Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My GTA4 Ramblings

People have been asking my thoughts on GTA 4. Have not played tons of it so take this 'review' with a grain of salt. I put review in quotes cause it's not really a real review...more of a rambling. So take this rambling with a grain of salt. Or more to the point: take it as the ramblings of someone who has given about 2 hours of his life to it (both single and MP modes...and MAINLY multiplayer). So here goes:

++++++++++++++++++++++

Well I've never loved the GTA series...always appreciated and respected the hell out of it, but the mission design (fetch quests, checkpoint racing, and 'go here and get this object' tasks abound) and the 'we think we are edgy and satirical and funny but we are really just at a junior high school level of comedy but since at least- in games- it's more than most offer and since we've gotten alot of praise,we'll just keep on doing what we are doing' school of comedy really- as you can tell :) - annoys me. There's such an abundance of the comedy and world view that- even worse- it SEEMS like the makers of the game really feel they have discovered some unique world view/unique comedy styling and they just want to shove it down my throat. Not saying this is how they feel. It's just how I feel when I visit the worlds in the GTA universe. But that's just personal taste. It's done really, really well, I just don't care for it.

But so, there you go. Always stunned and in awe by every GTA game since #3 (the the 2D ones were sweet as well) but I've never been a convert to the GTA religion. So GTA 4 was not exciting me all that much...altho it clearly seemed impressive scope wise. To the point that it scared the SHIT out of me as a developer.

And I was VERY excited about the multiplayer in this one. First few nites I did Deathmatch games and the GTA race games and they were kinda MEH for me. But I finally got onto a few games of Cops and Crooks last nite (not sure if it was me or the GTA servers but I had not been able to log on for the last week and do any GTA MP)...I heard this mode was the crown jewel in the game's multiplayer and from a design standpoint, I really do think it's cool.

But the car controls are so bad- to me- that I could not spend more than 30 minutes with it. They are floaty and the cars flip over all the time. The physics model for crashes sucks because the density of traffic is so high and the speeds of the cars are so fast and the result of a crash brings the game to a dead stop...so it's a real momentum killer.

Also, because the city is so big and the road layouts so detailed, you really have to drive by the map. The city streets are kind of dark as well so it's tough to get going up to any real sense of speed and still be able to see the turns coming up in time. The other aspect that bugs me is the realistic city design (non breakable walls that you can't get your car over but you can't see until you are inches away from smashing into them, trees that don't get knocked down when you hit them,etc) does not seem conducive to the arcadey design of the MP modes. And so- with all these aspects- frustration easily sets in for me.

All that said: car control can be mastered. And a map can be learned. So I imagine if I had invested more than 1 hour in the single player, I would have learned the city a bit better and the driving mechanics would be second nature and my fun factor would shoot thru the roof. And I do plan on playing Cops N' Crooks again as I see the massive fun potential in that mode. I really, really like it. It just frustrates me right now.

BUT it does strike me as curious as to why Rockstar didn't fix these issues. Is it because they don't see them as issues? That's a fair reason, to be sure. I think a valid design argument could be made for needing to master a system before fun kicks in. It's just not the way I would go.

Then again- these guys are kings of the world sales wise and any designer would be wise to sit back and study the massive success- design and sales wise- that the masters at Rockstar have achieved. Now review wise? Well, that's something else.

