I’ve been betrayed! My two closest online buddies have traded in their copies of GTAIV for something better (or so they think) No longer can the three of us cruise the streets of Liberty City looking to cause mayhem and destruction, no more impromptu Top Gear-esque style races pitting helicopters against Infernos or dramatic drag races along the litter ridden beaches of GTA’s grimiest city.
We didn’t review GTAIV when it came out in march simply because it was too big… by the time we’d finished testing it for you it would have been too late to be of any practical use… so instead here I am all these months later wondering where it all went wrong.
So what have they traded GTA in for you may ask? Far Cry 2 and Battlefield Bad Company… but Why? Why? Well it seems that all is not well in Liberty City. The accusation is that it’s just not “fun” and I have to confess that I agree, it isn’t as much fun as San Andreas or even Vice City. Gone are the entertaining taxi, ambulance and police missions replaced with either nothing or a much more humorless “real life” alternative, somehow working for your cousin’s taxi firm doesn’t feel as much fun as jacking a yellow cab and racing around a’la Crazy Taxi and to say the ambulance missions are sorely missed is a massive understatement… and I’ve not even mentioned the garbage collection, cycle deliveries, haulage missions or pizza deliveries.
No longer can you buy property or as in Vice City Stories develop that property. You can earn money.. but other than clothes, guns and fast food there is little to spend that money on… why can I no longer pimp my ride? The addition of “girlfriends” is nothing new but GTAIV takes it to a new level of tediousness and irritation… the ability to shoot them being little in the way of recompense.
So what did happen to all the fun? Rockstar it seems were keen to create something more realistic, more gritty. Personally All I can see is a shadow of a game, a stunningly beautiful shadow of a game but a shadow none the less. I miss walking the sunny streets of San Andreas only to be disturbed by SA’s finest dragging some poor unexpecting bad guy off the street. I miss the quirky humor almost cartoon style narrative and gameplay. So as I handed my copy over to the staff at Voodoo Consoles in Loughborough I happily reminded myself that I had a copy of San Andreas gathering dust in a box at home.
GTA San Andreas, Vice City Stories and Liberty City Stories are available through the seenit store… and I recommend them all. If on the other-hand you fancy moping around a dark dingy humorless metropolis buy GTAIV