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LONG BLOG

GTA IV deserves praise, but I hope it's for the right reasons.

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Let me make this clear. I love the GTA series (at least the 3D ones), and I have all the PS2 GTA games. So since the latest is a refinement of a series I love, I can therefore deduce that it's highly likely I will think GTA IV is a good game when I get my hands on it.

I also think critics scored the game highly because they feel the same way? But why as highly as they did? Did they have ulterior movies for so many 10 reviews?

Why am I commenting on the reviews of a game I haven't played? Well it's more of a comment on the nature of reviews themselves than the actual game.

I have found, with critics, that deserving praise and actually getting praise is not the same thing. This mostly can be seen with movie critics, who actually have the nerve to tell us what kind of movie we should like. It's not that they say all those independent films are better than blockbusters, but that they say those films are more entertaining.

But that's not quite what I mean here. A better example is the film LA Confidential, which I liked. It's a good film. Yet when I read what critics said about it, it seemed that they praised it more because it wasn't Titanic, than because it was actually good.

This brings us to why I brought this up, the fact that both versions of GTA IV have knocked off Zelda: Ocarina of Time from the top spot at gamerankings.com, and metacritic.com. Some Nintendo fans have claimed it's a deliberate, if not conscious, move to spite Nintendo for "ruining" video games with their casual approach.

(Not saying this is some dumb conspiracy, like an X-Files episode, more like a herd mentality. That is, if this were actually the case. Not claiming it is.)

Now, again, I think GTA IV was scored highly because the critics genuinely liked it. So a lot of those complaints are likely just sour grapes.

However, why so many 10's? I really, really want it to be that this was their honest feelings. I also found that video game reviews have long had more integrity than movie reviewers, because they seemed to post their honest feelings about a game most of the time. Yet with the backlash against casual gaming, and of course the gamespot.com debacle over Kane & Lynch, there is this nagging feeling in me that this may change.

Now I will say that GTA IV may not be the sign of this. Even though it's the reaction to that game's reviews that got me thinking about this, I would actually claim that the reviews for Mario Kart Wii are more of a sign. For one thing, reviewers claim that Double Dash!!, is one of the weakest of the series, but its score is 87% on gr and mc, while MK Wii is just 83% on those sites. Also, reviews claim that winning the game was largely luck based, because they kept getting whacked with weapons when they were in first. Did they suddenly decide to forget that was always a thing with the series? Did they suddenly think the series was supposed to play like Gran Turismo or Forza?

In conclusion, I do think GTA IV was given it's praise because reviewers honestly liked it. I just also worry that in other cases, rviewers may be turning into those elitist movie critics, the the only difference being a game's quality is directly proportional to budget instead of inversely proportional.
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About Lord The Night Knightone of us since 6:44 PM on 10.07.2007

I have a Wii and a DS, and my brother has a 360. I don't have anything against the PS3. We just can't afford one yet, but I do want a PSP when I can.