With Grand Theft Auto IV, the game just felt monotonous to me. I was doing similar tasks over and over again for different people. In general, almost every mission while you are still in Brooklyn involves you driving to a green dot, killing a red dot and then driving back to your original destination in one piece. Niko’s story does get pretty interesting along the way and there are some interesting twists (I won’t spoil anything) but, the gameplay itself was pretty much the same as all the other entrants in the series.
The new aspects of Grand Theft Auto IV are things that I really don’t care about. I don’t want to surf a made-up internet system. The writing on the various sites is pretty funny, but I don’t want to check my e-mail for some car stealing missions. It’s slow, unnecessary and only wastes time. I also don’t care about dating the various girls and taking them to places. They don’t build up the story or gain interesting characters, with the exception of the first girl you date.
GTAIV also suffers from having poor control in every aspect of the character’s movement and actions. Driving isn’t as fun as it was in the older iterations of the series as the driving has gotten more realistic. You can’t blast through close corners anymore without having to brake and the cars move more sluggishly, like actual cars. GTAIV is a video game however, I want to able to do things with a car that I can’t normally do.
Aiming and shooting is also still unnecessarily awkward as the control stick makes the aiming cursor move to choppy and taking cover isn’t very smooth at all. The camera for driving, walking and shooting is also not very helpful, which really hurts my enjoyment of the game. Even if Niko’s story is amazing and later missions are different and fun, it’s hard to get to that point when the controls are not top-notch.
Metal Gear Solid 4 suffers from a slightly different problem. Surprisingly, the game is just too short. I know I haven’t beaten it yet, but every area I’ve been to already has been really small. In some areas, you sneak around three sets of guards and then another cut scene shows up that lasts a good 10 minutes. You get through another set of guards and then you’re having a long talk with Naomi Hunter and Octocon. I expected Metal Gear Solid 4 to have a ton of dialogue and a ton of cut scenes (which I don’t mind) but, I also expected there to be a ton of tactical espionage action and there just simply isn’t.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is also surprisingly easy to get through. Even if you’re seen by the guards you have a litany of weapons available to you and you can order more ammunition at any time. Tranquilizer guns also make taking out guards a little too easy. There’s almost no need to sneak around tight corners since you can knock guards out with one shot. Bosses are also incredibly simple as most of the strategy is fire, find cover, wait, and fire again. Crying Wolf in the snowfield provided a little challenge but once you find a spot to fire from, sniping her is a piece of cake.
Normally, I’m not so critical of a game, as I find most of them fun, but these games have had huge budgets and a lot of time to work on these games. They were hyped up like crazy and they were also very expensive for the PS3 at $60. Luckily, I was able to get GTAIV for free (thank you Jesse!). I expected near perfect games that I would fall madly in love with. I ended up being very disappointed with these two titles but, I probably will finish them before the summer is over. I’ll definitely go back to Metal Gear Solid 4 first, since the story is very engaging. Liquid Ocelot is pretty badass, I must say.
Once I completely finish these games (if I do), I’ll give a full review. This post is more of a rant, I know, but these games aren’t perfect as every other site says they are and I felt it necessary to share my early impressions.