taxi missions for your Roman's taxi service. Just call him up and ask for a job. I've seen a lot of people complain about how there aren't taxi missions in this game, but I know for a fact there are since I've personally played through them.

O Danny Boy

After your controversial (to say the least) review of Halo 3, I'm surprised you have the guts to give yet another extreme (relatively-speaking) review.

I sort-of agreed with your Halo3 review, but thought you were generally nit-picking and too harsh with the score; an 8/8.5 would have been more accurate. So I now read your GTA4 review with that in mind.

Interesting character you are Daniel.

I wait with amused anticipation for the stream of abuse and counter-abuse you are about the recieve for giving this game anything less than 9.5!

Idiotic Review

The reviewer clearly just wished to stand out as the one person who didnt believe the game was perfect. He was putting his personal opinions aside in order to stand out as a reviewer. Pathetic.

GTA IV does not dissapoint!!!!

I find it crazy that people (cough the reviewer) look at what negatives they find. How can you say this game is not a major innovation in anyway? It is the first game in history to create a world that is so in depth and beleivable that it surpasses film as a medium. The innovation is not a gimmick word or phrase such as '3D' or 'unreal engine 25' or whatever, the innovation here is the detail and cohesion of everything tying in together so seamlessly. This game has single handedly given video games some self-respect respect. Games today are so diverese that it is hard to compare many, but GTA IV has blurred the line between film and games in my opinion. It is like a kick ass 5* gangster movie that you are in and happens to last anywhere between 25-100 hours.

This game is above the hype created, only people who shouldn't even be playing games can complai that they are dissapointed.

I agree with most of this.....except

I think its stupid to say that Vice City was a step backwards and San Andreas was a step forwards. I mean vice city introduced helicopters.....jumping out of the car while going....motorcycles...and a character that could actually speak. Furthermore it had a better story than three and undisputedly the best soundtrack of any of the games. You could tell there was a lot of heart put into that game. And in my eyes San Andreas was just shit....a lot of shit...but still shit....all it introduced was sucky multi player people that could ride with you and jets....and i thought the graphics sucked and the story to....

It's comical how he rates in

It's comical how he rates in 'diggs' and how his review is so off base and he's got his facts wrong as well.

I'm surprised he's allowed to even review anymore..lol

'Dig' this, already 30 sites gave this masterpiece at perfect 100, and this clown gives it a 80/100.

And iv'e seen better reviews by gamers then this joke.

(btw: is it a perfect 100? no. But it's the closest we have seen in the past 10 years)

Fanboys.

Wow, look at all the fanboys going crazy! GTA 4 is a great game! fantastic even! but not perfect and so a 10 is a little OTT, the game is still GTA with whistles and bells on, and so it deserves in my opinion a 9, 10 should be saved for the MMO where we get a mapped out version of the real world where you have limitless possibility.

IGN even stated the game was NOT perfect..but then still gave it a 10 which in my opinion devalues the score system.

He's not rating in Diggs,

He's not rating in Diggs, that would be something entirely different. For those of you who can't find the numerical score, highlight the blank space after the article. Magic!

He's trying to get you to read the content, and not just look at the score, by the way. Apparently that's not working too well, but kudos to him for trying - I personally agree with his method, if not all of his opinions.

A review written to smite fans and other reviewers.

I don't like sounding like some random whiner about a bad review for a game I enjoy but this review or more precisely its score feels like little more than a reactionary review in response to all of the 10/10s the game has gotten. Problems are maganified to sound much worse then they actually are and the cover mechanic is second only to Gears of War's.

This is further displayed by the knock on the GTA series' humor as a whole. Just because its vulger doesn't mean its juvenille and although there are some admittedly juvenille shop names the actual spoken dialogue and story are quite intelligent along the same lines as The Departed or Scarface.

Another thing I can't quite get my head around is the feverish nitpicking of the car combat. Yes you can't use a shotgun as a passenger but that doesn't make or break the game's combat while in cars also very often the game tells you whether or not you're supposed to just kill everyone in another car or whether you're supposed to pull them over by stating that you must get something from them.

This review really doesn't change anything for me, the game still rocks and is as close to perfect a game I have ever played but still it feels more like this review was written to smite fans of the game and to give the finger to other review outlets who game the game a perfect or near perfect score rather than give a clear and objective personal opinion.

Wondered how long it would

Wondered how long it would be till someone wanted to stand out by giving this an unfair review. While, like every other game out there, GTA IV isn't perfect, it's got to be the closest game to it. And what's more is that there's about 30 times as much content in this game than anything else out there, all of it being absolute quality.

8.5/10? Not the wisest burger, are we?

GTA

Edge UK gave this game a 10/10. That magazine is really harsh. They only gave Oblivion 8/10, Gears of War 8/10, Mass Effect 7/10 amongst others. Trust me if they give it 10, there is a pretty good F***ing reason to.

No game is ever going to be perfect, nothing in the world is perfect there is no such thing. Soem where down the line there is always going to be a compromise based on the technology of the day.

GTA deserves a 10 because it is such a step up in quality, and will influence many games for the next few years. Developers with games in progress will think f*** me we need to go back and do this properly and that properly etc etc. GTA has risen expectations of games in generally, nuff said!

And? Super Mario Galaxy get

And? Super Mario Galaxy get from EDGE a 10/10, too. And on this site "only" a 9/10.

nearly

To say Vice City was a step back is to ignore the huge stylistic advances made in that game. Not having played GTA4 yet IMHO Vice City is the best of the GTA3 series.

Influence games, how? What

Influence games, how? What did GTAIV do that is so revolutionary? All of its gameplay elements were existing concepts, either from previous GTA games or other games. The only thing really unique to GTAIV is its story. The Euphoria engine which makes interaction with NPCs seem more lifelike than usual is an engine that will be used by other developers. Rockstar just happened to be the first to release a game that uses it.

GTAIV does nothing that will influence games, except maybe influence developers to hire competent writers.

It is a good game. But that's about it.

Anonymous wrote: I agreed

Anonymous wrote:

I agreed with everything you said up until the last paragraph. You can, in fact, do taxi missions for your Roman's taxi service. Just call him up and ask for a job. I've seen a lot of people complain about how there aren't taxi missions in this game, but I know for a fact there are since I've personally played through them.

Except that those missions aren't available throughout the entire game, and you don't actually get anything for completing them. There is no in-game advantage besides a few bucks, and you don't get any achievements for it, either.

REALITY CHECK

In my opinion, no game deserves a 100, or a 10/10. There is always *something* that can be improved on. To give a perfect score is to be a lemming and extremely naive.

From reading some comments, it sounds like one would rather read a hyped up review than an honest one. How sad. It seems like one can't even have an honest opinion anymore without getting shred to pieces.

I remember when Final Fantasy 7 came out people were calling it the "greatest video game ever!". Is it now? Probably not. Sure, it was extremely well done, but comments like that are really childish. People need to grow up and get more realistic.

As much as I disagree with

As much as I disagree with this review, I respect the fact that you're giving an honest review, saying what you think. It's sort of like Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot (or who used to be from Gamespot). He was my favorite reviewer.

I have not played this game,

I have not played this game, But I would have to say that this guy is telling you about it based on how he feels.... what more can you do. Granted, Some of those things are probably not so big of a deal. And granted, Ive heard some things that I loved like Parachutes and Jet pack, even tanks are gone. Which to me would be a major crime. But still, I think this guy is saying it how he feels. If you do not like what he things, then get over it. His points may be exaggerated towards how he feels, then oh well. Nothing seems to be out of place and he does bring up some good points. Why in the heavens should a person riding in a car who is not a driver not use a shot gun. Makes no sense. Oh well, still, from all accounts, this game is great.

Learn to review games!

Talk about a publicity stunt! Your review is so off balanced and you seem to pick on the small problems as if they render the game virtually unplayable! And saying Vice City was a step backwards in the series is like saying Herbie: Fully Loaded is better than The Godfather Part 1! GTA IV is the best game I've played in a long time and really blew me away. It's not perfect, but damn is it ever near! Now go back to learning what makes a game good. And btw, San Andreas' story was crap...

GTA IV does not influence

GTA IV does not influence games, it is too unique for that. GTA IV is all of the great games' influence on one game (GTA IV), all into one, mixed successfully. Saying GTA IV is 'a good game. but that's about it,' is quite underrated even for all of the game's flaws. Point out one game in this generation that is more impressive overall than GTA IV, with the right reasons of course.

Anonymous wrote: Talk about

Anonymous wrote:

Talk about a publicity stunt! Your review is so off balanced and you seem to pick on the small problems as if they render the game virtually unplayable! And saying Vice City was a step backwards in the series is like saying Herbie: Fully Loaded is better than The Godfather Part 1! GTA IV is the best game I've played in a long time and really blew me away. It's not perfect, but damn is it ever near! Now go back to learning what makes a game good. And btw, San Andreas' story was crap...

"Your review is great, as long as it completely agrees with mine."

Video game scores were killed by snot nosed punks like you. With way over hyped games, reviewers are practically FORCED to grade on a scale of 9.5 to 10 rather than 1 to 10.

Hey, I think this game is awesome, but I'm not going to shit down someone's throat for giving it a fucking 8.5! 8.5 means it's a GREAT game you dumbasses!

A lot of you mouthbreathers need to just die already. "Wah, he didn't obey my commands and give it the score everyone else did! Wah, wah!" What the SHIT does it matter? YOU ALREADY OWN THE FUCKING GAME. Go play the fucking game you shitstains.

"I think that I'm impossible

"I think that I'm impossible to please when it comes to video games....When faced with a nearly perfect game, on the other hand, I start to nitpick, and search for tiny mistakes to grouse about"

This is a quote from Daniel's Half-Life 2 review. He awarded it a fairly measly 9. I don't mind a low score if it's backed up by fairly major flaws detailed in the meat of the review itself. In GTA 4's case, however, he falls into his nitpicking trap again and, ultimately, doesn't really detail anything of major concern. Yes, the AI isn't much good, but if it was too potent, the game would be too difficult to play.

