Grand Theft Auto IV User Review
NOTE : I have not been able to download or play the DLC (Episodes) released for GTAIV.
by Bank Alexander (I wrote this in 2008 for IGN.com)
Genre - Third-Person / Action Adventure
Developer: Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar North
Platform(s): Sony PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
November 14, 2008 - I just felt compelled to write my own review even though there are many out there and it's been out for some months. I apologize to anybody that gets even more confused about whether to get this game or not.
First off this is my first ever PS3 game when it came with the console. So I felt the 'fun' vibe straight away. I think all of you gamers know the feeling of getting something 'awesome' for the first time.
The game presentation is fantastic. Immediately when you start the game you'll see credits scrolling around creatively and effectively like big blockbuster movies. The dialogue in the whole game is brilliant and I would just play through the whole game again just to listen to the alternative dialogue (there are nearly always 2 ways that the characters talk to each other, from what I can see). I think that is a great idea, and would take a long time to record and program. Thus not so many games try such things.
The graphics are top notch. So much detail is put into the numerous alleyways, small corners and the landscape views on rooftops look dazzling. While there may be frame rate drops (especially when blowing up 10 cars in 10 seconds - not to mention 8 versus 8 RPG fights in multiplayer [more on that later]) that hinder the experience of the chase just alittle, it doesn't appear only when the extremes happen (eg. chained explosions).
I also like the PS3 color palette better, brighter doesn't always mean it's better. Personal opinion though, I just like grittier and darker most of the time. Though this can be changed easily in the menu.
A HUGE thing is the gameplay. The game has a auto-aim option which is great fun for getting into the game and maybe completing it for the 1st time. But then you'll get a sense of achievement if you complete it again with Manual aim, which also makes you better in multiplayer. There's really no problem with it in single player apart from mistakenly targeting and shooting pedestrians which alerts the LCPD (ingame police). But in multiplayer - As fun as it is to get into, it can make noobs/new players deadly and up to your skill level in a matter of minutes or make a kill streak impossible to maintain in a team deathmatch (either that or very easy to maintain, depends on your skill - as you would know). It can also make it too easy to kill unsuspecting people who are engaged in their own shootout which will eventually become a cheap kill, but this happens A LOT, so no big deal.. the player will probably return the favor sooner or later. Though the 'challenge' factor might be gone in auto-aim for the hardcore players, so they can just turn auto-aim off in games and change the rotation speed a bit.
Plus the vehicles.. the vehicle gameplay itself can be a standalone racing game. I thought it was awesome. Going high speeds in a swirling and bouncing First Person car hood view is just thrilling.
Multiplayer.. multiplayer, multiplayer. Thank you God. I don't know how many early hours of owning my PS3 I've lost in this feature. It's fun as hell, on any mode. I just play Team Deathmatch every time and never get bored. Though sometimes there are just bastards who purposely try make teams unfair and choose stupid match options.
Other than that it's really fun. And if you ever find a 16 player Free Mode, then brace yourself, for epic "LOLZ". The only problem, and it's a problem is that there is no organized matchmaking, like Halo 3.
You'll constantly find yourself spending half of the actual match time just trying to wait for players to join and kicking players and trying to even out teams (this is harder without a headset, which I don't have). But that's really it, I won't talk about online connections and lag though. Those can differ too greatly and since GTA IV is also the 1st online console game I've played, I didn't know what the big deal of the connection problems were. I had nothing to expect, it was a good experience I think.
Like I said in the second paragraph, the dialogue is great, which also goes hand-in-hand with the story.. which is equally phenomenal (in my opinion). No need to go into detail about this, you'll have to get in touch emotionally and deeply with the characters yourself.
And so overall this game was a blast for me and I can't imagine not having this game when I first got my PS3. I am normally a hardcore JRPG gamer (ironically is that this game has some role playing elements) but I thoroughly enjoyed this game.
Presentation: 10/10 Movie quality. Having no start game menu made it seem very fresh and streamlined. No actual load times make it even smoother. Great presentation in all categories.
Graphics: 9/10 Gorgeous and since the scope of the city is huge you couldn't expect anything better anyway. Though there could have been more houses to enter and a little more destruction.
Gameplay: 9/10 FUN. Don't get me started on the fun factor of vehicles + ramps.
Sound/Music: 10/10 The best voice acting I've heard in a while. Everything from guns to cars and NPCs all sound awesome.
Multiplayer: 8/10 You'll either love it to death, like the case with me. Or you'll get pissed off at the world, literally.
Longetivity: 10/10 I did 40 hours in my 1st save, and going through again for trophies. Thus, this was one long action game. Plus multiplayer.. a very replayable game with friends.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.