Review wise, I'm sorry...the reviews this game has gotten seem nuts...and that's no backlash...I respect the hell out of Rockstar and am glad they are doing so well...they deserve it. But the praise the press has heaped on this thing seems a touch out of whack...it's like they are desperately trying to find a game that is 'important' and 'meaningful' so to prove they are more than just fanboys pounding out reviews for toys. I hate to be a jerk to the press because I like most of ALL the people I've met in the press and my goal is not to piss them off (hell, we all need the press in this biz) but COME ON...I am NOT saying GTA 4 is not an amazing game, I am NOT saying it's not a watershed moment, even. Perhaps it is. But Jesus, ya'll. There are some serious flaws in this game. Flaws that get in the way of the experience Rockstar has clearly busted ass to created. And I'm not saying some of the reviews have NOT mentioned these flaws, but the scores this game gets seem out of whack given that the game does- in my mind- have these flaws. But again, it's subjective and- to be fair- I have only played 2 hours while most of these guys have finished it. So you know, those flaws could easily fall away once mastery sets in and the gems of the game could then shine even brighter. I'm totally open to that. And if it turns out to be the case- as I play the game more- I'll be the first to admit the press was right and I was wrong.

And look, what do I know? Rockstar should be proud and excited for their massive success. And let's be honest. The majority of the people buying the game are willing to put up with tons of annoying elements (controls, annoying city layouts where the streets are too narrow for the speeds of the vehicles they let you drive,etc.) as long as they get to live the life of a modern bad ass. That is the real secret sauce to the series, to me. And in that regard- as well as many, many others- GTA 4 delivers. It just seems that it may not- once again- be my cup of tea.

BUT- a few more nights of Cops N Crooks and I may just change my mind :)

David

44 comments:

Murderdolls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rey said...

are you hiting at that in Twisted Metal you going to be abile to crash trough building? knock down poles. sings and lights :).

GTA4 but my hart is set on

ALONE IN THE DARK 5

http://youtube.com/watch?v=fwuGmeo3k9Y

when you have time you should see all the trailer....my god this game is going to be awsome.

Murderdolls said...

I totally agree the game is great but the whole 10/10 hype the game has recieved is wrong in alot of ways... perfect example is gameinformer just reading that review makes me laugh (read it if you haven't)

I played the game since launch mostly multiplayer got to level 5 (250,000$) and got bored story mode got boring at about 30% complete

I just can't bring myself to keep playing it... the multiplayer is generic theres no WOW factor to it cars are useless online as they are death traps and some levels are so big you spend 10 minutes running on foot just to get 1 kill and then die

The game is worth checking out I won't argue with that but an 8/10 would be more suitable for GTA 4 (this is all my opinion of course)

ps. This is my first post on your blog David just wanted to say I'm a huge fan of Twisted Metal!! and your work =)

Jack_Vykios said...

Personally, I love the game. It's a lot of fun. I never tried Cops and Crooks...just couldn't be arsed with that. I've been doing the Mafia missions, so far as multiplayer's concerned, and that's great for reeling in the green.

HOWEVER, it isn't as great as everyone says. The story...it's the best GTA has ever had to offer, sure, but the whole "I'm looking for somebody who betrayed me and some people" thing kinda falls flat with the fact that you commit an act of genocide every time you go out and do a mission.
I mean, the game is great...but it's not as addictive as it is repetitive, which is kind of an issue with the games. Every mission is the same, with only the location, number of bad guys, and cinematics really changed. Even on the bloody funeral mission you have to get killing.

Buuut...still an awesome game, though. Better than any Halo game I've ever played. Blech.
Fancy a round of multiplayer, anyone (especially David J. =P)? My PSN is:
Jack_Vykios

PyroHazard said...

There's a bit of learning curve to the driving portion due to the refined Euphoria physics systems that's been implemented.

But yeah, you really need to spend a day or so to get the hang of it all.

As for the multiplayer, Deathmatch can become sterile if the host is an idiot and puts the settings in a certain way but if you're creative, you can definitely get a group of friends and come up with your own custom made matches.

Anonymous said...

I disagree, I think if any game ever deserves 100% this is it, it is by far the best game I've ever played. I understand that I am personally susceptible to enjoying things about it others may not, but come on, what game rivals this in terms of detail? Mario got 100% from most reviewers, but I would personally say GTAIV deserves at least twice as good a score. If it wasn't percentage but just a number as large as you want, and no other game exceeded 100 yet, I would rate gtaiv 200 easily.