It's a jack of all trades, and it also masters a few. The fact that this is all melded into one game only furthers the reason to play Rockstar's latest.

Ultimately, Daniel, you've written a fair review but I don't think your paultry 8.5 score is backed up by the criticisms cited. I respect reviewers for bucking the norm with a fairly harsh review, but only if makes sense. In GTA 4's case, it's an unquestionably brilliant game, and none of the nit-picking should detract from this. It's just too expansive.

The reviewer is strictly

The reviewer is strictly looking for publicity. It is well known that the review with the worst score will get the site the most attention, and perfect 10/10 will get lost in the crowd. It is a shame how people put their own agenda ahead of the facts, and the fact is this game is revolutionary.

sigh

Heh, the comments to this review exemplify the pinnacle of irony. The reviewer was looking for controversy by giving the game a "ridiculous" score? Well congratulations guys, you're sure giving it to him. You all sound like the rabid Zelda fans that condemned Gamespot for its own eight point "publicity stunt" it pulled last year. I thought that the gaming community would have since moved on from such tactics but I guess it's just inevitable for anything that's popular.

Die hard fans of a game will fight for any reason to dignify its apparent close-to-godliness.

Oh and good review!

wow some people need to know

wow some people need to know what they are talkin about. NO GAME CAN BE PERFECT!!! A ten just meens the game is so much more updated or so much better than other games during this gen. and it is, because it is amazing how they have so much detail and u cant expect the best graphics because look how much is in the game. and it is disrespectful to give it a 8.5 because this game was so well designed with a great story, very realistic aspects, great detail, great voice acting and i could go on and on but i dont have the time for that but this game shouldnt get anything less than a 9.5. of course there is flaws in it but the flaws in this game is nowhere near the flaws in other games which is why it deserves a 10.

I agree the game is

I agree the game is revolutionary, it goes the extra mile in introducing in game devices such as the cell phone, t.v. and internet. All of these devices are well polished and play a very important role in the game. Not just this however, when you get in your car and take a drive you will be bound to see a car crash caused by an NPC and observe as police and EMT arrive on the scene, or a car that has broken down and the driver inspects the problem from behind the hood.

I actually agree with some

I actually agree with some of the things said in this review, particularly the part about there being not much to do in the city...for example, I finished the game with 500K and nothing to spend it on.

However, this score reeks of your typical uber geek video gamer narcissism that plagues the industry from the guys behind gamestop counters on up to the interns at ubisoft. that is understandable (partially b/c most of them are introverted social outcasts), but the rest of the insiders in the industry put that aside and has given this game its much deserved props.

Video games will never be the same after this game right here. period. and to give it an 8 out of 10!?? did somebody not get enough attention growing up?

Good review. I just

Good review. I just completed the game, and was somewhat disappointed too. It's a good game, but nothing like all the 10/10 hyped-up reviews had led me to believe. I'd give it a 8.5, maybe 9 score. (single player only, did not play MP)

The main problem with GTA IV is that so much effort had to go into creating the backdrop world, the characters and dialog - and in particular to bring them up to next-gen high production quality - that there was apparently very little room for innovation in gameplay mechanics. Yes, there were some improvements like the covering system, but overall I felt a lot more constrained during missions than in past GTA iterations where you could often approach things from different angles. In fact, for the duration of each GTA IV mission, it felt very much like an on-rails game where all my actions were anticipated already by the designers and I just had to go through the motions. Not what I look for in a sandbox game.
When not in missions, there was simply not much to do in Liberty City, like the reviewer pointed out. Bowling, darts, pool minigames get boring quick. The stunt jumps seemed much more subdued and hard to find. The internet dating thing showed promise, but there's only a handful you can actually date - might have been cooler if each date led to a set of side missions instead of just becoming cellphone annoyances.

Anyway, like I said, good game, but because so much time and effort and to bringing the production values up to next-gen expectations, the risk-taking and playfulness in the gameplay came up lacking. GTA just went from exciting independent film to soulless marketing driven Hollywood blockbuster. This review & the game revolution one are the only fair reviews I've seen.

you read a review for the

you read a review for the reviewers opinion of a game...its not a fact that ok this game is an 8 or a 10 or so on...this person seems to like it less than the usual, but i actually kind of agree, that's me, those of you who disagree that's you. stop complaining because this person didn't like the game as much as you...it seems a lot of other people here agree with this review as well, every game has mixed feelings.

Evolution of graphics

Anony Mouse wrote:

In my opinion, no game deserves a 100, or a 10/10. There is always *something* that can be improved on. To give a perfect score is to be a lemming and extremely naive.

From reading some comments, it sounds like one would rather read a hyped up review than an honest one. How sad. It seems like one can't even have an honest opinion anymore without getting shred to pieces.

I remember when Final Fantasy 7 came out people were calling it the "greatest video game ever!". Is it now? Probably not. Sure, it was extremely well done, but comments like that are really childish. People need to grow up and get more realistic.

I think it's correct to presume that games have not really "grown up", because we are always talking about evolution in terms of graphics and size rather than gameplay. Only when games have STOPPED evolving in terms of graphics will games reach a level of maturity (and art?)

Anonymous wrote: I think

Anonymous wrote:

I think it's correct to presume that games have not really "grown up", because we are always talking about evolution in terms of graphics and size rather than gameplay. Only when games have STOPPED evolving in terms of graphics will games reach a level of maturity (and art?)

My comment about needing to "grow up" was in reference to people, not games.

But anyway, I disagree with your belief that games need to stop evolving graphically to become mature or art. A perfect example is ICO or SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS. Both very graphically intense games (for their time) but also very simplistic. For me, those two games came pretty close to "video games as art".

Ridiculous review...

As others have pointed out, this review absolutely screams that it's score is primarily a reflection of wanting to stand out as opposed to being honest. GTA IV is the best video game I've played in many years, and it's difficult to imagine how anyone that has fully gone through the game and devoted themselves to it could possibly recognize it as anything but perfect, or at the very lowest, a 9.5.

Not influential!!!!

GTA IV IS influential. It is not always about what gameplay gimmicks or engine features a game boasts that makes them influential. if you think the only progress GTA has made with games is story then you are missing the point.

The next step is DETAIL and COHESION. Rockstar has consistently lavished the game with suck immense detail and artistry in every aspect including the story to make it all appear so real. GTA IV has given games in general some self respect, don't bother telling me about the lack of stand out gameplay improvements because you are way off the mark if you think that is what this game is about.

Only a fool believes that this game will not have a major impact on the games industry. Forget the Euphoria engine because that is just one aspect of hundreds of elements to why this game is one of the best ever made.

8.5 LOL!!!!!!

8.5!!!! Any reviewer who gives this game 8.5 is in the wrong job. Yes it it partly about personal opinion but should be objective and give credit where credit is due.

Scores are mainly based on precedent set before them. I bet if you go through the list and look at other scores this site or reviewer has given around 8-9 it will be quite hilarious what games they are bracketing next to GTA IV (based on 8.5). Fact is there are not many games out there that can even be considered peers so on that basis I would expect no game on this site to have got higher than 9 if GTA only got 8.5, especially any game on the current gen.

BYE THE WAY, I CANT BLOODY FINE WHERE THE SCORES ARE ON MOST OF HIS REVIEWS TO LAUGH AT WHAT GAMES HE HAS GIVEN A SCOERE CLOSE TO GTAIV FOR?

VF5 gets 9 and GTA IV 8.5 - what a joke of a reviewer

Daniel. You have insulted the games industry by giving VF5 9 and GTA 8.5. Don't you feel really stupid? A poxy fighting game that has a few extra moves and combos compared to genre defining game and a game that pushes the games industry forward.

I can understand you saying that it is not as good in your OPINIOPN as you maybe expected, but to give it less than a standard fighting game, you have lost any self respcet as far as I am concerned. This game needs a proper review from one of your colleagues.

Anonymous wrote: Wow, look

Anonymous wrote:

Wow, look at all the fanboys going crazy! GTA 4 is a great game! fantastic even! but not perfect and so a 10 is a little OTT, the game is still GTA with whistles and bells on, and so it deserves in my opinion a 9, 10 should be saved for the MMO where we get a mapped out version of the real world where you have limitless possibility.

IGN even stated the game was NOT perfect..but then still gave it a 10 which in my opinion devalues the score system.

The problem with what you are saying is that since the game has problems, it can't get a 10/10. By that logic, no game would ever receive a 10/10 and never will, because there is not, nor will there ever be a game made that is entirely without a single problem. It's simply impossible to do.

And to me, that's what would really devalue any scoring system.

to each his own...

I knew this was bound to happen. Someone dared to not give GTA4 a perfect score and now the bashing has begun. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I don't really like GTA4, but then I've never cared much for GTA. I can see why people praise it though because like Tomb Raider Legend it's the first game in the series that doesn't totally suck because of control problems. I've never managed to understand what's so great about Ocarina of Time either or the first Half Life so maybe I'm just wierd, but fortunately there are still plenty of good games for me. Eternal Sonata for example, a much better game than GTA4 IMHO, but also a completely different game. Not everyone has to enjoy "open world adventure shooters" or whatever the genre is called.

Ever Heard of Freedom of Expression? Individual Perspective?

Yikes, I find it very interesting that in the online, videogame fanboy world, anyone who might try to approach a title from a different perspective, hold a different opinion, or who might just not be a part of the herd, is verbally abused. Take 2/Rockstar could crap in a video game box and every fanboy would be running around with brown around their mouths, yelling expletives at anyone who might point out they are eating crap. (And no, I am not implying that GTA IV is lousy... just trying to make a point.)

