Grand Theft Auto IV

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jcaffoe
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Grand Theft Auto IV

Post by jcaffoe » Thu May 01, 2008 5:31 am

The first game I have played in a long, long time that I am having trouble finding fault with.

Not only is this the best iteration of the series in terms of gameplay, it's certainly the most compelling narrative I've seen in a game recently.

And beyond that, this game is packed with so much detail and life that it's really just a marvel to sit and watch someone play it.

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Dan Santat
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Post by Dan Santat » Mon May 05, 2008 4:07 am

I have to agree. Allow me to take a moment to rant and add a few points.
I'm about 10 hours into it and these are my observations....

In a nutshell, if you want to see a game that has covered almost every detail with a fine tooth comb then I recommend you get this game. To me it feels less like a game and more like an experience, which may sound a little strange. It all comes down to little details. I turned on the TV in my safehouse and they literally made dozens of half hour shows for you to sit and watch with commercials and everything.

PROS

Nico is, in my opinion, the first well fleshed out protagonist of any of the GTA series. He's a much more likable character than the previous, "I'm a thug and I want to have all the power" type character.

Speaking from the experience of working in the video game industry, the fun of this game isn't the fact that it's an open city, but rather, it's an open city that has a ton of stuff to do. No other game other than maybe Crackdown, has really taken full advantage of that. I wouldn't say that all the activities you can do are totally fun but the fact that almost anything you interact with can be a game is pretty outstanding.
I worked on all the Spider Man movie games and the thing you always heard was make the city bigger. The end product resulted in a massively huge New York city with nothing to do other than to swing around on your web. With that said, the world in this game is massive and I have yet to find any real serious glitches or sloppiness in details which to me is amazing considering all the virtual real estate you have to cover.

CONS

I don't think the driving engine is as strong as the previous GTA games. These cars require that you hit the breaks almost a whole city block in order to make a turn without crashing during a high speed chase. The character controls lag slightly but that's only because the character has more realistic movement. I guess you have to give up some traits in order to excel in another?

I kind of miss the awesome soundtrack? This game has fewer known songs but still has a tremendous variety which is amazing but most of the songs kind of annoy me so I just listen to the jazz station.
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Post by dark77778 » Mon May 05, 2008 5:34 am

Dan Santat wrote:Nico is, in my opinion, the first well fleshed out protagonist of any of the GTA series. He's a much more likable character than the previous, "I'm a thug and I want to have all the power" type character.

That's the big thing that I've been hearing. He's apparently a pretty nice guy, he just happens to be a killer for hire. I say it's about darn time they fleshed out a character. *looks at the annoyingly bland and mute GTA3 character and thugtastic San Andres guy*
Dan Santat wrote:Speaking from the experience of working in the video game industry, the fun of this game isn't the fact that it's an open city, but rather, it's an open city that has a ton of stuff to do. No other game other than maybe Crackdown, has really taken full advantage of that. I wouldn't say that all the activities you can do are totally fun but the fact that almost anything you interact with can be a game is pretty outstanding.

Hey, don't forget Oblivion. If that game's not an experience then I don't know what is.

Question is, does it get old really fast? There was plenty to do in GTA3 but it was rather frustrating due to how explosive the cars and how repetitive the missions were, to the point where I didn't care and just spamed rocket launcher cheats, ran around beating people with a baseball bat, and sniped people in the head while quoting Monty Python's Black Knight. Also, I heard that they fixed this in GTA4, but seriously if I fail a mission I fail a mission. I don't want to be able to "accidentally" kill so-and-so's favorite prostitute in a mission and have her respawn, or not get some in-game ramifications.
Dan Santat wrote:I don't think the driving engine is as strong as the previous GTA games.

That's kinda strange, but I guess I can deal with adjusting to shoddy controls as long as my hood doesn't go flying because I barely hit a cab.
Dan Santat wrote:I kind of miss the awesome soundtrack? .

Can't you put your own songs onto the radio?

Oh also, I hear that getting away from the cops is easier now. Do you find that's a good thing or is it less fun?
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Dan Santat
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Post by Dan Santat » Mon May 05, 2008 10:05 am

Too early to say if the game play gets too old. Though I will say that the whole dynamic of getting into relationships and maintaining them by periodically going on dates gets a little trying at times, but now you have to also maintain friendships with your friends.

Can't say about the consequences of failing a mission. So far, in this game, if you fail a mission, it asks you if you immediately if you want to retry it and being the nut that I am I want to get it all done right.

I don't believe you can add songs to the radio

Getting away from the cops is actually HARDER than the previous games. What happens is if a cop reports you then the map projects a radius diagram that you have to drive out of before you wear down any of your stars. BUT if you are spotted by another cop in the process then they will report you and the radius diagram resets and you have to do it all over again. I will say that there are cops EVERYWHERE in this game and you often just want to live a "clean life" just because you don't want to be hassled in the process of playing the game. I only say this because acquiring a gun or bulletproof jacket isn't as easy as beating a gangster to death and picking it up off his dead body. In a sense it makes your gun and other hardware much more valuable. Again, it would be a hassle to have to go drive way across town just to go to the gun store and then fork over $500 for a flak vest.
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Post by Kazu » Tue May 06, 2008 1:33 am

I lost a day of production to this game today, but it was a lot of fun. The city is pretty amazing, and the story is engaging.