There's just so much more to this game than other games. Yes it has some glitches and friends/dating/minigames aren't that detailed, but that can't affect the score otherwise you're allowing for games that have no bugs that just have mediocre gameplay, to have inflated scores by comparison. Nintendo games generally fall into this category, rather boring and tedious gameplay and almost plotless storyline, but because they're perfect at what they try to be they get perfect scores, even though what they try to be just doesn't come close to what gtaiv tries to be.

I haven't yet had many good experiences with multiplayer, as only usually 2-3 other people are in the games :(, and they were far too advanced for me. But I had one bit of luck getting a large number of players in a chaotic GTA race, and next to MGO and counter-strike, it is the most fun I've ever had in an online game.

Such a beautiful game.

grasshopper said...

I still haven't tried all the multiplayer modes but Cops N' Crooks was pretty fun. I think its my favorite so far. As for the driving it seems you need to drive at a lot slower pace than I expected...but after popping in GTA for the PSP I wouldn't go back :) I'm not sure if it would help much but the host of the online game can choose traffic density, that might speed up the game a little.

Robert said...

story and world is amazing.
missions and gameplay in general is very, very, very average.

i wish..
driving was like burnout
shooting was like uncharted
missions like ....i don't know. haven't played any games where the missions have surprised me

Jeff said...

I think its a great game, but iagree its not the "perfect" game that everyone has put it out to be. Surprised that IGN gave it a perfect 10. I have to say though I have spent a hell of a lot of time on it (MP and single player) and its been one of the best games I have played in this generation, but there are just some flawss in there that are so shocking to me that they are in there.

The physics in the cars are just a little ridiculous. Cars flipping, etc. Also when I hit a dude in MP head on with my car going top speed and they get back up and shoot me, pisses me off the most.

I guess they were going with the arcadie feel though, even though the previews and reviews talked about how this is a departure from the "cartoony" feel and more of a real life thing. Seems the arcadie physics and real life city structure contrast eachother too much.

Omar said...

Im totally with you on this one, Ive been chatting on the forums about how I just feel this game does not deserve the perfect 10s everywhere. Ive beaten the game took me about 25 hours, have put in a couple of hours into multiplayer which I believe sucks, stupid error everytime I try to get into a room, and when I do its pretty meh. All in all it was GTA, nothing more nothing less actually it had far less then GTA:SA but thats a totally different topic. After I hit the 15 hour mark it just felt like a drag, I really just wanted to end the game already by that point, and your so right about the mission layouts but this one was the least diverse of all the GTA games ive played in the past.

Omar said...

One more thing...I base a games score on how much enjoyment I got out of it, and GTA 4 in my book is a 8.5, it was great heck even awesome at certain points but it was a been there done that feeling throughout the game. Thats how I would score it, who gives a crap about production value, and all the little detail they put in the game....when its all said and done, how much fun you had with the game is all that matters

Anonymous said...

David, one word for you. Jealousy! It seems that maybe you should learn a thing or two from Rockstar in making a great game instead of bashing them on small little details.

da criminal said...

Anon,

a gift to you, from the bottom of my heart:

http://www.literacy.uconn.edu/compre.htm

David

Ratsor said...

My advice: Play the single player to completion, and not just for completion, go on dates, do side stuff, get immersed. I totally agree with the scores this game has gotten and I've hated every GTA game since #3. My buddy told be that he felt that near the end, he didn't care about the new people he met but then it hit me, this is a GTA game that I actually care about the characters... wtf?! This game does have problems but it's also trying to be a bit realistic. So going racing down a 2-lane road filled with traffic in a sports car, either slow down or don't get pissed when you hit something.

Dark Ede said...