About numerical ratings-

It's natural, when looking at a numerical score, to attempt to compare that score to other scores to find some kind of meaning behind it. This is folly, however, because more often than not, comparing games to one another is an apples/oranges type of situation. I mean, if we were going to use one set of numbers for every game ever, and rigidly rate every game against that score and each other, it would be disastrous. Bosconian would be a 10, and everything else would be a 6 or under. Because, y'know - Bosconian!

I use review numbers to determine how well a game achieves the goals that A: a game sets for itself, and B: are implied by developments made in earlier games of the EXACT SAME GENRE.

Which is why I've only given a 10 to two games: Resident Evil 4 and Shadow of the Colossus, because they're the only games I've reviewed that manage to completely fulfill those goals.

In a slightly related note, to all those lovers of GTA4 who claim that it's going to influence other games for years to come. I'm wondering how, exactly, you think it's going to do that?

Obviously it can't be the Euphoria physics, because while GTA4 is the first released game to use them, there are other games in development that adopted the engine before Rockstar North, and just happen to be coming out after GTA4.

Likewise, it can't be the huge detailed world or the tens of thousands of lines of dialogue - I mean, it's not as if it's some failure of design or desire that other game worlds aren't as big and beautifully rendered as Liberty City. All of that detail and all of those characters are simply a result of the time and money that was spent on the GTA4 - time and money that other developers simply don't have. Since very few games coming after GTA4 are going to have a 100 million dollar budget or three years to spend on development, don't expect to see too many other expansive, detailed worlds any time soon.

The only way I could really see other games benefiting from Liberty City's example is if Rockstar North started licensing out their creation and letting other companies build new games set in the living, breathing world of LC. Now that's a business model that actually could revolutionize gaming.

Seriously, though - is there anything else about the game that you feel is going to influence other developers?

Oh, and if you want continue obsessing on the score, here's a brief list of other games I gave a score comparable to GTA4 to make it easier for you to insult my work: Yakuza, Urban Chaos, Hammer & Sickle, Super Paper Mario, Lego Star Wars 2, Urban Reign, Cold Winter, Psi-Ops, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Lost Planet.

Before you ask, yes, any game with 'Urban' in the title gets an automatic 3-point bump. That's just how I roll.

Did I miss something here?

Did I miss something here? Since when was 8.5 a bad score? 8.5 - a PUBLICITY STUNT?

You got to be fucking kidding... some people take videogames WAY too seriously. This guy just gave his honest opinion, and gave a fair enough score, if one shall take other reviews into account.

Dont use the fanboy trick

DAVID C

Look just becuase someone rates a game doesnt make them a fanboy. And face it a game doesnt get a big following because it is shit.

Point is any self-respected games journalist needs to recognise quality even if he doesnt personally take a liking (a reviewers job is not about personal opinion it is about critcally analysing a game). I think that in the overall context of the game the stupid little niggles don't have any effect.

GTA IV 8.5/10, VF 5 9/10. I think that says everyhting about this reviewer. No magazine has given GTA an everage review because magazine staff are real journalists and not second rate ones that do the odd internet review. I bet you will struggle to find a review from any reputable magaize indepent or not give this game below nine.

Daniel's reaction to forum

Fair enough, I can see where you are coming from with the score comparison. And it is ones right to express his opinion.

I will however agree to disagree with argument on if GTA4 will influence future games. I and virtually all the other jounalists in the world tend to think that this average game that has shared universal fan acclaim and critical acclaim will actually have am influence in the games industry.

Yes it has a big budget. is this a bad thing? Games and movies are crossing paths hence the production levels increasing (standard for all major publishers). GTA should be judged on everything as a whole not on niggles with it such as it should had done this, it should of done that (i.e. shooting,driving, mission complaints).

As a whole and not dissecting it, GTA stands as a masterpiece of immersion, cinematic credential, artistry, technical acheivement, character, story, charm, humour, sound and sheer fun.

I respect peoples opinions, but sometimes personal preference can hinder a fair review as in this case.

I know it's been said before-

But seriously, by what criteria is an 8.5 an 'average' score? Is it below the game's average score on Metacritic? Absolutely. But is 85% an average score?

If you use the word average to describe 85%, what word do you use to describe 50%? And what do you call a 20%?

So, not only are you an

So, not only are you an attention-seeking "journalist" but you also seem to find yourself funny...

Everyone's entitled to an opinion. However, when they are clearly nitpicking and trying their hardest to cause a stir (job well done) they shouldn't be allowed to have their voices heard and put across as professional sightings. To the person comparing this to Jeff Gerstmann - please, Jeff was saying an honest opinion about a mediocre game (Kane & Lynch) - to say that GTA IV is an 8.5/10 game is ridiculous. You can't argue against that I'm afraid.

Apart from taking everything that makes a sandbox game great and polishing the hell out of it, the game introduces so much more. The outrageous depth of detail - internet, TV, relationship building, character interaction, perfect multiplayer, etc - all this will influence future action and sandbox games for years to come.

And Daniel, don't come out with that "other developers don't have the time or money to work as hard on their games" bullsh**, I have a friend who says the same and it's utter rubbish. Rockstar are just a developer willing to go the extra mile, there's not a single thing in GTA IV that's lacking, Rockstar love what they do and it really shows. There are other developers who could put as much into a single game if they wanted to but they'd rather develop 3 games at a time, or churn games out quicker - fair enough, but that doesn't mean GTA IV shouldn't be awarded extra for including thousands of man-hours of brilliant planning and graft. There's no denying GTA IV's ultra polish, ultra depth, complete longevity in single and multiplayer, stunning sound, stunning visuals - to give a game of this calibur a measly score* is just showing yourself up.

"I paid you to do a man's job, amateur"

* To everyone saying that 8.5 is a good score - in theory, yes it is. But compare this 8.5 to other games that get 8.5's. Now ask yourself "How the hell did anyone with two working hands and working eyes score this below a 9/10?"

Don't use the 'real journalist' trick

Stevo

I am wondering what a 'real' journalist is... or, I guess, only those journalists that will rate this game between 9 and 10 are considered as 'real' journalists who write for 'real' gaming magazines... is that it? I mean, do you even know what criticism is? Not everything is supposed to be an uncritical review... if you want those, go to GameSpot where they 'fire' journalists for actually having an opinion. Like it or not, the video game industry is expanding beyond the male-dominated, 15-year-old fanboy demographic... it will take the 'real' gaming magazines and a while to websites realize this. But for now all the fanboys can smile with their little brown smiles and hurl expletives at people who have a different taste in video games and might actually have different ways of considering them as works of art and who also might even think that a GTA style game is today starting to look a little old.

And if you are merely looking for opinions that will reinforce your own... why are you even reading a piece of video game criticism at all? Especially at a site called Game Critics which specifically aims to NOT be like most of the others?

It's Chow Time!

Mmmmm, mmmmmm! You sharks are going to eat well tonight!

I just looked on Metacritic and the average USER rating is--*drum roll*--

. . .

8.3 !!!

Looks like 8.5 isn't so far fetched after all, is it little sharkies?

p.s. And guess what? The first review for MGS4 is--not surprisingly--100.

To Anonymous (but which one?)

My point was not that other developers don't 'work hard', it's just that as you can't fault a small-budgeted game for not having great graphics, you can't reward a big-budgeted game for having great graphics. A game's graphics will almost always be proportionate to the amount of money spent on it. They're roughly the equivalent of special effects in movies - sure, they're nice to look at, but judging something's quality based on them is basically rewarding whoever had the most money to spend.

And are you honestly telling me that you think other games are going to include friend management? I mean, that's the part of the game that reviewers seem to agree is a hassle more than anything else. Besides which, it's just the natural extension of San Andreas' dating system (hanging out repeatedly to earn gameplay perks) that premiered three and a half years ago - and hasn't gone on to influence anyone.

In a development environment where producers are told by publishers that they can only have two minutes of CGI to tell a story, do you really think anyone but Rockstar is going to put up the money for dozens of fake websites and television shows?

Don't get me wrong, I love supplemental material - the maps and newspapers that used to come with adventure games, easter eggs to find and humourous phone numbers to call are great. That's what the radio stations and websites and tv shows are - supplemental material that add depth to the game world. But when the game you play in that world is primarily about shooting people, and the shooting is a kind of shoddy, all the supplemental material in the world won't make it better.

Yes, it's a fine caliber of game, but at the same time, it's just the new GTA game, full of the same errors that the developers have been making for nearly a decade now.

LOW SCORES DON'T MEAN SMART REVIEWS

Wow, Daniel, you get more and more arrogant each review!!!

LOOK AT ME! I'M DANIEL THE FAG! I WAIT UNTIL A LOT OF SUPER-HIGH-SCORING REVIEWS COME OUT FOR A GAME, THEN I GIVE A SHITTY-ASS SCORE IN RETURN TO STROKE MY EGO!

You gave this an 8.5 and Halo 3 a 7.0. You're a fucking joke and nobody can take you seriously. Don't even dare call me a fanboy. You know those reviews are NOT even close to what those games deserve, but you love it that little 15 year-olds jack off to you giving bad reviews for really good games.

"Oh, Daniel, you're giving a smart review just because you go against the reviews and don't give into the hype."

GTA IV (and Halo 3) are fucking incredible achievements in gaming, and your sorry arrogant ass knows it. Go kill yourself. Nobody cares that you give great games low scores.

What errors then? I think

What errors then? I think Rockstar have this nailed, I mean they created a genre and not a single other developer has managed to top a GTA game since III came out. Some have elements which are slightly better but considering the whole package, nothing comes close to the GTA series.

"In a development environment where producers are told by publishers that they can only have two minutes of CGI to tell a story, do you really think anyone but Rockstar is going to put up the money for dozens of fake websites and television shows?"

