GTA III: HD: The Definitive Review

GTA’s cutscenes have always produced an incredible sense of disgust in me, so it should come as no surprise that GTA IV has a truly abominable amount of them. There’s cutscenes for fucking everything, including buying clothes. This is without a doubt one of the most blindly stubborn pieces of pure gaming bullshit that you could possibly imagine, needlessly extending the time required to browse the game’s absolutely reprehensible lack of clothing options. When I buy a fucking game, right, I don’t fucking expect to see gaping holes everywhere with a faint whiff of “DLC to go here” to about them. But anyway, that stinging slap in the face aside, the brutal pace at which GTA assaults you with every manner of gaming bullshit is, for a game in its 4th 3D iteration (6th if you count the PSP ones), genuinely, genuinely unforgivable. I know it’s either out of “we’ll still sell fuckloads so why bother” or “it’s a GTA hallmark to have to restart missions from the beginning”, but it’s still fucking appalling and only serves to underline how there should be a mandatory set of gaming standards that everyone has to abide by, or I’ll come round and shoot their fucking faces full of fucking holes that I’ll then fuck.

You know - things like:

* Every game must have Halo 3’s replay feature

* Menus must appear instantly when selected. No fucking anims.

* When browsing items, present everything available as a set of icons.

Two of those rules apply directly to GTA IV. Guess which ones.

Anyway, getting back to GTA, the last thing I expected it to become was the FUCKING SIMS. Like sure, getting drunk with a pretend friend is really funny the first time, but who the fuck wants to do it more than once? So stop fucking calling me, Roman, because I don’t fucking like you. Why can’t you get the fucking message? I’m not particularly happy about the fact that when I saved you from those drug dealers, you thought we were friends again and started calling. FUCK OFF. You’re a cunt. A liar. A pathetic, selfish little shit just like Del Boy Trotter, who should have died from face cancer. Also, dating. What in god’s name am I supposed to get from pretending to date a pretend woman? Other than getting her drunk and then hitting her, there’s precious little entertainment to be had and here’s another thing: if I wanted sports minigames, I wouldn’t be playing a driving crime running around killing sim. Don’t kid yourself that you’re something you can never be. Appreciate that you’re a game, not real life, so for fuck’s sake drop the boring shit.

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What I wanted from GTA was an adaptive thing, which seemed to be hinted at in San Andreas. I want to start a rampage and for the game to realise that, start a combo timer and begin spooling replays. I want a game where if I kill a drug dealer, pick up some drugs and then sell them to a junkie, I start a drug-dealing arc. If I rob a bank, I become a heist specialist. That sort of thing. That, to me, is truly what the next gen game design should deliver. More sophistication, not a re-tread of the old standards in shiny new clothes. I don’t care if it’s really, really hard. You’re fucking Rockstar. You have the most
money and clearly, plenty of talent. Just stop being complacent, you know?
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More’s the pity, then, that GTA still languishes in the frankly embarrassing belief that it should somehow meld game with film, a disgustingly teenage obsession that games seriously need to graduate from if their maturation is to continue. The lack of learning from 8 years of player interaction is completely inexcusable and the thin spread of actual content is depressing. The detail in the world is remarkable, but the game and the gameplay are old and do the world a horrible disservice. It’s a damn good thing that despite truly colossal quantities of frustration, idiotic choices and lazy slapdashery, GTA still does mayhem like no other. Like a sucker punch to the jaw, it’ll make you love it like you always did, but hey - you know it can’t get away with this shit ever again.

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