I can admit that Grand Theft Auto IV did a variety of things well, but for a game that got such critical praise and so many perfect scores it baffles me how many elements or mechanics within the game are just plain bad, and how we as a gaming community are so quick to overlook them.
The game forces you to spend a large amount of game play time behind the wheel, however unlikely it is you actually own that wheel, and as such you would expect this perfect scoring game to have a driving system that would rival the big boys of Burnout or Gran Turismo. This is not the case, as all cars feel like you have filled them with enough lead to smother a somewhat bewildered yak.
As you perform the ever so joyful task of driving about, knocking street lights over and causing pedestrians to jump out of the way fast enough they send their underwear into different area codes police are happy as Larry to ignore you, presumably under some “boys will be boys” logic, however, the second you become inebriated the slightest swerve is enough to cause the police to suddenly decide it is time to act...
Within the game you will collect what scholars have come to know as money, however, in the world of Liberty City it doesn’t exactly react the same way it would in the normal world. During an early portion of the game, I had in my possession a distinctly large amount of money, yet was still engaging in grudging conversations with my cousin about how we were going to move up in the world, we both seemed so content in our depression that neither of us saw fit to check out our accounts to realise we could have afforded to buy two or three houses with enough money left over to fill said houses with enough hookers and blow to casually ignore the rest of the game’s plot and create a new game called Grand Theft Auto: Niko’s Private Time.
If you get bored of completing the missions, you have the option to invest yourself in mini games across the city. However, each of these is implemented so poorly you could spend five minutes searching online and find a better pool game easily. When they are done that badly, it seems almost pointless for them to be in there at all.
Unfortunately this list could go on and on, for whatever good element Rockstar added there are just as many bad elements, yet still this game saw high reviews across the board, just as other games are doing each and every week. Resident Evil 5 saw the same responses, any glitch or error, people were willing to look over because “that’s just how Resident Evil does it.”…
Why is it that games reviewing is allowed to be so biased, and I say this as someone who does games reviewing (although probably not as much as my editor would like.) If you look at Metacritic, search for scores over 90% for most mediums there will be a handful, movies have around sixty titles that score over ninety, yet video games, miraculously have over three hundred titles scoring this high.
Without criticism video games won’t strive to improve, to let games release sub-par mechanics or dialogue and claim that it is “good for a game” is ludicrous, to see a sequel have a glaring flaw and retort with nothing more than “we coped with it before” will get us nowhere. What I want to see is dialogue in games that makes me think “I wish movies were like this.” It is okay to mention a game’s flaws, it is okay to want more from a game.
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