What? Well, even if that's the case, who cares? Rockstar haven't skimped out where other people would have done (regardless of time or budget). That's like saying a microwave meal is as good as a full steak dinner because the company wanted it out quicker. If I went to University and my professor said "Why have you only written 2 lines for your entire dissertation?" and my reply was "Time constraints, and I could only afford one pen", it'd be ridiculous for me to get the same grade as someone who had put all the work in.

The relationship thing is optional, so you can't mark the game down for that. And while no games have really used it since San Andreas, now that it's been fleshed out and it shows a lot more potential, people will definitely be borrowing that element. The shooting is as good as anything else in the genre, there are tiny niggles with the cover system but nothing even remotely game-breaking and the fact that it's been added is a bonus anyway. And it's effective.

"It's just the new GTA game"

Right. And how else could they have improved? It still feels like GTA (which is definitely a good thing) - the core elements are there, the great characters, the humour - but everything has been pushed forward.

I don't even know why I'm wasting my time typing at an arsehole like you, god knows how you got the job you have.

And yeah - Metacritics average user score of 8.3 is down to the awkward idiots (about 1 in 30 raters) who score the game 0.0/10 before even playing it. Or die-hard fans of Saints Row (haha)

PC

I just wish it was out on PC as I don't have a console. Does anyone know if and when it's meant to be coming across to that platform?

Cheers

Wow, way to be a biased and

Wow, way to be a biased and horrible 'reviewer'. You manage to over analyze anything negative that any real reviewers echoed, and cry like a little girl over it. Do something you're more qualified for, like running a Klennix factory, because all your crying would suit you perfectly there, and leave reviewing to real gamers and people without extreme biases.

Daniel: Personal preference should'nt make or break a game

Daniel. I can see what you are saying about GTA being basically the same run, drive and shoot premise. But on this basis you have already dropped marks of the game before even playing it. Rockstar has not tried to mess around with gameplay innovations at this point (maybe they are saving them for future GTA's) as their main focus has been on the world, it's story, how you interact with it and Niko himself.

I think GTA acheives all that its developers set out to, draw you into a game and make you believe in the world and the characters.

When I drove back to my apartment in Dukes with Roman to find it burning down in flames, and then to find the same with his taxi service so we had to urgently move away to another part of the city, I found this quite compelling stuff as it was all in-game with no cutscenes. It felt real.

That is why I rate this game and maybe other people rate it for many other reasons. But if you judge it by it's premise of driving and shooting before you even play it, that is not a fair review as these elements simply hold the game together. The world, the characters and the story are how this game should be rated. We will see open sandbox games after this point, and I bet if you compare them to similar ones before they will look really dated. Crackdown was the current genre king previously of this generation but pales in comparison for sheer entertainment.

You cannot under rate a game due to budget constraints like you said but the same can be said about games with high budgets. Transformers the movie had a massive budget, but the fact is the film rocked and provided the entertainment value.

It's okay having huge budgets, but it's how use use them that gains credit. Rockstar sure knew how to use theirs.

Anony Mouse

Anony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous wrote:

I think it's correct to presume that games have not really "grown up", because we are always talking about evolution in terms of graphics and size rather than gameplay. Only when games have STOPPED evolving in terms of graphics will games reach a level of maturity (and art?)

My comment about needing to "grow up" was in reference to people, not games.

But anyway, I disagree with your belief that games need to stop evolving graphically to become mature or art. A perfect example is ICO or SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS. Both very graphically intense games (for their time) but also very simplistic. For me, those two games came pretty close to "video games as art".

I understand your reference to ICO/SotC: I enjoyed those games too. But they don't really say anything profound at all that makes them art. Not at all. People always trot out ICO but miss the point about art. They're lovely to look at, but art needs a dislocation of the person from the source -something which video games obviously don't offer.

Be more balanced

Daniel,

When all reviews are considered, the average score provides the best indicator of a game's true merit. As such there should be no great objection to your review on it's own. It simply represents one end of the spectrum of opinion.

However, you can't deny that you are frequently at one end of the spectrum which indicates your views/opinions do not generally represent that of the masses. Freedom of opinion and expression is a good thing, but when one has a journalistic mouthpiece to express relatively extreme views, this polarises opinion greatly leading to obvious accusations of deliberately wanting to stand out from the crowd.

What your motives are (honourable or not), only you can say. However, regardless of motives, as a journalist you are quite powerful in today's media driven society and must accept (which I'm sure you do) all consequences of what you preach.

Most pertinently your opinion that comparing VF5 and GTA4 is like apples and oranges is completely and utterly invalid. Under economic theory, VF5 and GTA4 must be considered highly substitutable goods, and given limited funds, consumers must choose between the two. People therefore rely on reviews (amongst other things) to guide their purchasing decisions.

If one were to read your reviews on their own, one would come to the conclusion that one's money would be better spent on, say, VF5. You cannot deny that for the vast majority this would be the wrong decision. In this respect, you cannot blame the feeling amongst the majority that your review is gravely misleading, (although you can certainly blame the derogatory manner in which these feelings are sometimes expressed).

Yes of course, as a journalist, you have an obligation to be truthful to your opinions. But you have an equal obligation to be objective and balanced, lest you are branded as misleading. Doing only the former degrades the quality of your report as it polarises rather than educates. The best journalists are those whose feelings are expressed in a balanced, thought provoking manner.

Balance is key here as it means having a sense of what the spectrum of opinion is. Even if your feelings do not concur with the opposite, it is important to understand the viewpoints of the other side, and in doing so better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own.

In general, the overriding impression I get from your writing is that you get a general feeling about a game and try to justify that feeling in your review. However you often fail to see things from mine and others viewpoints which are just as valid given we are equal human beings.

Rightly, you make very valid comments on lack of gameplay evolution. Wrongly however, you fail to see that through the art direction and storytelling, the game would immerse the vast majority of players so deeply into it's cohesively detailed world that a lack of technical progress would be of no significance next to the level of escapism the game provides.

Yes GTA4 is not revolutionary in it's gameplay mechanics, but no GTA4 is _not_ a shooter, and no GTA4 is _not_ any number of other genres either. It's singular affect on the gaming industry will not be for setting new benchmarks for gameplay mechanics and any genre, but to define new horizons as to what games are capable of as an immersive art form. An equally commendable achievement as a gameplay evolution.

That is, although the progress hasn't been made in terms of gameplay, progress has certainly taken a leap forwards in terms of sheer entertainment.

And entertainment, vis-a-vis gameplay, is what computer games should be all about.

GTA IV

Great review. It's good to see someone has the balls to call this game out for some of it's very questionable gameplay.

Crappy autofollow camera. Bad camera angles while driving. Horrid cover system. A-button to run? I thought they invented Analog Sticks for a reason. No mission check points. Boy, how fun it is to start a mission over from scratch and have to drive to the location again.

For some reason, most other sites gave GTA IV a pass on so many issues with BASIC gameplay problems. Fundamental things that most other developers can get right, but Rockstar can't for some reason.

That's why this is the only proper review i've read of the game. The rest were either too caught up in the hype, paid off, or afraid to upset so many GTA fans/their readers.

The city is neat. It's probably one of the most realistic environments ever created. Does that make it fun? I don't think so. They could create a perfect replica of NYC, to scale, and if the controls are crap, the camera is a chore, and fundamental aspects of gameplay are subpar, then it's not a 10.

GTA IV. The most over rated piece of junk from a developer who STILL has no clue how to build a 3rd person game with a proper camera. Any reviewer who gives it more than a 9.0 should be ashamed that they forgot to hold Rockstar to any sort of standards in gameplay.

I love how people

I love how people automatically assume that EVERYONE loves this game.. and claims the reviewer wants to stand out as the 'one person who didnt believe the game was perfect.' ... Because the reviewer is only one of a large audience who hates this game and what it stands for in every incarnation.

I am a gamer, Im not religious, but when I see parents letting their 8 & 9 year old kids play these games, then I see those same kids playing outside, a cop drives by and they hold up plastic guns and start 'shooting' at the cops, you have a problem..

Yeah, the gameplay may be good and adult gamers may love it, but the influence this kind of game "can" have on a child is disaster. Im not saying that every child out there who plays it will end up with problems, but theres a lot more than people think. Personally, no offense to Rockstar, but I hope this series dies.

Thank you

Thank you for providing an honest review. I've played through most of the game and agree with the majority of what you said. This game's been overrated by way too many sites. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game, but it's not perfect. And when IGN even states it's not perfect, yet gives it a perfect 10, then it's just appealing to all the fanboys and asking them not to send a wave of hostile emails and posts.

The story is what sticks out. Gameplay-wise, I've played this game before several times.

10 does not mean perfect!!!!!

A 10 does not mean a game is 'perfect'. There is no such thing as perfect. Kaka was crowned the best soccer player in the world last year (should be Ronaldo though), does that make him perfect? No because has room to improve.

A 10 as stated in this forum previously means that a game is a huge leap above anything else in it's genre and most likey in its medium. (please do not mention the metric system as the many '0's in there bring the score down).

I think GTA IV has broken the record for 10's with this game, from credible reviewers not 'fanboys'. I respect the reviewers angle on this game, he feels that the negatives take alot away from the game where the majority ('Fanboys' and credible reviewers alike) feel that this does not hinder the overall exeprience at all and concentrate on the many good points and some ground breaking points that this game has.

I played GTA 3, Vice City,

I played GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, and Liberty City Stories all to completion and I couldn't make it past hour 8 of this game, despite repeatedly trying to convince myself to give it another chance. I was thinking I was the only person who saw all the flaws, but at least somebody is willing to NOT overlook flaws just because of the brand/history. Good review, although 8.5 is still a bit high.

Try leaving out spoilers next time

Hey Stevo, try leaving spoilers out of your comments in the future. Thanks for spoiling a major event in the game for anyone that hasn't yet progressed that far.

Finally, someone with an honest review

Hey Daniel,
Love the spot on review. It makes me sick to see every other review give perfect scores when the game is CLEARLY not a perfect game. Don't get me wrong either, it's loads of fun, but to say it's flawless and perfect is ludicrous.

