Wednesday, April 30, 2008

GTA IV. Best. Game. Ever?

GTA IV First Impressions - Got your bib on? Good, because its time to slurp GTA IV and my boy Nico. Judging by the title of this post you kind of get the general idea of what I think about the game. Considering this is my all-time favorite franchise, this should be no surprise. The reason a question mark ends the title is because after playing it for only 2 days, its waaay to soon to make any kind of judgement on its status on the all-time great game pantheon. But if you ask my wife its not too early to be addicted to it. After picking up the limited edition at midnight (pic of the contents is above, all except the faceplate which I plan on giving away, if you're interested email me) I haven't been able to stay away from this game. Playing something else would make me feel like I was cheating somehow, this is gaming crack. Right now I'd give the game a solid A (9.5), but not an A+. Below are some early first impressions.
The Awesome
- The storyline: It started out kind of slow but now seems so much deeper than any GTA plot before it. Very addictive.
- Online play: For me Halo 3 sets the bar for online play but all of the different modes in GTA are just sick. You'll be able to do things online in this game that you never could before, amazing.
- The humor: Gamers expect this franchise to be funny, but this game set the bar even higher. Not only have I laughed out loud while listening to commercials on the radio while driving around Liberty City, but the dialogue between characters is a riot.
- The Shooting Mechanics: Have finally been fixed. My opinion on this might be a little skewed after playing with the goofy Metal Gear Online control scheme (oh, yeah...I totally forgot about the MGO beta) but all of the problems in this area seem to be fixed. The fighting controls are also solid.
- The City: Liberty City feels incredibly real. The combination of sights and sounds, from everything to the people, buildings, and the weather make Nico's adopted home feel very authentic.
- The Cellphone: A brilliant way to keep track of everything and a smooth way to get involved in multiplayer.
- Nico: He's funny, a badass and much more likeable than CJ who could be a bit of a whiner.
The Not So Awesome
- The Driving Controls: I'm sure I'll figure this out soon but right now the controls are awfully splashy. Gamers used to be able to rely on the e-brake to make quick turns but right now every car handles like a '76 Chrysler Cordoba.
- The Soundtrack: I don't really have a problem with the in-game music, its okay. I'm just kind of ticked that I can't make a custom soundtrack from my 360 hard drive like I could with San Andreas. Why take out such a cool feature? Hopefully an update can fix this.
- Draw Distance Issues: Sometimes the city just doesn't fill in quite fast enough. It doesn't happen all the time but it does occur much to often. This isn't just annoying, it destroys the illusion of the game.
GTA IV is offering up a great experience so far. Sweet single-player and awesome multi-player in a fully immersible virtual world. Its hard to ask for much more than that.


FrostyMelon said...

The MP is solid. The lobby is 'eh', nothing spectacular but very functional. And, we found out last night then when the host drops - it will pass host duties to person with best connection. Nice touch.

I've only completed about 6% but already spent hours just screwing around in the city. The things you hear, discover, etc, really do a good job of encompassing you into the game.

The cell is a fun item in MP :)
I also enjoy the improvement in overall control scheme, with the exeption of driving. At this time I spend most of my time using in-car view, but that's not the greatest solution when you're trying to hunt someone down.

The addition of the new mapping system is a big plus (I guess we could say this is what they took from Saints Row).

I am not to keen on the latest radio selection, and totally agree about the lack of ability for a custom soundtrack.

...and that's about all I can add/add to at this time. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday night playing a mixed bag of single player and multi-player, but now out of town and can't get back to it until Monday night. I will pass along - helicopter races are a blast! ;)

Eli the Mad (Beer) Man said...

Like T-bone, this is my fave franchise. Cept as you all know I'm not a k0nz013 luvah. HOWEVER... I recently got the chance to play a little CoD4 on a PS3 an d found the controllers to be... well, not as previously sucktastic as I thought. Still nowhere near as accurate as a fraggalicious mouse and keyboard, but... playable.

I've been keeping tabs on the reviews for GTA Quatro and the PS3 scores seem a smidge better then teh XB. Why?

Terry "coloradojoe" Terrones said...

I'm not sure why the PS3 version would rate any higher. If I had to choose, which I did because I have both a PS3 and a 360, I'd pick the 360 version based on the exclusive content alone.