GTA 4 is a pretty good game. It’s huge, though, so I’m making my way through very slowly. There’s a lot of things to like about the game, but there’s a lot of things to hate, as well. I figured enough people were singing the game’s praises, I might as well point out things that I think are problems.
So consider this kind of an open letter to GTA 4.
The Health System
Seriously… couldn’t you just have restored my health to full after I finished a mission? Fuck dying because I didn’t go eat a hot dog. Fuck it right in the ear.
Driving while looking at the radar sucks. You have to drive slowly, you don’t get to see the scenery, and it’s lame. Why couldn’t you give me some kind of in-game prompting? Like an overlay or an arrow or some shit.
Oh sure, you were trying for a minimal HUD or some shit. Well fuck you! Give me a goddamn HUD. The HUD is an extension of my senses — it makes up for the senses I lose when I play games. Taking that away from me doesn’t increase my immersion, it just increases my frustration.
Every game’s gotta have a cover sytem
Ok, I get it. Gears of War did it, so now you’ve got to do it. Fine, i can live with that. But why did you have to go complicate things? In Gears, taking cover was almost as natural as breathing. In GTA 4, it involves multiple buttons and a bunch of BULL SHIT. It’s something you have to do to survive, but you’ve managed to make it no fun at all. And what’s with taking cover on things like pool tables? Who does that?
Taking the train
Honest, I do appreciate you giving me a way to speed-travel around Liberty City. Really, I do! But why did you have to make it so tedious? Drive to the train station, walk up to the platform, wait for a train, walk onto the train, get off the train, walk off the platform, steal car and go to destination like you should have in the first place… I mean fuck! I don’t like doing it in real life, and I sure as hell don’t like it in your game. Fuck that.
Dork missions in 2008? Seriously?
I know you had to full up an 80 hour game with content, but escort missions (or as we used to call them at Insomniac, “Dork Missions”) suck. Plain and simple. Protecting an AI while he does stupid shit and gets himself killed is lame lame lame LAME!
Why not just have them attack me instead of the ass-stupid NPC? That why I die before the NPC does and he doesn’t have to be smart. That way, at least it’s not AWFUL.
Fuck pool. Fuck darts. Fuck bowling. There’s too much waiting around in all three. Darts is the best of the group, but even then it manages to make up for that with other flaws. Plus the controls in all of them are terrible. And since you put your help messages high up in the corner of the screen in an unreadable font (see next item) now I can’t read how to do it without getting out of my damn chair and walking over to the TV like a fucking grandfather.
Hard-To-Read help messages
The text on the cel phone and the help messages are tiny, in a horrible font, and in all ways unreadable.
Seriously, how could you have fucked up your HUD this bad. HUD’s are pretty much the oldest thing in gaming. We’ve been doing them for years. Get with the program.
Cars, Streets, and the Beginning of the Game
I understand that you have to give me the worst cars right off the bat. I do, really.
But if you had to do that, why did you put so many offset or shifted streets in that part of the game? Was it a sacrifice you had to make to support streaming the city or something? I guess I can understand that, but it really makes the driving suck in the early game. And the early game is usually the most important part of a game. It’s the only part most casual gamers EVER see, and it sets the tone for the rest of the game.
I do thank you for the taxis and the motorctcles, though — they make it tolerable…
Later on, if I have more time, I’ll post the stuff I really like about GTA so far.