I put my foot in it last week with my gun-jumping initial response to Grand Theft Auto IV. The game has since grown on me I see what all the fuss is about. Part of the reason I didn’t initially take to the mayhem of Liberty City is because this is the first GTA title I have really bothered to spend time on. Perhaps if I had played one of its predecessors I would have known what to expect and gotten into the swing of things more swiftly.
I stand by my opinion that the game is a little slow to get going – but this is only if you dive straight into the linear storyline. The sandbox concept of gaming is put to best use in Grand Theft Auto IV where you can stick to following the plot, or ignore it, put it on hold and explore the virtual city causing mayhem and leaving a wake of death, chaos and broken virtual families in your wake… if you like.
The gameplay in GTA IV is superb, even if the story is nonsense and the missions you get sent on are fun, if perhaps a little easy (so far). I’m approaching 20% completion of the game, which offers 100 hours of gameplay, and possibly more depending on how much time you spend aimlessly murdering and robbing the unfortunate inhabitants of the virtual world.
The game is awesome in multiplayer mode where up to 16 players can invade Liberty City and wreck the place – for fun, or with tenuous objectives. This adds to the value of the title which carries a high price tag but delivers hours of fun in return. In this way GTA IV is unlike many other titles for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 that, while fun, are short-lived and leave you feeling betrayed considering that you had to exchange a kidney for their purchase. None of that nonsense here, and that earns Rockstar Games an affection in my books which until now has been reserved for those magnificent bastards at Valve.
I’m glad I stuck it out with GTA IV and look forward to plowing my way through the rest of the storyline. In this case humble pie tastes good and I will have mine with a side-order of virtual carnage.