David, I think your "preview" nails some good points about GTA IV. I don't care for the car physics either and I have put in a good chunk of time into the missions (I'm on the third island). It seems that there are too many variables that can cause your car to go out of control or flip over, a camera that doesn't seem to want to work with you around turns--and, no, I don't think manual control of the camera helps much, its too cumbersome and unintuitive--as well as your insights on the narrow streets, traffic and indestructible walls and trees causing you to slow down which makes it a problem to get to a date on time from another island. And as you said, too many times I have had to drive by the map because of the vastness of the city only to end up crashing because I could not keep one eye on the map and one eye on the screen like a chameleon. For me GTA San Andreas felt better in the driver's seat.

Have done very little multiplayer thus far.

Agree that GTA IV doesn't deserve the perfect ratings although I admit that like ratsor I really care about these characters. Still its a very good game. But I am afraid that, outside of multiplayer, once I am done with the story mode that I will never touch the game again.

G.W. said...

Interesting review of GTA IV. I have not played it (I actually JUST got San Andreas and love it) so I don't know the differences between that engine and the San Andreas one so I have nothing to really work with.

I like the Grand Theft Auto humor. I think it works very well. The characters are very well drawn and are hilarious (at least in San Andreas). I really enjoy the interaction the characters have with each other.

I think the game play in SA is really fun, but from what you're saying GTA IV sounds a bit frustrating. I think I went through the same thing you went through in terms of the map. It took me a few days to memorize where I had to go.

Also, just to add I LOVE Indiana Jones now. Great fucking films. I think I actually like The Last Crusade the most. But all of them are great. Really psyched for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! I got that same widget on my facebook.

I look forward to seeing your Indy 4 review and I've got to get some work done on my own project and stop checking back here so much! I hope work on "the game" is still going well. Go Indy!

-G.W.

Steven T. said...

For me this game still feels like another GTA but it brings a lot of great elements. I would really like to see what you think when you have completed the story mode.

I went straight into singleplayer and spent about 40 hours with it. After all that time I had taken a liking to Niko and the city.

For me, this game is what Bioshock was supposed to be. When I played Bioshock I had a lot of fun and became immersed in the world of Rapture. The main thing that was missing was the emotional connection. It felt like somewhat of an average shooter by the time I was finished.

With GTAIV I was actually making decisions that felt important. I would sit down and think about both sides of things and where I wanted Niko and myself to go. It felt very personal and I have not experienced something like that in any other game.

The flaws that GTAIV has did not bother me since there are so many other great elements. What went wrong with my Bioshock experience was that the flaws stuck out. By its end I felt that it wasn't as great as it was made out to be. I think that Bioshock is a fantastic FPS but it just didn't satisfy me on the level it was meant to.

I truly can understand GTAIV's perfect scores. My experience with the game was totally unique and it was really emotional. It delivered on what a GTA game should be and it surpased my emotional expectations. Since previous GTA games have always been at the top of rating scales, I see no problem with this game achieving perfect scores.

p.s. Sorry if it seemed like I was bashing Bioshock. It's a great game but for me it wasn't what I had expected. I just viewed it as an understandable comparison.

Rex said...

Hello guys and David of course GOT TO SEE INDIANA JONES like 2 hours ago on the PREMIERE. I live in Puerto Rico and movies ares displayed like 2 days earlier. Where I work I got 2 tickets for free out of a contest... so it was a private event. The had al these security people to make sure no one recorded the movie. Let me say.. the movie is good really good, I could say a spoiler right now.. but Ill jsut say the movie has couple surprises, specially character wise. Ill write more in details about the movie on my blog, but for now all I can say its, good, its all you loved from INdy but not as spiced it was 20 years ago. I still think Last Crusade, and Raiders of the lsot ark are better. But yet, this movie cant be compared to those... its really good on its own purpose. SOme people that arent a fan of indiana jones might find some parts slow.. but for us fans.. we all now its part of the developing quest. Still a great movie, better than Iron man. Is it the best finale for an indiana jones series? hum... well hope not... but if it is.. oh well its fucking indy and still good. Mutt might take his place.. lets see about that.. SEE IT GUYS ITS FUCKING WORHT IT... I WILL SEE IT AGAIN!

