Over the three day weekend I finally got a lot of GTA 4 in, and I do love it quite a lot. Some of the things I mentioned in my first post still continue to annoy me (the many MANY buttons on the controls) but many have faded as I’ve gotten used to dealing with them.
Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite things about GTA 4 and my top 5 least favorite things — just based on this weekend’s playing:
1. Niko Bellik – He’s the series’ best hero to date. Not only is he a real three-dimensional character, but he’s also a total fucking badass. No matter how long I play, I’m constantly glad that he’s my avatar.
2. Brucie – I still fucking LOVE Brucie. Every time he calls me I smile. He’s just such a totally over-the-top character. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, so I won’t go into great detail. Suffice it to say that Mary didn’t like him and first… and now she loves him.
3. Popping and stopping – Even though it’s been implemented much better in many other games (Gears of War, for example), the cover mechanic comes into its own as you progress through the game. I still hate the controls, but the gameplay setups that you go through later in the game are VERY satisfying. Clearing out whole buildings (or sometimes even more) full of bad guys just makes you feel like a total badass. And the NPCs in the game never let you forget it. “Damn, Niko! That’s some crazy Red Army shit!”
4) Driving fast cars – I still haven’t found a ready supply yet, but when I get one of those sleek-sexy-super-fast cars I get an instant hard on. Just like in GTA 3. Also, thank you to whoever came up with the taxi shortcutting mechanic. It makes getting through boring retries SO much nicer.
5) The story – I have to admit, I’m actually on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens next. It’s a really good story.
HATE… SO MUCH HATE
1. The helecopter – It handles like a whale riding a flying cow. There’s this one mission where you have to hold it in place while an NPC shoots out of it which is total bullshit. I mean, COME ON. Let me shoot, for fuck’s sake? Also, I failed that mission like 5 times, and when I finally DID complete it I had no idea what I’d done differently. It just seemed random.
2. Getting hit by cars – I can’t count the number of times I’ve stepped out of a taxi to get hit by another car. Often fatally. It’s REALLY annoying.
3. Dating – I see why it’s there, but I hate getting right in front of a critical path mission and then getting a phone call from some douchebag telling me they want to hang out. I DON’T CARE about them. To the game’s credit, the mechanic seems almost entirely optional, but still. It’s annoying.
4. Health mechanic – I still hate this. Why couldn’t they just have refilled me at the end of a mission? There’s nothing compelling or good about driving ten minutes out of my way (or hunting down a taxi) to get a burger. AND WHY THE FUCK DOES IT TAKE THE FOOD SERVICE PEOPLE SO LONG TO SERVE ME FOOD! I just want to get my shit, refill my health, and leave. Fuck!
5. Getting arrested – I really just wish the cops would always just kill me. The only time you lose all your weapons in GTA 4 is when you get arrested. If you get killed you get to keep your weapons, which is COOL. I actually feel like my character is accumulating things and improving over the course of my game. However, the one holdover to the old system is still there, and it is totally pointless — ifI get arrested it just means I reload my save. And I’m never clear about the criteria for when the cops arrest me VS just attack me. I’ve failed missions because I got arrested, and I have no idea why it happened. It’s pretty lame.
All in all, though, I give it three thumbs up. It’s a great game.
I”m going to be out of town this week on business, so I may not have a chance to post again for a while. But when I get back I’ll make sure to post and let you all know how it was.