I’ve tried to stay away from the game, I really have. But it just keeps sucking me in.
After a full day (and most of an evening) working on websites, niche markets, and projects for other people, I like to unwind with a book, a movie or a bit of gaming, usually in that order of priority. I’m a rabid reader, I always have a few books going at once, and a massive movie buff, I don’t anyone who knows more about movies than I do. But since Grand Theft Auto IV came out both of those pastimes have been getting overlooked.
I just love the game. Most people (mostly those who haven’t played it or any other game in the series), can’t seem to get past the violence in the game. While it’s true there’s a lot of shooting, beating up, or running over people, it does the game a diservice to focus on only that aspect.
This is really a hugely multi layered beast. The world that Rockstar has created with Liberty City is unlike anything I’ve experienced in a game before. While some elements have been present in previous entries in the GTA franchise, things have really been ramped up a notch.
The storyline is one of the most well developed I’ve ever come across in a game (and better than most Hollywood movies these days too). I’m really enjoying being taken along for the ride, and the main character Niko Bellic has really grown on me.
Some of the side characters have been a lot of fun too. There’s a guy called Brucie who is without a doubt the funniest character to have ever been in a game. I’ve found myself repeatedly going to see Brucie (or just calling him) simply so I can have a laugh.
The interactions you have with people on the street are a highlight too. Bumping into people on the street, or stealing their cars by pulling them out, gets a wide variety of reactions. Some run screaming, some call out hollow threats, and some actually chase you and fight back. It’s all incredibly well done.
But now, here’s the reason I even wrote this post. The radio stations. The highlight of this game for me, by far, are the radio stations. I’m finding myself jumping into a car and then immediately tuning to my fave station. Players of the game won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of Laslow on the Integrity station. So politically incorrect, but oh so funny. On top of that, sometimes you just come across a gem of a track that you haven’t heard for ages. I actually drove around the other night singing along to ‘I wanna be your dog’. I was on my way to a mission, a song started, and I just kept driving around until it was over. Sad but true.
There is just so much built into this game. See past the cartoon violence and look deeper. This game is a masterpiece. But not a masterpiece for kids, any parent that lets their children play this game needs their head read. The swearing, the violence, and the generally adult nature make the case for R ratings for video games a no brainer. But if you look at this game from the view of adult entertainment, it’s really a magnificent achievement.