DKSE said...

finish the storyline without cheating, and watch all cut-scenes, then tell me what you think...

Jeff said...

I'm about 27 hours through the game, so I'm almost done. I'm not one of these people who think in order for a game to get a 10 it has to be perfect, but the annoyances DO get in the way of the experience and simply can't be ignored.

I understand the game has great writing and characters. The graphics are very impressive considering the scale of the city, but every time I play I see something and say to myself, "That could be improved."

Basically, I think it's an awesome game, but not quite as awesome as it could be. 9/10 from me.

Asurastrike said...

GTAIV starts off very slowly. The game starts off with you basically as a taxi driver, and it tries to teach newcomers to the series how to play.

Get about 2-3 hours into the game and it starts to really pick up.

As for car controls, if you play it more, they feel even more natural than the previous games.

Anyway, if you want to play a game online, I'm usually on. :)

davis said...

I knew that if someone as high as David Jaffe would say something about GTA, SOMEONE would realize that it isn't so great.

Personally, I don't like GTA either, never have, and if they continue making the games exactly the same, then I probably never will.

For a game, I want non-stop action. Any free-roaming should be after the core game and missions. If I designed the game, I would make it more like a movie, in the sense that you'll always be in motion.

Free-roaming. As cool as free-roaming sounds, it can also get tedious and boring. Why do you have to go places for missions? Was this ever really necessary to make a game feel "real?"

The boxy feel of the cars-- stiff walking-- shooting has no feeling to it-- nor does the sword play, it all feels so tacked on.

If I can use one word to describe GTA it is "stiff".

For me, GTA has always been a mediocre game.

The only game I would rate a 10 that came out this year-- Super Smash Bros. Brawl. If you haven't played it, do so.

Z-Hug said...

I imagine this comment will be drowned and lost in a pile of good points...But 2 hours is not enough time with this game. From an Arcad-ie stand point, the game doesn't "pop" fast-enough with the advanced driving skills required and somewhat...glichty shooting mechanics. But like Oblivion, the game is meant to be a long-term experience. And in the long term, it offers great characters, fun missions, and a huge, open, and well-detailed world. (Though I think San Andreas has the most diverse missions)

But I have a problem sympathizing with a remorseless killer. I get killing gangsters and evil people to whom you owe money, but sometimes he kills people just because he's told. There are some "artsy" moments when the player is responsible for the life or death of certain characters and I really wish more of the game could be that way. I want the responsibility of deciding whether Niko is psychotic killer, or a good man with an evil gift and a bad situation.

If you happen to read this, I suggest you focus on the multiplayer, racing should get you some practice at driving, think Gran Turismo. (Break before turns) Cops'n'crooks is great, but I enjoy the co-op missions (Bomb da Base II and those other two...) Let's you get the social factor of online gaming while keeping the action more focused and up-tempo.

Rey said...

So jaffe what do you think of Nina Gaiden 2 and above all Alone in the Dark 5? you think there something you might like or pass?

Kilrahi said...

I have always been impressed with the GTA games, but not in to them myself. I don't look at the game and see the massive 10s that everyone else does.

However, I have to say, and I am not trying to rag on you, I was a little surprised to see you criticize the humor as juvenile. In my opinion, the most juvenile humor I've ever seen in a game is still the sex minigames in God of War. What's your perspective on that?

da criminal said...

Kilrahi (he of TMA fame?!?!)-

Regarding the sex mini game in GOW 1: I knew many players would snicker at it. It's the nature of both our buttoned up society and the nature of the fact that trying to make a serious sex scene interactive is a really, really, really hard thing to do...to the point that design wise it was the best we could come up with it and still keep it in game and not a cut scene.

