jp's Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3)
| [December 1, 2020 09:26:24 PM]
| I'm the middle of a PS3 backlog cleanup in anticipation of getting a PS5 at some point. So, I've been going through physical copies of PS3 games I definitely want to have at least some experience playing before I pack the whole kit away to make room for new and shiny.
The only reason I've been putting this particular game off (for oh so long now) is that I know it's such a big game, with so many things to do, and so many hours to spend on. It's a massive time commitment kind of game...but hey, I decided I'd play 10 hrs or so and then see how I felt about the whole experience.
10 hours is not an insignificant amount of time IMO and I'm surprised at how quickly it's passed. According to the game stats I've completed about 10% of the game, which seems about right. I did all the missions that popped up...so I assume I've moved the story along as much as possible (in the time I've played).
It's really been a while since I've played a GTA game (and a Rockstar open world game). I think the last one might have been Bully? (that I finished). So, a few thoughts:
(a) The cellphone interface is REALLY clever and I enjoyed it as a way to get missions or to "wait" on them. I was a bit disappointed when I called a number I found in the game and it didn't work - but the whole system is pretty brilliant. I have no idea if it carried over to GTA V, but it should have.
(b) I've realized that I really don't like GTA's game feel for character control and movement. I'm sure I'll get better at it, but it never feels quite right to me. My guess is that Rockstar favors going wide - there are SO MANY THINGS in the game it's mindboggling. However, I don't think any specific thing is super polished in terms of game feel. Things always feel a bit floaty or non-responsive, or awkward. But, I guess at this point that's more like Rockstar's style (and I'm guessing some people really do like it).
(c) I get really frustrated failing missions in GTA. This applies to this one as well as previous games in the series! Strangely. I've noticed (from this current experience) is that I often fail due to things I consider to have been outside of my control. Partly this is due to simulation/systems stuff - so, unpredictable. But, it is also partly due to lack of knowledge. It's almost like I often fail a mission because something happened I wasn't prepared for - e.g. chase someone, but they take a turn somewhere off camera view and then I go the wrong way and there's no way to recover - so you fail the mission. This time around I had a simulation/system failure. I'm doing a mission where I need to steal a cop car and pull over some vans to get some stolen TVs or something like that. When you're in the cop car you flash the lights, get close to the van and it pulls over, then you exit the car, walk over to the van, short cut-scene plays, and the game moves on. So, I'm on the 2nd van, the short cut scene ends with Niko standing behind the van and I think some NPC car hit the cop car I had used - the cop car then rolled forward and ran Niko over - killing him. Mission failed. There was nothing I could do! Sigh. These sorts of things happened to me a number of times in just 10 hours of gameplay.
(d) The game's environments hold up really well - the characters and their animations not so well. The level of detail in the game's environments still surprised me. At this point the game is at least a decade old? Phew!
(e) The game's "tutorial" is really clever in how it slowly unwinds/introduces new things. It took a while before I could get/use weapons (which is fine) and I liked how as I played - new options became available. The game is surprisingly complex in terms of options and such so while there may not be THAT many buttons/combinations - there are lots of different things you can do. I'm guessing there's still a bunch of things I didn't even get to see...
(f) Niko's story is basically "I'm a Balkan's war vet with issues and a past" and presumably you'll be resolving that by meeting characters in the city and so on. It's an interesting unexpected story - and I think it was even back then, for a game to center on an Eastern-european character with a history connected to past events that (may?) have been entirely unfamiliar to US teens? (the Balkan wars having happened in the 1990s...but perhaps there were trials and things for war crimes?)
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jp's Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3)
Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated
GameLog started on: Saturday 28 November, 2020
GameLog closed on: Tuesday 1 December, 2020