GTA IV: Impressions a week later

3 min read

By Philip Dunkley


A week ago today, I remember driving up from Parys (no I don’t live there, but I was on holiday), to Johannesburg for the midnight launch of one of the most anticipated titles ever to grace this planet. I arrived at Brightwater Commons around 8 o’clock to see that both AnimeWorx and Zaps were doing a launch event, with Zaps having most of the publicity and vendor support around this. Anxiously we all waited, or drank beer and discussed all things gaming until midnight when our copies were handed out to us and we could be on our merry way (200km’s in my case) back home to start this new adventure as quickly as possible. Needless to say, I got home and fell asleep before I even started (I really am getting old).

Now I don’t have anything against these midnight launches, but I really would like them to maybe give us our copies at around 9 or something, because it has to be 12 o’clock somewhere in the world, and that should count for something, right? I just don’t play games that late anymore, especially not starting a new one at about 2h30 in the morning. But I suppose that’s the rules. I’ll just have to deal with it.

Now I don’t know exactly how to put this, without offending about 6 Billion People (Well actually 5,999,999,999 people, because I’m sure Jack Thompson would be delighted), but I’m just not that blown away by the game. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s a fantastic game all round, but it just did not give me the satisfaction and excitement that I was expecting, it kind of felt the same as before. Please remember everyone; this is just an opinion, so bare with me here, I’ll explain everything as I go along.

Firstly, yes the game looks good, but is it that mind blowing, compared to some other games out there? Is it also that original? Yes there is plenty to do, but it’s kind of the same as the previous games with a couple of extra’s thrown in.

I know there is plenty to do, but it just seems a little same old, same old.


Secondly, is Liberty City what you expected it to be? It was not for me. I was expecting bigger, a lot bigger in fact, not a rehash that has no resemblance to the original.

I want to ruffle a few feathers here by asking what you all think, as it seems that every website out there has jumped on the 100% bandwagon, including us, although this was another reviewers opinion, but I don’t think it was worthy of that. Definitely 90%, but 100%, I question. I know that many people think that this is worth that kind of score, but it was just a bit of a different experience for me.

I enjoyed the large scale of missions in San Andreas, and the whole new experience of GTA III. These 2 games will go down in history for me, yet while the latest offering is inherently a great game, it just won’t go down as my favourite version of the series.

There we go; I needed to get that off my chest, and you can lambaste me as much as you want, but I just feel that this is what I have experienced.

Last Updated: May 5, 2008

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • I totally agree, and have said it a few times. For a city that’s suppossed to be “fully realised” Why are so few shops available? Why are clothing and weapons so limited?

  • baba

    I appreciate your honesty.

    I guess everyone looks for something different in a game, and you did not find what you were looking for…

  • Lupus

    Too me personally there is only one game I am really waiting for and that is Fallout 3, GTA lost it’s appeal to me around about 69% through San Andreas, its just so samey after that. 4 years later I might go back and get that last 31% but for now hmmm.

  • Maybe I’ve been listening to the wrong hype about the wrong game, but with all the discussion of Fable 2’s “total immersion” has me over expecting.

    GTA is good. But where I thought it was going to make a whole bunch of games superfluous, it clearly sets out just how it could be undone by APB, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Prototype, Fable2 or (shudder) Saints Row 2.

  • Its great , but somewherew someting is not 100% loved GTA SA more…. 😕

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..Connecting your Playstation 3 to PSN

  • RivaZA

    Because they had to make it for the 360 aswell. They had to make it fit on a DVD. I am pretty sure their original vision called for a much grander enviroment. If it had been a PS3 only game they definatly would not had to have made as many compromises.

  • Fox1

    GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD…GRiD… :mrgreen:

  • morris

    I initialy was not going to get this game as I never played San Andreas, I did get Liberty City Stories, but I never really enjoyed it and didn’t get very far. In fact there is not one sand-box game that I have really enjoyed. However, I folded to the hype and cursed myself for my sheep like behaviour and bought the game.

    I am blown away. 100% and then some. Not graphically obviously, but in a sense that it achieves what very few games can. I cant put my finger on what it is exactly, perhaps that I ignored the hype for as long as possible and that I’m not drawing any comparisons with San Andreas, but my gaming life has been changed. Thats my 2c anyway.

    One question, am I too late to try San Andreas now or will this ruin it for me?

  • Messiah

    I was thinking the same thing. Is it worth trying SA now?

  • bhw

    I played GTA:SA on the PC and must say it was a completely underwhelming experience.The graphics was downright crap (as with most PS2 PC ports) and the gameplay combined a mediocre arcade driving game with a second rate shooter and some rpg-esque elements added on as an afterthought. For my money Mafia was a much more rewarding experience in terms of presentation , diverse and engaging missions , decent graphics and a much more immersive and rewarding storyline.

    So with this in mind would you guys still reccomend that I get GTA IV ?

  • I just with the controls were fully customizable. ei: stick and button assigning.

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  • j4nr1k

    I disagree,

    Rockstar managed to place a complete virtual city, with insane amounts of detail onto a dual layer DVD and stream it without any loads or issues… how do you top that.

    The acting is better than most oscar winning movies and the way it all glues together… unreal!

    This is by far the deapest, most rewarding and realsitic game I’ve ever played.

    Prev GTA’s where good, but I never cared for the world or persons in it.

    In this one I even stop at red lights!

  • Thanks for all the comments, @bhw, still buy the game, it’s really good, just not as good as i thought it was going to be. Trust me it’s still worth the money though!! 🙂

  • Vamp

    I dunno. It just seems that for the last 2 years or so, games
    just drown in their own hype. They kinda set themselves up for disappointment. I enjoyed Gears on the Pc (as i’ve never played it before), but the only 2 games that really delivered for me were COD4 and Portal (which i think deserves a score way above 100%)

  • bhw

    I don’t understand how critics review games – surely 100% implies flawless gaming perfection. I seem to recall when Mass Effect was reviewed it was marked down for the graphical glitches ( Texture Pop-in, tearing etc.) and framerate issues. So when Rockstar brings out GTA V and its better than IV what score are they going to give it ?

  • GTA4 is still a good game. The addition of city wide multiplayer alone is worth it. It just comes across as a bit gen.5 rather than nextgen.

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