BUT

there is character behind it...if you read his journal by the bed, Kratos makes it clear he is drowning his sorrows in women and wine, trying to find women who remind him of his wife that he has killed. In a more mature (and capable?) medium, I think the logic would hold and give audiences nice insight into the main character...in a game, I knew 95% of the players would giggle, but it game from a pure place.

The sequels- which I did not direct- I feel played the sex more for guffaws and 'shock' factor and they are not decisions I would have gone with as I feel they were trying to be edgy and cool and maintain one of the elements that GOW 1 gained some hype/buzz from...

David

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, you send me a link regarding grammar and it seems that maybe you need a lesson yourself. SEE YOUR POST ABOVE! I cannot understand why you, of all people, cannot take the same sarcasm you dish out on a weekly basis on your blogs. So GTA is not your thing, big deal. All you had to say it was an ok game and it was over hyped. Instead you write a book review regarding the game, then to find out you never spent enough time playing it. That is like writing a book review, giving the material a bad critique, then you come out and say you only ready the first chapter. Dude, that is weak as @&%^#! Now about the sex scenes, are you serious, can you be that hypocritical. Its cool if David, the God of video game design, decides to add a sex scene in a game, but if others decide to do its now juvenile. Man talk about double standards.

PM said...

I just beat GTA4 couple days ago. i liked it but i agree with many of your points about it. especially about the reviews being WAY to high for this game. its a great game and all but once you get 5 hours into it it feel like same old GTA formula all over again. and WTF is with no checkpoints on the longer missions? who the fuck wants to do that same 30 min mission over because they fucked up in the last minute? i would give it 9.2-9.5 somewhere in there, great game but a 10 by no means.

PS: going to indy4 at midnight, SUPER PUMPED.

Kilrahi said...

Anonymous-

He didn't send you a link to help your grammar, he sent you a link to help your reading comprehension.

Two very different things, and based on your confusion about it, a link you are very much in need of.

davis said...

Anony, quit being such a dildo. Jaffe has the right to criticize whatever game he damn well pleases, as do I, as does anyone else anywhere. Why don't you tear at my insulting review of GTA?? I was much more harsh.

As a matter of fact, why don't you tear at me for my political views? Or religious beliefs?

Opinions are like assholes.

Why is yours so clean?

davis said...

As a matter of fact = While you're at it

Sorry, that dildo's illiterate ass is getting to me.

ortholomeux. said...

jesus h. christ.

the driving system in this game sucks to high heaven. it's a major flaw and a major oversight in the design and tech of the game as a whole. you should NEVER have to struggle and have to re-do missions or tasks or sections in a game because of shoddy physics and poor system design. how long have we been complaining about this in the gta series?

it's got the word "auto" in the title. you'd think they would spend some time on the actual driving.

i literally have to trick myself into playing in order to complete it and that is a terrible, terrible sign in a game.

the reviewers giving this game 100's are effing high. technical marvel, primitive game.

i wanted to believe, but instead i kept crashing into walls and other cars as if i was driving a boat. great for high speed chases!

i really expected more.

grasshopper said...

Come on Orth its not that bad. Do you really like the turn on a dime go kart style of the older ones more? I guess you can hate them both...I think its a improvement over the old ones. I admit I was hitting crap left and right at first and got a bit pissed but after having played it a while I wouldn't go back. Just slow down a little bit
You are right about everyone thats giving it high scores though :) They have to be hopped up on something

ortholomeux. said...

i'm not looking for gran turismo precision or control here, i just think that the driving doesn't really feel like it gotten any better since vice city made an improvement over gta 3.

i think for me personally, if the driving was better, i would be alot happier with the game, but as it stands now, i'm blowing missions left and right because it's so hard to control any of the cars.

grasshopper said...

