Game of the Year, no contest.
Ah yes, GTA IV. To say the least, it’s a brilliant game, but you don’t need us to tell you that. A simple Google search will provide you with thousands of people praising it. We can tell you, quite assuredly, that this is one of the best games of the year. However, that’s not what we’re here for. We’re going to analyze GTA IV… we’re going to pinpoint exactly what makes it a great game. It’s not just the free roaming, nor the spectacular graphics; the vehicle physics or the oft-hilarious euphoria engine. It’s something more:
Everything feels right.
It is the way everything comes together, working in perfect equilibrium that truly creates a unique experience. Rarely do such things happen in the gaming industry. Now is not to say that GTA IV is without flaws, but the flaws are so insignificant when compared to everything that is good in GTA IV. This is by far the most impressive thing GTA IV has to offer. It’s not enough for a game to have gorgeous graphics, a brilliant story, and spectacular controls if they don’t work well together.
So then, why is it that they fit together so well?
Simple: excellent design. The story depicts a very gritty and glum Liberty City, and the graphics style reflects this. The bright lights and busy streets of “Star Junction” attempt to cover up the layer of corruption that surrounds the entire city by providing an ideal picturesque downtown area; but it is simply a façade, and all of Liberty City’s residents are aware of this.
The attention to detail is absurd in GTA IV; be it pedestrians running through the rain with newspapers above their heads, cab drivers tossing coffee cups out their window, or the police officers taking actual shifts, it’s realistic enough to make simply walking through Liberty City always an interesting affair.
Yet the attention to detail is pale in comparison to the story. The story provides a truly epic feel as you progress through it; starting from the bottom and working your way up. Twists and turns line the story, albeit some of the early missions are quite predictable. Nonetheless, playing through GTA IV’s story really engages you; even if it is a tad bit cliché at times.
The reason why GTA IV enjoyed such brilliant critical acclaim is simple: it’s by far, much greater than the sum of its parts. Any part by itself is great, but when combined, the result is brilliant. Rockstar has once again successfully managed to create a true work of art.
In conclusion, a game as great as GTA IV is a very rare gem indeed, albeit not particularly innovative, it does everything right. We can only hope that more game companies will follow suit and help forge the way for a new future of gaming.