Archive for July 3rd, 2008

The Captain Spends His Nights And Weekends In Liberty City

This past weekend I completed Grand Theft Auto IV after two solid months of play.  Simply put, this is the best video game I’ve ever played.  Every entry is exponentially better than the previous game in the series.  Continuing this trend should be difficult, but Rockstar makes it all look effortless.  In honor of completing this groundbreaking game, here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about GTA IV.

1.  The Detail Put Into Recreating New York City

The programmers at Rockstar must have spent a lot of time with cameras in New York.  The recreation is near perfect, so much so that Meg actually noticed.  I was walking by the Fish Market, and she pointed out the building she lived in while at NYU.  She recognized it from across the room!  Not only did they recreate the look, they nailed the feeling of New York.  Having spent my summers as a kid visiting my dad in Jersey, I can definitely say that the seedy pre-Giuliani feeling of the City is spot on.

2.  The Enhanced Gameplay

Previous Grand Theft Auto games were heavy on visuals and story, and lighter on the actual gameplay.  It is noticeably easier to control the main character, Nikko.  Plus they fixed my biggest pet peeve, unlocked cars.  Unlike past games, Nikko actually has to break car windows and hotwire the vehicle when attempting auto theft.

3.  The In-Game Media

GTA has always been known for its subversive and highly ironic humor.  This go-around they kept the satirical tone and multiplied it.  Part IV features in-game radio stations, television programs, websites, and even a couple of new stand-up routines by Ricky Gervais.  There are mean parodies of everything from Fox News and VH-1, to NPR and Match.com.   Check out this fake TV commercial for a Gun Club:

4.  The Story

The main story is the game is actually quite compelling for a video game.  It revolves an Eastern European immigrant trying to escape the war in his home country by coming to America.  It gets a bit clichéd at times, but mostly Nikko comes across as a fairly three dimensional character.   The real draw is the enormous cast of supporting characters.  The sleezeball eastern-European cousin, the Rastafarian sidekick, the roid-rage playboy and the hard-drinking Irish punk are all broadly painted yet still fascinating , and the minor characters are about as funny as it gets.  My personal favorites are the five girlfriends Nikko accumulates.

5.  The Multiplayer Mode

Ultimately, the multiplayer mode is what will keep me playing this game for the next few years.  A variety of games and mission make this game well worth the investment.  And now that I’ve finally completed the story mode, I’m ready to take on whoever feels lucky online.  Bring it on Chris and Brian!

Ciao,

The Captain

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