I don't know, to me it just doesn't seem like its a issue with the game itself. The driving feels very different from before and ya kinda need to do for a bit before ya stop hitting crap...well stop hitting crap as often. Its definitely not perfect and can be a pain in the ass at times but I wouldn't take it as far to call it a design flaw.
Hopefully this doesn't come across as me being a dick arguing that your opinion is wrong. I know you may have already put a ton of hours in and are still unhappy. If so ignore me :)

Anonymous said...

If your blowing missions left and right there is something wrong with your hand eye coordination or something... I can go full speed from one side of the city to the other without getting a single scratch on my car and i just went cold turkey on my WoW Crack.

I'm not praising this game either. There are definetly stuff in the game that can be really annoying. Like cops bum rushing you while your opening fire on them so they just swarm you down. I was hoping that the AI would have a bit more self preservation. Also in Online mode the cars are basically death traps. Its also really annoying when you run over some dude 3 or 4 times going like 40 mph in multiplayer but he doesnt die. Or if you try to pin a player to a wall with your car so you can take them out with your gun or back up over them they get teleported to a spot that allows them to get an easy headshot. Another thing and certaintly not the last problem with the game is the annoying car spawns and despawns from turning your camera away from areas. This post is getting to long so /rant off.

timetabletwist said...

Dve-

I think GTA will grow on you. It has it's flaws, but is a solid game. The driving really isn't bad, and many of the cars have improved as compared to how they were in previous versions of the series. The shooting is improved, and I have gotten mild use of the cover system.

Overall, I am enjoying it. I don't think it's a 10, but the lack of pop in (at least on the PS3 version) and improvements over the old ones makes me happy as a fan of the series.

Derek said...

Mr. Jaffe,

I see most people are commenting about the reviews, which in my opinion are trivial anyway. The same journalistic fan boy attitude can be seen for Mario games or Halo. One of your comments I found interesting though.

“There's such an abundance of the comedy and world view that- even worse- it SEEMS like the makers of the game really feel they have discovered some unique world view/unique comedy styling and they just want to shove it down my throat.”

I think the “world view” of the game is part of why it’s so great. I think it’s great because it HAS a world view you can relate to (mostly relate to the fact it takes place in modern times…) and have an opinion on even though it’s very over the top and satirical. I don’t ever play Mario or Halo and think about its “world view”. They are usually very generic and limited (Mario) or copy “Sci-fi” Hollywood more than they should. (Halo) GTA is very unapologetic in its story and commentary on society which is somewhat refreshing compared to other entertainment out today. The story and characters fit really well together, and GTA delivers a compelling narrative and purpose to their missions. GTA is all about the story and the experience.

Just curious, what did you think of the Saprano’s or Good Fellas?

Love your blog. Read it all the time.

I actually got the opportunity to work with your combat system designer from God of War a while back. You guys just had a plethora of talent flowing through your building back in the day huh. 

Ben Whaley  said...

I must say that I really agree with all the points you made and respect you for your honesty in saying them.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the game and routinely get incredibly frustrated with the floaty driving controls or spotty lock-on during missions that require precise actions.

I don't subscribe to the notion that a game should be hard-to-play or have a steep learning curve to be enjoyable.

I happened to pick up Zack & Wiki on the Wii last week in the clearance bin and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It brings back all my child memories of Full Throttle / Sam & Max.

There's a game that's challenging for all the right reasons but has a super simple interface that anyone can enjoy.

If only sleeper hits like Z&W could sell a fraction of what GTA4 does...I think the industry would be a more fun and creative landscape.

B.E.W.
A White Boy in Japan

Anonymous said...

Have u ever tried to eat the most delicious and apetizing food in the world with chopsticks?

It shows that you're "sophisticated". You pick up and take the first bite with them ,and u just wanna eat it all that instant, and so u try to rush through the delicious plate with the chopsticks, but the pieces u pick up keep falling off because of the speed you're rushing it with, and it gets really frustrating to eat it.