Here's a perfect example of a bug that I regularly encounter:
1. Enter a taxi as a customer.
2. Taxi cab driver gets stuck on a light pole (or any other geometry he can't navigate around for whatever reason.)
3. User must press X to skip to their destination.

Now, that issue may seem trivial, because it is, but it's a bug that shouldn't be in the game.

Anyone who says that this game is "innovative" must have forgotten about the previous GTAs which all use the EXACT SAME GAME PLAY FORMULA! The only major improvements are how alive the city feels and how in depth the character development is.

So they tweaked the driving and shooting mechanics. Big deal. As far as I'm concerned, they made driving less fun and shooting isn't so much more advanced than it was previously. The "fun factor" in this iteration falls way short of what I got out of previous GTAs. Especially compared to the fun factor of GTA III where it was fresh and new to run down pedestrians and lead the police on a high speed pursuit. After doing that like 10,000 times in GTA III, 20,000 times in Vice City, and 30,000 times in San Andreas, the whole idea of running from the cops has lost it's luster. Just because the graphics are shinier doesn't breathe new life into the whole idea of committing vehicular homicide. Oh ya, and now I can escape from the cops just by driving really fast? I live in LA and I can't remember a time when that ever actually worked for someone.

The other thing that doesn't sit right with me is the fact that this "Sandbox" world requires that the player progress through the story before they unlock things like the taxi missions or the ambulance missions. Part of the fun from previous GTAs was you could do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted to (sans going to an area that hasn't been unlocked). Being stripped of that freedom really takes the game down a notch for me personally.

I hope that more people don't feed into the hype that this game is "perfect" because it's not. It doesn't even take the genre to a new level if you ask me. It's more of the same with a few tweaks and shiny graphics.

Kevin B. wrote: The

Kevin B. wrote:

The reviewer clearly just wished to stand out as the one person who didnt believe the game was perfect. He was putting his personal opinions aside in order to stand out as a reviewer. Pathetic.

this game is not perfect i think its pathetic that little fanboys like you think this game is 10/10. i agree with this review. i own the game an i think this game can get very "go kill this guy.. good job pick up that thing... ok come back... heres money" ::phone rings:: "go kill this guy ::same thing::"

Well, isn't this a smack-you-in-the-mouth shocker.

What a surprise; you appear to have the lowest score of another high-profile title. A great way of attracting traffic, bravo!

Didn't bother reading the review; you guys are rarely helpful.

GTA has to have perfect scores.... or else!

First of all, the reviewer gave this game an excellent score and a score that actually matches what was said in the review (unlike IGN's review and score... pfft! those guys are a freakin joke!).

With that out of the way, let me say this:

Gran Theft Auto IV had to have perfect scores. It didn't matter if the game wasn't perfect (it wasn't) it still needed to get those perfect scores. Why? Because the whole damn gaming industry depended on this game being Gods gift to mankind. Let me explain.

You see, if you happen to read some magazines, especially the editorials and articles, you will noticed that the editors of said magazines consider themselves either core gamers or hardcore gamers. Thus you will usually see their magazines with cover art that seems like something that came straight out of a Soldier of Fortune magazine (some angry dude holding a gun). Similar thing happens in quite a few gaming sites.

Thing is, despite the fact that casual gaming is not new (everyone started out as a non-gamer) but actually hit a high point with the first Playstation console (Sony branched out to cater bigger crowds back then), many in the gaming world feel that the whole casual craze is a new phenomenon and a direct threat to their manhood... ahem... I mean, to their status as core gamers.

So they need to have games like GTA IV to be incredibly huge and absolutely perfect. That in order to reinforce the idea that "hardcore" games are still made and are the kind of stuff gaming exist on. They feel that casual games could make core games go the way of the dodo. So their only hope is for "hardcore" games like GTA to demolish those type of games. And the only way to ensure that happens, is by making sure GTA IV is perfect in every way. And that includes giving perfect scores to a game everyone knows is NOT perfect.

I predicted GTA IV would get perfect scores like months before it came out. And I will now predict that the same thing will happen with another "great white hope" of a game called Metal Gear Solid 4.

Just wait and see...

There's no such thing as a

There's no such thing as a perfect score, it got the highest marks available because it pushed the boundaries of the genre and was a massive, expansive, highly polished masterpiece which incorporates a wide variety of gameplay and whatnot. IGN Australia refused to give the full 10/10 saying that they know the next game would be better. But if you mark it like that, what about when NES games were new? The reviewers didn't say "Yeah it's fun, but these graphics will look rubbish in a few years time. 6/10." Games will always have room for improvement, a game should only be judged for what it is at the time, and at this time GTA IV is to some extent - as you somewhat sarcasticly put - God's gift to mankind.

Also, GTA IV - a hardcore game? The thing with the GTA series is that they're as hardcore as you want them to be, that's why they appeal to such a massive audience, casual and hardcore gamers alike. One of my favourite things in all GTA games is just cruising around - crashing into people with fire engines, running people over, jumping out of helicopters and admiring the surroundings. Very few other games offer as much fun avoiding the storyline as playing through it.

Daniel Weissenberger, you

Daniel Weissenberger, you should be ashamed of yourself. Instead you are probably proud that you are on record as giving the lowest widely pulished review of GTA IV. This review is pompous. It is a "my S don't stink" style review. I hope you are happy, padding your own sad life by cruely rebuking the game that is the most elegantly crafted satire and fun that we have been privilaged to play in the last decade. If the worst part of this game is the "car combat" than what exactly qualifies a game for a score higher than an 85%? Daniel, you represent exactly what is wrong with professional criticism. Take a good hard look at yourself and try to determine why you are so synical.

Thanks

This review and one other are the only ones to really notice the multiple personality disorder the game seems to have. I thought it was just me!

I think it does extend to Niko himself, too. After all, at the start Niko is kind of driven to do bad things out of either necessity or to protect his family. There's a feeling that he's getting trapped into the criminal world. But it's almost jarring how all that goes away and soon he just becomes another gun for hire. I thought it was way more interesting to make me really feel sorry for Niko that he was having to do this. A GTA style game where the player has to get involved in bad things just because his family is under threat or he is in some sort of really tight situation that would test anyone's morals - now that would be really interesting. There aren't really many games where you get to relish in the main character's misery, and GTA4 sort of -starts- that way.

Alevine-

Alevine wrote:

However, you can't deny that you are frequently at one end of the spectrum which indicates your views/opinions do not generally represent that of the masses. Freedom of opinion and expression is a good thing, but when one has a journalistic mouthpiece to express relatively extreme views, this polarises opinion greatly leading to obvious accusations of deliberately wanting to stand out from the crowd.

Well, first off I'd like to know the numbers you're using to say that I'm 'frequently at one end of the spectrum'. There's over a hundred reviews in my archive, so just what is 'frequent'? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? And how far does my score have to be off the mean before it becomes significant? I'd figure the number has to be at least 15% - any less than that and it's barely a variance at all from the mainstream. Sure, most people gave Darkwatch a pass while I hated it, and my Fable review was pretty far from consensus, but beyond those and Halo 3, have so many of my reviews really been far from the metacritic average?

Alevine wrote:

Most pertinently your opinion that comparing VF5 and GTA4 is like apples and oranges is completely and utterly invalid. Under economic theory, VF5 and GTA4 must be considered highly substitutable goods, and given limited funds, consumers must choose between the two. People therefore rely on reviews (amongst other things) to guide their purchasing decisions.

The idea that a reviewer has a duty to consider the economic implications of their review is ludicrous on its face. This is a destination for videogame criticism, not a buyer's guide. We do also offer consumer advice to potential purchasers, but there's a reason we keep that page completely separate from the review page - the two things never belong together.

Alevine wrote:

If one were to read your reviews on their own, one would come to the conclusion that one's money would be better spent on, say, VF5. You cannot deny that for the vast majority this would be the wrong decision. In this respect, you cannot blame the feeling amongst the majority that your review is gravely misleading, (although you can certainly blame the derogatory manner in which these feelings are sometimes expressed).

Now you're being disingenuous, because someone could only come to the conclusion that VF5 is the better purchase for the majority of people if they just looked at the numerical scores. Anyone who actually read both of the full reviews would get a very clear sense of which of the two would be better for them, even if they had no history with either of the franchises. I take no responsibility for someone basing their purchasing decision entirely (or even in part) on solely my numerical score for a game without reading the review - mostly because I doubt that's ever happened, nor will it ever.

Alevine wrote:

Yes of course, as a journalist, you have an obligation to be truthful to your opinions. But you have an equal obligation to be objective and balanced, lest you are branded as misleading... The best journalists are those whose feelings are expressed in a balanced, thought provoking manner. Balance is key here as it means having a sense of what the spectrum of opinion is.

Here you seem to be confusing the role of a journalist with the role of a critic. I have no obligation to look at both sides of an issue. My only duty is to honestly and factually look at a game, and report on its strengths, weaknesses, and overall success or failure as an artistic creation. The critic has no duty to consider what the audience may or may not like - if they did then every movie review would end with "But hey, people who liked (similar movie) will eat it up." Actually, too many reviews do end this way, and that's one of the things wrong with criticism today. At their best critics can offer a different way of looking at a piece of art, hopefully giving the reader something to think about if they eventually do play the game, watch the movie, etc. Yes, we suggest whether our audience should play a game or not, but that suggestion can never be taken by everyone - which is why it's so important to find a critic in any field whose tastes and opinions you personally trust.

Alevine wrote:

In general, the overriding impression I get from your writing is that you get a general feeling about a game and try to justify that feeling in your review. However you often fail to see things from mine and others viewpoints which are just as valid given we are equal human beings.

