Re: Why do you love/hate Grand Theft Auto IV?
I certainly don't hate it. Any game that become sort of a cultural touchstone like this has gotta be exceptional, and I remember playing through it the first time and excitedly texting my buddies about did you see this, have you bumped into that, sort of thing. And I think it gets kind of a bad rap for the city being dead. It really was the precursor for the Red Dead "blue dot missions" where missions would randomly spawn, and unlike RD, where it was really just the same 7 or so missions over and over, they had recurring story based missions, like the serial killer thing.
But it did have some flaws that caused my recollection of it to not be quite as pristeen.
It was huge, perhaps too huge. I remember leaving work and sort of not looking forward to having to put in a few hours tonight, or I'll never finish this ****ing game.
A big one for me. The map was stunning, but it didn't lend itself to a fun type of driving. Mocking the NYC map means a lot of short blocks, cross traffic, and sharp 90 degree tunrs. Not nearly the long comfortable highways and open off road expanses of San Andreas.
The side cell phone missions were an enormous burden. They got less so once you turned the phone off, but if you're like me, you'd still feel like you were gonna miss out on something. Unfortunately you never did. It was just driving people to hang out at the strip club, which got old fast. Or playing a mediocre billiards simulator. Most of the stuff they did was fascinating, but only those first couple times. Like Assassin's Creed had a nifty little Bocce simulator on the homefront, but they didn't demand you come back and play it mid mission or they'd stop giving you lumber or something.
And this is a bit more esoteric, and I worry it will effect V possibly. One of the things that made Vice City so stunning (and that's my favorite of them by the way), and San Andreas, was setting it during a specific era. Rockstar is very well known for it's satirical take on American culture. I feel like there's more to chew on satirically through the filter of time. Those great soundtracks. The clothes. Even the structure of the games, like the south central gang culture, are all huge parts of the previous games. Taking place currently I feel like lost some of that. The soundtrack wasn't nearly as good. And there was some nice cultural satire like on TV, and on the Internet, but that stuff was far more disconnected from the from the actual gameplay than previous iterations. How dated do those internet cafe's feel now?
Oddly, I felt like both add-ons, were better games, in part because they dumped you into more specific cultures, the biker gang, and the club scene, in a way that allowed a little more of that cultural satire. They were also smaller, and had more action sequence missions.