This is like that :

YOU, are playing the game, for and hour or two...
There-is-NO-way, that u'll be able to enjoy the game if u continue to play like that. You're not gonna be able to satisfy that lust that builds up from GTA, and u're just gonna end up hating it (like u ARE) and look for even more reasons to keep building up your disgust.

I know this from experience so please, put down the chopsticks and get yourself spoon.

da criminal said...

anon- appreciate the analogy and I plan on going back in and playing the game with a different mindset. I don't want to miss out on what many folks say is an amazing experience.

That said:

I do not think people need to WORK for their entertainment. If a game does not engage me fast- or a book or movie or anything else I am giving up my own time and money to experience-then I look at it as either:

a- a bad game/movie/book
b- a game/movie/book with a vibe/spirit that is not really meant to fuse with my vibe/spirit. Doesn't mean it's a bad product, just means that it and I are of different minds and will probably not connect unless I am willing to change. And for my job, I will change to try to get the gist of GTA4 that so many seem to love...I need to see what people are digging and not digging. But if it wasn't my job, fuck no. Life is too short to watch/play/read stuff that does not grab you in the first 15 minutes....

...and it doesn't need to be a car chase...or explosions...a cool idea or a neat concept can grab you harder than those things ever can...but just kind of wandering around a giant city and being asked to do things very similar to the sort of stuff I've been asked to do since GTA 3? Not my cut up tea...but I respect how it could very well be yours.

David

Joel said...

heres the thing..


most videogames with storylines rely on total abstraction from reality.

even God of War is about a myth.. and you know, there are lots of games about Orcs, and whatever.. you know what i mean.

GTA4 is about people. and someone touched on this already, but if you play the storyline, its actually a real improvement over previous gta games.. somehow you really develop connections with the characters in this game. they feel like people.


and you might not appreciate the humor, but i think its a pretty clever satirical take on america in general. some jokes just don't rub everyone the same way, but me and my friends have always enjoyed it.


and gta is full of tiny little details that no other game has ever even come CLOSE to competing with. so, sure, there are flaws... and you pointed out some good ones, although, some of them, i don't see as flaws... but when you stand back and look at what it is.. i think it deserves a score that puts it above virtually all other games like it.

i understand that you don't really have the time, but gta4 is definitely one of those games you can buy.. and play... for months.. on end.. without even thinking about any other games! theres something for everyone.

and if you drive around enough, turns out the roads aren't too narrow at all. :p its about your skill level, i guess. im glad it wasn't too easy right at first, or i might have gotten sick of it sooner.

G.W. said...

Jesus, I agree with you. I borrowed my buddy's 360 and went out and rented GTA IV. So far, I really don't like it. The characters are NOT funny like the San Andreas characters nor are they likable. The comedy here sucks.

Graphically, Jaffe, the game should scare the shit out of you as a designer. When I was driving around I was just like, "Jesus Christ it looks so real!" Other than that, I really don't care for it. Graphics don't make a game, but these are really impressive (the cut scene graphics aren't nearly as good).

I mean, you proved with Twisted 1 and 2 that the graphics aren't the best thing in the world, but as long as I can see what I'm doing and you have great game play then it's great. That's exactly what TM1 and TM2 were. Black, well, you nailed everything on the head there. Game play, graphics, stories, characters, everything.

Yeah GTA IV is bad. I HATE the driving controls. I'm not going to give up on it yet, but as of now I despise it. All I'm doing is driving around and picking people up and going on virtual dates. The missions thus far are boring as they come and well I've only killed like two people in a mission! Jesus! I'm sorry, but at the core of any great action game there needs to be ACTION!

Don't worry about anything Dave. Fuck these critics and all of their bullshit, GTA IV doesn't have shit on any of the games that you've designed or will design. Really, it's got to be the most over rated thing I've ever seen. I whole heartedly agree on your views of this Grand Theft Auto, but as for San Andreas, that was truly (and still is) a great game.

I hope you like Indy 4 more the next time around.

-G.W.

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