This is a repost of my blog from yesterday in which I raise some problems I have with the current belle of the gaming ball, GTAIV. I forgot the Monthly Musings theme, so here it is all titled properly and such.
Iíve been playing for a little over 16 hours since I got the game Tuesday afternoon and am roughly 34% through the title. Nothing to be overtly proud of, I certainly havenít lost sleep over the title, but I have been taking my time enjoying the game and what is has to offer. Unfortunately, Iíve also had to experience the inherent flaws the game has.
Now, I donít plan on sitting here and spewing hatred all over the place, I love the game. I think itís the best represented city in any game ever made, but beyond that there are some glaring gameplay and mechanic faults that I believe should have been addressed prior to release. And, no. I donít necessarily mean the driving. I think the physics engine is robust enough to warrant a more realistic experience than any of us were ready for and now weíre all pissed. I donít have too much of a problem with the driving, so forget about me bitching about it. I have other points to make. Now go ahead and read them.
Since wardrox beat me to the punch (har har) on this one, I hafta give hime props. But either way, the melee combat is atrocious. When fighting with melee weapons or fisticuffs, the response time on the controls seem more sluggish than Iíve yet to see in the title. I appreciate them trying to expand on the one hit hand-to-hand combat from previous titles, I just feel the new system isnít all that itís cracked up to be.
I would have preferred a permanent melee button so that even when you had a gun out you could whack people with the butt of your rifle or pistol-whip them whenever you wanted. When you switched to fists it could then ďexpandĒ to a two button system (punches and kicks) and use a rhythm-based mechanic more akin to what Fable 2 is claiming to attempt. They can keep the dodge button, just make it quicker so it seems like youíre actually DODGING and not sorta just leaning when you feel like it.
Some have heralded the GPS system as a godsend. I hate the fucking thing. I know that Rockstar blatantly stole the idea from Saintís Row, the first third-person open-world game to use such a mechanic last I knew, and I appreciate them recognizing the competition having a leg up in certain aspects of design, but honestly, I prefer SRís over GTAIVís every day of the week.
At least Rockstar's humor is back in full force.
Now, I know early on the system claims that it doesnít always offer ďthe most direct routeĒ to your destination, but god damn it. How often do I have to be lead on a wild goose chase to a point that happens to be completely underneath or above where the GPS system just sent me? I played multiplayer for a combined two hours or so thus far (see my last point) and the GPS system lead me to the wrong spot on the map three or four times already. At one point, it told me to go to the top of a fucking bridge when the drop off point I was supposed to be at was like five stories underneath me in a back alley (and for the record, I had a drug-filled SUV and was being chased by two opponents). Not the best time to get completely fucking lost/screwed by the GPS.
Awesome, Rockstar. Just because you canít program a working system into your game doesnít mean I can forgive you for something that even Saintís Row got right the first time. Either make it work, or donít include it. Period.
I'm sorry, but I thought that police cars falling out of the sky in front of my eyes as I turn a corner or speed on a straightaway as I avoid being chased by the cops was reserved for shitty ass PS2 games. Apparently I was wrong, 'cause it happens all the time in GTAIV.
I also thought that creating some sort of algorithm to determine which types of cars I see on the road WITHOUT taking the car I'm driving into account would be fixed, too. Somehow if I drive through a ghetto in a Porsche, though, every crackhead drives one, too, and if I'm not on a motorcycle I'll be god damned if I can find one anywhere. Sweet, Rockstar.
One thing Saint's Row did extremely well was the implementation of follow missions where, if tailing someone, you had a meter/radius around the target that let you know how far away "too far" or "too close" was. Apparently the Rockstar devs missed how KEENLY FUCKING PERTINENT that information is to the player, 'cause the follow missions in GTAIV are still shitty as fuck and give the player no way to gauge how far away or how close they should be when tailing a target. Awesome.
From what Iíve played, the multiplayer is great fun. However, I just sat for 20 minutes trying to play multiplayer and before I even got into a game I get a ďDisconnected from game session. Returning to single player.Ē message. Over and over and over again.
Iím sorry. Did you not anticipate this game being the largest and fastest selling release of the year? Did you not think the millions of people around the world that bought your game may actually want to PLAY IT? WITH THEIR FRIENDS ONLINE, PERHAPS?
Is this what it's like to play GTA with friends? I wouldn't know anything about that...
I mean, fuck, Rockstar. Come on. Everyone going into this gameís release was anticipating sales of at least $400 billion or more. Thatís millions and millions of titles. How did you not have server capacity at fucking maximum? Did you forget the game had multiplayer or something?
Beyond the terrible implementation of the cell phone (honestly, why does it take two button presses to get to the first worthwhile menu screen on the damned thing?) how the fuck do you expect me to enjoy half of what your game has to offer if I canít even get online to play it? Since you (very intelligently) donít offer any sort of lobby service/ability, you either have to land in a game or be shut out of multiplayer completely. Great idea. How about you put me in some sort of limbo lobby where I can wait and be told when there are matches available? That way I know when I can play the game I paid $60 for and I donít have to sit and aimlessly try to access my cell phone and reconnect every 20 seconds to no avail.
And donít tell me to play the single player. Iím tired of single player right now (not that itís not great, which it is, just saying). I played it for 4 or 5 hours today. I wanna shoot other people in the face online with my buddies now. And no, that is NOT too much to ask.