It would have been great if you could have given an example of what you meant, as I don't really understand what you're criticizing. When I review games, I play them through twice (if they're under 15 hours, obviously not RPGs), ask myself what I found most (interesting, effective, noteworthy) about them and then use that as a hook to reviewing them. Again, even if I accepted your premise, that the reviewer has some duty to include the opinions of the average gamer in their review, how would that work? After playing the game should the review conduct a survey? Ask random people on the street what they thought of the game? How was I supposed to consider your feelings about the game in my review when you're only just telling them to me now?

Alevine wrote:

Rightly, you make very valid comments on lack of gameplay evolution. Wrongly however, you fail to see that through the art direction and storytelling, the game would immerse the vast majority of players so deeply into (its) cohesively detailed world that a lack of technical progress would be of no significance next to the level of escapism the game provides.

It wasn't a lack of gameplay evolution I commented on, it was the lack of gameplay competence. As for the immersive world, my problem was that the game's story (which was supposed to draw players into this immersive world) seemed to be taking place in an entirely different, far more serious world than all of the supplemental content. This dichotomy kept the world from drawing me in, because every time the story began to get good an ad would come on the radio promoting the semen-resistant qualities of bulletproof tits. Had the developers committed to making a silly, dirty game set entirely in a world governed by the logic of locker room jokes, then I might have been a little more impressed by the achievement. Or better yet, they could have expanded the world where the story takes place into the surrounding television shows and billboards. That would have worked just as well.

Alevine wrote:

That is, although the progress hasn't been made in terms of gameplay, progress has certainly taken a leap forwards in terms of sheer entertainment.

And entertainment, vis-a-vis gameplay, is what computer games should be all about.

Again, I'm going to have to deny your premise - the review is my reaction to the game, and while I certainly enjoyed myself playing it, I didn't find it significantly more entertaining than any of the previous games in the series, and I went to the trouble of writing a whole review to explain why I felt that way. If you disagree with me, that's your right as someone who played the game (I assume) but unless I've made some factual error in the review, all you're doing is suggesting that I've somehow made a mistake by not enjoying the game as much as everyone else did.

hmmmm

personally, I feel your review is a little to nitpicky, sure most of the problems you saw were annoying, but not nearly as disastrous as you made them out to be.
I think your comment on the online play is a very good point, but I thing gamecritics.com should have used a bigger fan of sandbox games to review this game, because sandbox fans will buy this.

Anonymous

Anonymous wrote:

personally, I feel your review is a little to nitpicky, sure most of the problems you saw were annoying, but not nearly as disastrous as you made them out to be.
I think your comment on the online play is a very good point, but I thing gamecritics.com should have used a bigger fan of sandbox games to review this game, because sandbox fans will buy this.

Sure enough, this is what Dan wrote on the Consumer Guide: "GTA Fans can rejoice, this is everything that you had hoped it would be." So no where does Dan tell the reader to not buy this game (except to parents of course). People are just upset that he was only semi-impressed as opposed to having a life-affirming epiphany. Criticism is not a popularity contest.

An excellent appraisal, and

An excellent appraisal, and a much more well balanced piece than the vast majority of reviews (of which I believe are just rating and spouting undeserved praise based on the level of hype, my opinion of course)Yours is fair and highlights obvious flaws of the game, that others ignore. In short it's exactly what a review should be, fair and not overly gushing, good work!

Not *that* much of an improvement

Someone earlier made a comment about the die hard "Saints Row" fans. Until that was mentioned I didn't realize just how much this game was actually missing. Car Customization. It was in San Andreas and now it's gone? bad move. Character Customization. This has been beat to death, but people want to be able to change/define every little detail about their characters, Even in single player. Saints did this well. Car Selection, it could just be me but I seem to recall a much larger number of cars in the previous games, although that could be attributed to the lack of customization options.

This game is excellent, probably going to be best of the year, but it's by no means a perfect 10. I'd give this at best a 9, and the 8.5 is probably fair. The gameplay is excellent, i do love the new gunfighting, but it seems that Rockstar banked on the fact that everybody would be so excited about a new GTA game that they would overlook whats missing. And judging from some people's comments, they were right.

Alright

Well, most people are far past the hype right now, but Grand Theft Auto IV is still beating Call Of Duty 4 online. It must be a really disappointing game, huh?

The Euphoria engine my "pop" into more games as time goes on, but the fact that Grand Theft Auto IV was the first game to use this engine solidifies it as the benchmark. You can compare this to how Super Mario 64 was the first videogame to have a working camera in a 3-D environment. Also, this game isn't even classified as a shooter. If anything, it's an adventure game. The fact that the gunplay even got the attention that it did is amazing. I mean, could you beat people to death with a baseball bat in a shooter game? Keep in mind that guns aren't the only way to eliminate targets in Grand Theft Auto IV.

You're given so much money but have nothing to spend it on? That's not too disturbing. In fact, for most players, it might be comforting to know that you're financially well off. Also, unless you have the Guidebook to find some more guns, why don't you purchasing some guns if you feel the need to burn up your money? Also, keep in mind that Rockstar is going for realism here. A Russian immigrant is not likely not start monopolizing New York City.

The things that were taken out from previous Grand Theft Auto games were taken out for a reason. It can be realistic for a man who is trained in gunplay to take out some criminals, but really, can you see him taking time out from that to put out fires or help some pedestrians get to the hospital? Besides, those missions were tedious and became frustruating; the only reason that most people ever did them was to earn their rating of 100% complete. Finally, keep in mind that while you may not be able to get your hair cut like Vanilla Ice or gain some weight, you can play online with fifteen other players in a surprisingly deep Deathmatch anywhere in Liberty City.

People like the reviewer and you fail to realize that the reason why Grand Theft Auto IV is adored by so many people is because it oozes with quality. The graphics are gorgeous for a game of this stature, and the game itself gives you an entire metropolis to mess around in. Except this time, the city actually feels alive. Thi is easily one of the most detailed and entertaining games ever made, and that is why it is one of the highest rated videogame of all time. I just hate to see the game being slandered by some reviewer who wants some attention.

But 8.5 is hardly a bad

But 8.5 is hardly a bad score, is it? and I myself happen to agree with the review more than I do the vast majority of other reviews. It's a very good game, but hardly without flaws.

Finally....

Best Review I've read full stop. I hope some of the developers will be reading it.

The cover application in combat is driving me crazy. Definitely amazing how such high level game developers can miss something so basic and yet one of the foundations of the game. No good AI in 2008 is very disappointing.

I won't even go into the realtionship stuff. 10 pin bowling? Darts? Give me a break. I'd rather have some real gritty applications where you go get drunk and brawl (fist fighting is usually fun and would deserve more effort and development), get high and look like a moron, play chicken with cars with your mate, insult the waiter and destroy the restaurant, I don't know something fun. Something that, like the game itself, depicts the character as one big hooligan completely non-PC and making it deserve its over 18 status. GTA is all about doing in the game, what you won't do in the real world. And lets get realistic.... if we are in a so called world of crime all that counts for friendships is money and fear : )

I do agree with previous poster that ways should be found to enable money to take on a real importance be it in influence traficking, real estate, how secondary characters interact with you depending on wealth, hiring personnel with better AIs depending on salary etc...

Looking forward to multiplayer mode developments. So much potential.

Kudos for an honest review

It's good to see that not all reviewers or publications have been mindlessly subjected to the pressures of expectations set forth by both their audiences and publishers' marketers alike. No one ever learned from complete success, so it's important that failures should be highlighted --- even if it's to guard even the most enthusiastic of gamers from the shortcomings destined to be within every product.

I admit that my expectations from this title were a trifle high. Like many, I was expecting GTA4 to be as much a move forward as GTA2 to 3 or Vice City to San Andreas. Instead, the game's got fewer weapons, fewer vehicles, less land area, and a much more homogenous feel to the terrain that essentially sweeps us back to a GTA3 with better physics. As mentioned in your review, of course, those better physics came from a third party developer anyway.

I'm not sure I agree with the 'dispassionate' take of Nico Bellic's character, though. I got the feeling that it was less of his being an apathetic sociopath and more along the lines of a poorly developed character that they wanted to be both passive (so the player can 'own' his actions and make moral decisions) and badass (to justify his ability to destroy everything). It feels like he comes out as a cardboard cutout, a GTA3 protagonist who can speak and do little more. Even if he /is/ a dispassionate sociopath, he clearly doesn't belong in a universe that's populated by the likes of the personalities on the radio and, now, television. You can't have Sam Spade the Keystone Kops, it just doesn't work.

Still, there's some hope to be had. Rockstar promised sizeable content patches and downloadable expansion packs. Hopefully, these will add things that are sorely missing from the game, such as bug fixes, rampage minigames, and something to do with hundreds of thousands of dollars that Niko just...hoards. Really, there's nothing to do with that money, makes the point of working for it so hard rather moot.

Get over yourselves.

ololo3 wrote:

it's difficult to imagine how anyone that has fully gone through the game and [b]devoted themselves to it[/b] could possibly recognize it as anything but perfect, or at the very lowest, a 9.5.

Umm, doesn't the word "devotion" with relevance to video games usually go with games like MMO's or other games that require you to constantly play to keep up with other players, or at least something to that extent? Devotion is a very strong word when it comes to how much you like a game, and maybe I'm being harsh, but anyone who would "devote" themselves to a game like GTA needs to just end their obviously-meaningless life.

Don't you just -love- what the once-respectable occupation of video game reviewer has become? Now, with these 12-year-old mouthbreathers that are spending Mommy and Daddy's money that call themselves gamers but are nothing more than an embarassment to the culture, if reviewers don't agree with their widespread opinion that a rehash of a rehash such as this isn't "ZOMG AWWSUM!", they're morons. Go jerk off to Master Chief dual-wielding a needler and a beam sword. Better yet, hit puberty and actually experience an orgasm; that'd be a start for a lot of you.

