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 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.