By vdortizo 30 Comments
First of all this is a RANT so do not take it as an insult or an unbiased opinion piece...
I'm currently listening to the archive of Bombcasts and for all of 2008 the crew gave great opinions as to why GTA4 was their game of the year. So since I decided to skip it before, I guessed it was time to give it a try to see what all the fuzz was about and got the game for the PC along with Episodes from Liberty City from a bargain bin and decided to give it a go, but before I go into the details of my experience let me tell you of what I have done with GTA in my life before this.
My first GTA game was GTA2 for the PC which I liked very much, originally for the simple and funny gameplay but never got into because there was nothing to do in that game but to wander aimlessly looking for missions, no story, no point, no interest; when GTA3 came out the story was somehow there, the gameplay was still there so it finally clicked a bit and I got enough into it to finish the story missions, but the story was so bland that I immediatly forgot about it, then Vice City came along and being like GTA3 I thought I could get around to finishing it. I got bored right in the middle of it. Finally San Andreas came and went and I just couldn't care for it.
Now onto GTA4, first of all I have a medium range PC (It pisses me off, because I can run Skyrim in medium settings and Portal 2 runs great on high settings, both games came out in 2011 and GTA4 came out for PC in 2009) so being a port the game was annoying from the beginning; I had to run it on low settings in order to get a playable framerate. The game starts out great, the story is finally there, the characters are great, the way the missions and everything else came together (I cursed the heavens when I found out MIchelle/Karen was working for the FIB). The problem was the gameplay.
I had given the GTA franchise a pass when it was funny, but now that it's serious the gameplay has become almost impossible to tolerate; the missions are not varied at all, they almost only come down to: go find a guy/money/drugs, kill/recover and optionally get away from the cops, if it's a guy you have to chase him down while in a car most of the time. Now, it became intolerable in the following scenario: the game was already becoming frustrating with its "varied" missions so I decided to do the bank robery mission with Packie and after dying for my own stupidity the first time, I hit wall; the game respawns me at the beginning of the mission (OK that's acceptable) and Packie asks me to get a car, "all right" I say to myself only to look around at blocks and blocks of an empty Liberty City, the words "Fu** you" pass by my mind, I continue on and end up dying again, this time because even if I have a couple of "teammates" helping me rob a bank I'm the only target for the cops; I ended up trying the mission a few more times and wasting an hour of my life but not fighting the cops, instead I wasted most of the time finding a car and getting to the damn bank.
I guess it's only one mission gone bad, so after the last one I go on another one: I have to find some guy named Oleg but he isn't in his house so I have to find him and then chase him down and kill him (Oh! Wow! That is so new! But the problem is not chasing him, the problem is driving; the controls suck and I'm using a 360 controller!!) he has a great racing car so it's almost impossible to catch him the first time, I respawn after he gets away from me and I have to go back to his house and then chase him again (What a waste of time!), but how strange I have to find a car (again!!) in an empty city after I respawn, I spent another hour just finding a good car and cursing the driving controls.
That was the straw that broke the Camels back. After I finally finished the mission I just stared at the screen, hit ALT+F4 and just uninstalled the game, I was done. The only thought going by my head now is how did Jeff and Vinny manage to pull a Jedi mind trick and convince Ryan and Brad to pick this for game of the year 2008 when MGS4 was so much more.
PS: Even Brad hasn't even finished the game after all this time: https://twitter.com/#!/bradshoemaker/status/147522455957807104