Let's try to remember here that there's a reason that people like Mr. Weissenberger here are getting paid to write these reviews. I personally have a great deal of respect for this man in that he had the balls to brave the gauntlet and write an honest review of a game that's definitely good, but all bells and whistles aside, a rehash. Congratulations, good sir! You receive the Brass Balls award. On a side note, Carlos Mencia is a retard.

I don't think a lot of people actually read the review itself but instead just looked at the numbers. That's how lazy this society has gotten, and it's sad. Didn't you people see the parts where he actually said good things about the game? Ah, no, I'm sorry. I forgot that the only words the register as compliments in your book are "awesome", "fucking amazing", and "I creamed my pants".

In short, the occupation of game reviewer is a volatile and unpredictable one in that it is centered around OPINION. Certain people need to remember that their take on the game, as well as the reviewers' take, is nothing more than OPINION. That's the great thing about opinion; nobody is ever truly wrong.
The first amendment exists for a reason; it's so people like this man can give their honest-to-God opinion without fear of retaliation or punishment, neither of which you've spared him from. For you people condemning this review as being nothing more than a "publicity stunt", it obviously did its job, didn't it?

Way to go, fuckstains.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui wrote:
Anonymous wrote:

personally, I feel your review is a little to nitpicky, sure most of the problems you saw were annoying, but not nearly as disastrous as you made them out to be.
I think your comment on the online play is a very good point, but I thing gamecritics.com should have used a bigger fan of sandbox games to review this game, because sandbox fans will buy this.

Sure enough, this is what Dan wrote on the Consumer Guide: "GTA Fans can rejoice, this is everything that you had hoped it would be." So no where does Dan tell the reader to not buy this game (except to parents of course). People are just upset that he was only semi-impressed as opposed to having a life-affirming epiphany. Criticism is not a popularity contest.

I understand your points, but you wouldn't want someone who thinks the wii controls are a novelty that wears off fast, to review a good Wii game, would you, and i haven't read the consumer guides and neither have many of my friends who use this website, i want to know if there is gonna be a second opinion, i find reviews on this site very interesting

Anonymous wrote: I

Anonymous wrote:

I understand your points, but you wouldn't want someone who thinks the wii controls are a novelty that wears off fast, to review a good Wii game, would you, and i haven't read the consumer guides and neither have many of my friends who use this website, i want to know if there is gonna be a second opinion, i find reviews on this site very interesting

We actually have a second opinion on GTA4 coming soon. Keep an eye out for it in a day or so.

WHAT SHIT CRITIC

now i am sure i am speaking on behalf of the gta lovers when i say how crap this review is. first of all there are hidden packages which add to the games highly realistic city that are pigeons which if you spent a little bit more time actually playing the game you would of discovered.

second of all, they ditched the fire and ambulance missions because they wanted to make it realistic.

my guess is that the minute you put the disc in the console for the first time you were going to find things that were wrong with the game then give it a crappy review.

fuck knows what city you live in but if it is one where you can jump into a fire engine and get a job instantly and once passed, you become fireproof then you have all reason to give this game a shit review.

I think it would be a great

I think it would be a great idea if we get a 2nd opinion on this game from this site. I havent yet bought the game but everyone ive talked to thus far says its one of the best games ever made. Every review site with the exception of maybe 1or2 rated this game really good. I am still skeptical about buying this game because this is my favorite site and the review seems to trash it. If you guys can also get a 2nd opinion on Halo3 too that would be great.

Honestly, I thought the review was overly kind.

Yes, there are a host of positives about GTA: The plot, themes and dialogue are noteworthy, the lead character is intriguing, the graphics and physics are outstanding, the multiplayer is a lot of fun. Roman is a kick--I wish I could play as him instead. It doesn't "surpass the medium of film," as one commenter put it (although given the films most gamers probably watch, that's an understandable perspective), but it's a good story.

While I appreciate that, Citizen-freaking-Kane wouldn't be enough to keep me interested for twenty-plus hours. The reviewer mentions the missions all consisting of basically the same thing. Driving around, shooting people and/or running them over. What he doesn't say is how monotonous this all gets. I don't care how many clever ways the physics engine has come up with to show people dying, this gets boring after a while without other things to do, and he's absolutely right when he says that there aren't a heck of a lot of other things to do. The minigames are a pleasant diversion, but you can find flash games online that are basically the same thing. That's what I bought GTA for? What else is there? Watching TV? Going to shows? What? I can turn off the game and do that.

Say what you will about Vice City and San Andreas (and there was a lot of fat in San Andreas) but they had a ton of variety. You couldn't wander ten feet in San Andreas without finding some minigame, side mission, hidden package or wall that needed spray-painting. Less "realistic," sure, but infinitely more varied and entertaining. Extreme stunt bonuses! Rampages! Where are the rampages? Man, I loved those.

I won't even harp on the radio (I silenced it after around two hours of gameplay--thoroughly annoying) or the fact that while the city looks impressive, since it's either night or raining or cloudy about three quarters of the time, the visuals are frequently muted. San Andreas can't match it for graphics, but like the gameplay, the scenery was way more varied.

Yes, it's a good story, but you know what? If I really want a good story, I'll read a book or go watch a good movie. Books don't make me run through repetitive drive-and-possibly-shoot missions with a dull combat system before I have to turn the page to find out what happens next.

In my opinion, the near-universal hosannahs for GTA IV say less about the game then they do the reviewers, who are getting accustomed to mediocrity, and the gaming industry at large, which seems to be more focused on being new and different, forgetting what games are supposed to be in the first place.

Fun.

Thank you for an HONEST review :)

I first heard about this site from MSNBC, and honestly... I must agree with everything you said in this review. Why? Because it's true! I honestly questioned the motives behind every other critic giving the game a 10/10 while there are clearly bugs in its framework. For example, I've had a periodical slowdown that occurs while driving or dying - within the first 4 hours of playing this occurred 6 times. It's difficult to gauge a 10/10 game, but this certainly isn't one. It plays just like its predecessors and fails to push the hardware to its limits.

Know that the hype has died

Now that the hard ons of fanboys have had a chance to die down a bit, it's my turn to agree with the the reviewer.

Essentially it's a great game, just not a fantastic one.

It feels a little like going back to GTA3. That game was good, but then came Vice City. That game was better. More to drive, more to fly. Next came San Andreas which added even more things to do and was rarely ever boring. Now we're back to basics in the 'next-gen' round and unfortunately for all the greatness of GTA 4, it's rather boring.

Gta 4 feels more like Driver:parallel lines. A fun to city to drive around, but not much else to do. Fingers crossed that the DLC will actually be worthwhile.

I Think Daniel needs to stop

I Think Daniel needs to stop logging in and pretending to be other people agreeing with his review. Most of the comments agreeing with Dan seem rather similiar to each other and the style in which the review was written. But hey it could be just me :)

Good review

Good review. For me the games a solid 10, but I'm a huge fan of the series and somewhat biased. You did a good job pointing out some of the flaws the game has. They've not effected my enjoyment of the title but you wouldn't doing your job if you didn't identify and mention them. The one I really hope that gets sorted out for the next game is the scripted car missions which really spoil the immersion. Still, forty hours in and I've loved every second of it. Anyway, like I said, good review.

It's working

daniel's marking down the biggest releases to get site traffic through gamerankings etc.
and it's working i guess, i would never read his crummy reviews otherwise.
no game is EVER perfect but there's no way he really thinks it's an 8. he even mentions that he is a long term 'fan' of the series and yet dislikes 'fan' favorite vice city and gives an 8 to the best game in the gta series and clearly the best sandbox game yet released. if the flaws bothered him a 9 would have been accurate, the extra point is marketing for game critics.

don't be surprised to see little big planet given a 4 for not having guns, gears of war 2 will get 2.5 for having too many guns and final fantasy 13 will be a 0 for including just the right amount of guns- but not being final fantasy 7.

alternatively, he just does it to keep zelda at the top of the all time review charts.

Knows Daniel is Full of

Knows Daniel is Full of Himself wrote:

Wow, Daniel, you get more and more arrogant each review!!!

LOOK AT ME! I'M DANIEL THE FAG! I WAIT UNTIL A LOT OF SUPER-HIGH-SCORING REVIEWS COME OUT FOR A GAME, THEN I GIVE A SHITTY-ASS SCORE IN RETURN TO STROKE MY EGO!

You gave this an 8.5 and Halo 3 a 7.0. You're a fucking joke and nobody can take you seriously. Don't even dare call me a fanboy. You know those reviews are NOT even close to what those games deserve, but you love it that little 15 year-olds jack off to you giving bad reviews for really good games.

"Oh, Daniel, you're giving a smart review just because you go against the reviews and don't give into the hype."

GTA IV (and Halo 3) are fucking incredible achievements in gaming, and your sorry arrogant ass knows it. Go kill yourself. Nobody cares that you give great games low scores.

Why do you bother, do you think every review should be the same? I think this review tells us the truth about this game. Sure it's a great game by any matter, but it's definitely NOT perfect. You need to understand that people have different opinions. If you don't like the reviews here on gamecritics then why do you come here in the first place? Silly people :S

50% - not a good "average" score

Some of my favourite games of the 90's were given 80% scores. The reviewer would often say something like "fans of strategy games should pick this one up" but "it's not for everyone".

80%, to me, was a great score and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with the game.

Cut to 2008. Reviewers do not give "great games" 80% any more. You only need to look at Metacritic to see that "great games" all get 100%.

Now, Daniel said "what is a 50% game, is it not average?" Personally, I'd say not.

1%-40% are bad games - not only would you not enjoy them, you might actually get ill playing them ;)

50% is something you'd play to kill time on a plane journey, if you'd forgotten to pack anything else. About as much fun as "eye spy" or tic-tac-toe.

75% is an average game. But we aren't talking statistical average here. We're not saying that you'd enjoy 7 out of every 10 games produced.