So far, Cops n' Crooks is my favorite multiplayer game type. By the way, my gamertag is Amzu (for the studio) and Leon Redbeard (for home).
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Post by tomservojr » Tue May 06, 2008 9:20 am

I agree with most of what you guys have said already - I'll just add that it's a pretty remarkable game to play if you live or have spent a lot of time in New York. There are a lot of little touches that are very specific to the real-life neighborhoods, and I've actually plowed into oncoming traffic because I was distracted by something I recognized from the real world. On that level alone, it's some of the most fun I've had with a game in the last couple years. I'm really into exploration in games, and GTA IV is just ridiculously dense.

The other side of that is that there isn't much reward for exploration. A general example: there's a fire escape that can be accessed by climbing onto a dumpster, leaping across, and grabbing the railing, but after climbing up three flights of stairs, you're rewarded with a fake door and a bird's eye view of your idling car. Maybe it's a nitpick, but with the depth of this new Liberty City, I kind of expect a little something in return for my efforts, even if it's just a little more ammo or something. (I think Crackdown may have spoiled me in this regard.)

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Post by jcaffoe » Tue May 06, 2008 1:50 pm

Honestly, I like the fact that not everything you do has a reward. It reminds me of simpler times where I would try to reach every area of a map just to know that I could, and not necessarily for a box of ammo or an achievement. Makes it feel more like exploration and less like work.

I really, really want to get a gang together in free play to see how long we can keep up a 6-star wanted level...

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Post by Tony » Tue May 06, 2008 3:18 pm

I can not say enough awesome things about this game.

My only major nitpick is the music - I'm used to having the "MP3 Player" radio station from the PC versions, and it sucks that it's not present here. While you can play music through the XBOX's default music thing, it also overlays the cutscenes, which is irritating, and the volume sometimes obscures dialogue. Oh well.

The waypoint system is also a crazy change. In previous games, you got a blip on the radar and had to find your own way there. With the waypoint system, you can almost drive by the radar, and you end up learning less about the topography. Additionally frustrating is that it obeys the direction of traffic, so it won't send you the wrong way down a one way street.
On the other hand, considering all the overpasses and the density of the streets, it's definitely a good design decision.

Gotta love those cutscenes, though. For a game, they're unmatched in their brilliance. But even compared to TV and Film, they more than hold their own. DEAR HOUSER BROTHERS: how have you managed to make me care about your characters so much????

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Post by Tony » Tue May 06, 2008 3:22 pm

Dan Santat wrote:Getting away from the cops is actually HARDER than the previous games. What happens is if a cop reports you then the map projects a radius diagram that you have to drive out of before you wear down any of your stars. BUT if you are spotted by another cop in the process then they will report you and the radius diagram resets and you have to do it all over again.


I've found that it's actually not too difficult to lose the police - I simply take lots of turns, driving away from the little siren icons, and get out of the radius. From there, you can just park for a sec to let things cool off. Works most of the time.

It does seem a lot easier to get cops to notice you in the first place, though. That's a bit frustrating. There are a lot of them, and they do not like it when you accidentally cripple a whole crowd of pedestrians.

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jcaffoe
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Post by jcaffoe » Tue May 06, 2008 3:32 pm

Tony wrote:
Dan Santat wrote:Getting away from the cops is actually HARDER than the previous games. What happens is if a cop reports you then the map projects a radius diagram that you have to drive out of before you wear down any of your stars. BUT if you are spotted by another cop in the process then they will report you and the radius diagram resets and you have to do it all over again.


I've found that it's actually not too difficult to lose the police - I simply take lots of turns, driving away from the little siren icons, and get out of the radius. From there, you can just park for a sec to let things cool off. Works most of the time.

It does seem a lot easier to get cops to notice you in the first place, though. That's a bit frustrating. There are a lot of them, and they do not like it when you accidentally cripple a whole crowd of pedestrians.


greatest moment in my GTA career was escaping a 3-star wanted level by ramping my car over a five-story building into the river and swimming to safety.

or when I jacked a guy's car and threw him in front of another moving vehicle.

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Post by Futuredigga » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:42 am

Like someone here already mentioned I love the waypoint system. Makes getting to your wanted destination much easier.

I'll agree on the part about the radio not being all that great on this game, but I usually end up listening to VIBE or the jazz-station.

I don't like using my time dating girls and hanging with your friends all the time though, after a while you get so many you start asking yourself "um....what was I suppose to do again?" I want to get on with my missions, dammit! :lol:

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