Instead, 75% is the rating you give a typical game you enjoy playing. It's fun, but it's not going to set the world on fire. You aren't playing games you don't enjoy (1-50%), therefore the average score has to reflect that. The average game you play (because you enjoy it) will therefore be between 50% and 100%. Therefore, by my logic, 75% is the average score.

80% - 90% is where you'd expect "great" games to come in. You might not want to play them more than once tho, good as they are.

90%-95% is reserved for games which are unbridled joy from start to finish. You expect to replay them at least once, that's how good they are.

100% ... I don't know of a single game I'd give 100%. Except maybe Bubble Bobble. How do you improve Bubble Bobble? You can't!

I agree

I completely agree with this review, and if anything it is a point too high. I just don't understand these screaming dweebs who insist everyone must see the game as they do. For older gamers, who have to wade through so many crappy games on their own, because every review falls in the 9.5-10 scale for the youngsters who've never played anything before...reviews are completely useless.
Is this a good game? I guess so, if you like 40 hours of repetitive gunfights and endless gaybashing.
Is it innovative? Yes, there are lots of graphical innovations, but this game makes the same exact mistake that almost all next-gen games have made: they put everything into the graphics and very little into the actual gameplay. Remember when games were fun and deep and not just about frame rates and motion capture? I do. That's why lately I play San Andreas more than I play this.
Looking at metacritic and seeing review after review give this game a perfect score..I just don't get it. 'A' for effort? It just isn't fun. Crackdown on the other hand, a game that didn't even seem like it had been finished (where was the last chapter where you attack your overlord?) is one I have played all the way through 3 times, while this one I have stopped playing right after the last mission. Why? Crackdown has an awesome game mechanic and is just ridiculously fun to play. GTA4 is dreary. Yes, the story has some meat and voice acting until the repetitive mafia ending parts, but it is also full of hypocrasy and lousy logic like most games are. The humor is getting tired, they need some new writers. And all the extra stuff to do that made San Andreas so endlessly playable is gone. Except for all the stuff stuck on the cell phone that is so easy to ignore.

GTA4 may be better than many games, but no way in hell does it live up to the hype. I didn't pay 60$ to watch the improved magic of motion capture, I thought I bought a game that would be jam packed with things to do.

Good review

I liked this review. Well written, informative and you could tell it was from the perspective of a real fan of the series. I haven't played the game yet so this gave me a good idea of what to expect.

I applaud you for giving a

I applaud you for giving a honest review and not giving into same hype or pay check as every other gaming site.

i would honestly give the game 8/10, Do people who yell and demand you give this game a 10/10 honestly know what your saying? your saying this is the best game ever and no other game could be made which is better there is no 10.1/10. So get over the hype actually play the game for a while and you will relies why him giving even a 8.5 is generous.

HAHA 10 for Resident Evil 4 HAHAHA

Ha Ha danny boy 10 for resident evil 4? everyone knows that game suck. i just look on METACRITIC and it got 23%!!!! HAHA no one like that game! superman 64 kicks resident evils ass!!! HAHA i will say though, if you look at the seperate parts of that game, it's perfect, but when you rate it as a whole, it's like a 2.4 out of 10. HAHA i am writer for video game magazine!!! so I'M know what i'm talking about!!! on my site we just copy and pasted ign review for GTA IV THATS how much we like it. and you know what? someday i will make a game influenced by this game, just to show your bitch-ass whats up?! HAHA i bet you change your review NOW bitch!!!

I just read the words "Go kill yourself"

I can't believe someone said that. What kind of twisted son of a bitch would think it necessary to type those words...about a fucking 8.5?! Especially in regards to the man that showed the world how truly great Urban Chaos is? I am not only appalled to the core of my being, but ashamed of a society in which anonymous fucks like him can spew their offensive and ignorant hyperbole to whomever they choose on the internet. Say what you like about the content of the review, but know that there is a line, and if it is crossed, the fans of Urban Chaos know what to do.

Though semi-harsh, I can't

Though semi-harsh, I can't believe the one thing this review didn't mention is how the realism drags the fun in the game down. To me, if anything could make this game an 8.5, it's the fact that the driving is so realistic that it sucks. I hated how difficult it was to make even the simplest of 45 degree turns going anything over 25 miles per hour, and quite really this has put me off the game for a while because it makes the car chase missions so annoying with the need to rote memorize routes. I applaud the turn towards realism in every other area, but please, I play my games for a little bit of an escape and for the most part, fun, and if that means irritating myself by suffering from cars with awful handling, I'd rather play an older GTA with much more fun driving.

Hahaha...what a fucking

Hahaha...what a fucking joke. Daniel Whineberger has struck again! All you fucking dumbshits that bought into his conniving "I'm smart because I can find fault in anything" bullshit are total idiots! This is just an unqualified reviewer who not only sucks at English, but is out to make a name for himself by dissing awesome games just so he can appear "different". What a fucking loser. What's sad is he's totally predictable. He'll give high scores to shit games, and low scores to great games. And some of you retards actually believe that makes it a "good review". Like he's a fucking rebel or something. No, he's just a fucking moron!

Billy wrote: Ha Ha danny

Billy wrote:

Ha Ha danny boy 10 for resident evil 4? everyone knows that game suck. i just look on METACRITIC and it got 23%!!!! HAHA no one like that game!

Look again dunghole. That game got nearly perfect scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings.com and won the most Game of the Year Awards in recent memory. So get out of here you damn troll.

And I just wanted to say, that as I predicted here on this very thread, MGS4 would also get "the perfect score treatment".

Yes, despite the fact Kojima continues to abuse the use of cutscenes (been doing that to the extreme since MGS2), the game still got perfect scores. And I knew it would get those scores because that's how the "critics" operate with particular franchises. Especially when said franchises represent a certain type of game (core, hardcore) and is considered representative of a demographic (core gamers). There just was no way critics would actually rate the game for what it is. A game with a lot of intrusive cutscenes.

So guess what? Because of giving yet another MGS a free pass Kojima will continue to deliver games with long arse cutscenes that just kill the momentum of an action game. Kojima really wants to make a MGS movie. He should make that movie just to get it off his chest. Then he should get back to making GAMES that aren't interactive movies where a good chunk of it is all movies with some interactive elements on it. When I play a MGS game I do it because I love the gameplay not the cutscenes. And I want more of that. I feel cheated when I think that a lot of time was wasted on cutscenes that could've been replaced with actual gameplay. It's not like we get a major MGS game every year.

Anyhoo, MGS4 is a great game. Deserves great scores (8.0's and 9.0's)but not perfect scores. The critics are killing their credibility when like with GTAIV, they give perfect scores to imperfect games.

GTA IV Collecting Dust

I am a huge San Andreas fan. I think that game is the best game of all time. Needless to say, I was stoked for IV and bought it on the first day. After playing it for about a week, I stopped. It's not that great. I went back to playing Oblivion. Hopefully the next GTA will be better.

Anonymous wrote: This game

Anonymous wrote:

This game has gotten perfect or near-perfect reviews around the board. I'm glad someone finally took the time to take off their hype spectacles and give the game an honest review. It's pretty damn far from perfect, although I would still classify it as a "great" game.

I don't think it raises the bar for anything, though. If Rockstar owned and developed the Euphoria Engine it might be some feat that they implemented it. Rather, like you said, it will pop up in more and more games as time goes on. And better gunplay - which GTA has needed for a while now - is great, but it's not inventive; they just implemented a standard set by existing shooters (and somewhat half-assedly).

Probably the most disturbing thing about this game is how you're given so much money but can't actually spend it on anything... Why carry 500 grand if you can't buy a safehouse or helicopter or tank or something?

Hopefully the next game in this series will improve on the improvements and bring back the fun stuff that worked in the previous games that they inexplicably left out. Why it's realistic to murder everyone on a Most Wanted list for money but not realistic to put out fires or run a taxi part-time is beyond me.

*Exactly* voicing my opinion, thank you.

Especially the inexplicably not-used-for-anything-remotely-expensive, huge amounts of cash I'm carrying around Liberty City really bother me. At least give me a 1 million dollar safehouse with a decent garage and a landing pad for my chopper, come on Rockstar, pretty please.

Dude, not everything's

Dude,

not everything's perfect but don't count on a game with this much content, this kind of exceptional storytelling, that's this much fun to play to come out in the next couple of years. Games this close to perfection come few and far in between. Cherish this gem and review it for what it is. It's not just a shooter or just a racing game or just a sandbox game. It's all that and more, perfectly melted into one, taking place in a beautiful convincing city with characters and a plot that few games can top. No game is perfect especially if so much is put into one single game. That said, this one is by far the very very best at what it is.

P.S.: a hyped game that sucks wouldn't get a 9.8 average out of more than 80 reviews. Reviews mostly by people that know what they're talking about and who have played more games than you and me together will ever play.

Anonymous wrote: Daniel.

Anonymous wrote:

Daniel. You have insulted the games industry by giving VF5 9 and GTA 8.5. Don't you feel really stupid? A poxy fighting game that has a few extra moves and combos compared to genre defining game and a game that pushes the games industry forward.

I can understand you saying that it is not as good in your OPINIOPN as you maybe expected, but to give it less than a standard fighting game, you have lost any self respcet as far as I am concerned. This game needs a proper review from one of your colleagues.

vf5 is way deeper than gta4 and so it have way more replay value

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Code of Conduct

Comments are subject to approval/deletion based on the following criteria:
1) Treat all users with respect.
2) Post with an open-mind.
3) Do not insult and/or harass users.
4) Do not incite flame wars.
5) Do not troll and/or feed the trolls.
6) No excessive whining and/or complaining.

Please report any offensive posts here.

For more video game discussion with the our online community, become a member of our forum.

Our Game Review Philosophy and Ratings Explanations.

About Us | Privacy Policy | Review Game | Contact Us | Twitter | Facebook |  RSS
Copyright 1999–2010 GameCritics.com. All rights reserved.