GTA IV: The Good, The DLC and The 10 Things GTA V Should Do Better

GTA IV was probably one of the most hyped games ever. Just look at metacritic to see the love it got (most of it deserved, make no mistake), and let’s face it, we all giggled like toddlers experiencing the new Euphoria engine for the first time. But the love for GTA IV proved to be a slowly fading one for Rabidgames … the game was nice to look at, but there was a lack of variety beneath the skin. But luckily for us, the younger sibling GTA V awaits.

THE GOOD

Simply put, GTA IV’s Liberty City was an amazing backdrop. You get the feeling of a nice vibrant city (more about that feeling later) that is full of life, opportunities, and of course tons of violence. The amount of detail put into the city is pretty much awesome. Niko Bellic is an interesting character with a troubled past, albeit not a perfect one (“I’m tired of killing, that’s why I keep killing” is all he is), and some other characters are pretty decent, too (although there are some mightily annoying ones, especially cousins).

GTA IV shines in one regards: satire. Be it the overall story arch of the American Dream, be it some hilarious missions (remember killing that lawyer?), the TV and comedy shows, radio stations and especially the in-game internet which made the most awesome fun of capitalism, consumerism, patriotism, and above all the war on terror … All this kind of stuff made GTA IV one of the best satirical observations of the contemporary USA, and it proved that gaming can pull off a Breaking Bad, too (you don’t have to like the protagonist in order to like watching or playing it).

The story of GTA IV itself was also pretty good; there were some emotional moments (most of them rather sad – sometimes, you have to kill harmless and nice guys), and the endgame picks up the pace perfectly. Plus, there are some memorable missions (bank robbery, anyone?). The important here is the internet again – you will be able to get the complete picture of the meta story of Liberty City’s criminal empires only if you read the news from the beginning and if you played all the DLCs. Nice touch, Rockstar.

THE DLC

The Lost and the Damned

Basically, GTA IV goes Sons of Anarchy. If you don’t mind death metal, dirty bikers and some nice middle finger anarchy, well, tough luck, brother. The missions are pretty team-oriented and pretty much fun. Of course, the horrible bike mechanics ruin the many, many group rides; what good are hardcore bikers if they are too dumb to stay in position? Yeah, morons with patches. Maybe the Angels of Death should have won …

The Ballad of Gay Tony

Finally, we leave gritty apartments and dirty motorbikes. Glamour is back! Even more, the missions are more varied and finally, we were able to blow shit up big time! However, the stupid fight club showed how incredibly abysmal melee combat was in GTA IV … If you look past that, The Ballad of Gay Tony felt like an old-time GTA where fun was written with a capital F!

THE 10 THINGS GTA V SHOULD DO BETTER (and the likelihood it’ll happen)

10. More than one damn city without anything else

GTA IV was just the city of Liberty, well, City. And New Alderney (industrial part, downtown, suburbs and the Leone’s old run-down mansion). Just a big city, no deserts, no forests, no proper waterways, mountains or even a proper beach … after the vast San Andreas, this felt like 3 steps back. Now the good thing is, GTA V will have all of this, and maybe more (don’t we all want to finally meet Bigfoot?).

Likelihood: 100%

9. No more collectible shit without any rewards

In San Andreas (and earlier games as well as the later Stories games), you had to find many different collectibles, and you got in-game rewards like free weapons and stuff. In GTA IV, you had to shoot dozens of fucking pigeons – to get a fucking stupid achievement for killing all of them (was it 666?), oh, and a helicopter … Let’s hope GTA V does a better job.

Likelihood: 50%

8. What about decent movement?

Oh, poor clumsy Niko! Remember when you wanted to climb some stairs or you wanted to walk though a door, but clumsy Niko decided to miss everything in sight? Even poor John Marshton in Red Dead Redemption suffered from some eye leg coordination hick-ups (albeit not as clumsy as Niko). And as mentioned before, melee combat was an atrocity!  Will we be able to walk like human beings in GTA V? We’ll see, we’ll see …

Likelihood: 20%

7. Remember San Andreas had RPG stats?

Okay, first: The getting fat or muscular thing went over-the-top. We don’t need that. But experience in driving, shooting, flying or maybe even fucking would be a good thing – and GTA IV delivered none of this. Zero, nada, nix. Thankfully, at least some basic RPG stats will be back in GTA V. Level up, boys!

Likelihood: 100%

6. Dynamic shoot-outs

So, a normal shoot-out in GTA IV was taking cover, waiting for enemies to leave cover, shooting them, rinse & repeat. In other words, boring as fuck if you weren’t a Gears of War fanatic. While GTA V will have the same cover mechanic, switching between the characters tactically should make the shoot-outs more fun.

Likelihood: 60%

5. We want planes

Yeah, we know Rockstar though the GTA IV map was too small to have fun with planes, and, oh, there was just one airport. First: Fuck that! We had plenty of fun with planes in Saints Row 2 in one city, didn’t we? Luckily, planes (and fighter jets) will be back in GTA V! Hooray!

Likelihood: 100%

4. No more scripted missions

Remember how the same vehicles crossed your path? Or even worse, how couldn’t kill that cunt on a motorbike you were chasing? Yeah, scripted missions were a big fucking pain in the ass in GTA IV! Dear Rockstar, we don’t want this shit!

Likelihood: 40%

3. Vehicles should not feel like dead weight on ice

Goddamn it, if there’s ever a GTA where the handling at top speed is shit, and braking in the dry feels like sliding on ice, well, play GTA IV. Driving was horrible and not fun at all. Let’s hope Rockstar learned from that dumb idea of “realism” …

Likelihood: 70%

2. Fuck realism, and fuck that cousin!

Realism in GTA IV meant the following: Horrible car mechanics (see above), cops pestering you after firing one shot, no cool vehicles like planes or tanks (yeah, Niko was not supposed to handle them, man, are we glad CJ could), no more outlandish missions (ah, that jetpack …), and then, those fucking friendship bullshit: “Cousin, let’s go bowling!”, “Niko, why haven’t you called me” or “Hey, let’s grab a bite!” For fuck’s sake, it’s GTA, not the bloody Sims! Dating to give a fuck in San Andreas was only worthwhile because of the extras, but in GTA IV, it was just annoying like hell, especially if you called a so-called friend and had to drive to the other end of the fucking map to meet that cunt! Let’s hope friendship in GTA V involves a shitload of killing!

Likelihood: 80%

1. Empty world with almost no exploration value or things to do

Remember the one cool easter egg in GTA IV? The heart? Good, then you know almost all of them. Exploring in GTA IV meant driving from one part of the city to the next one. That was it 99% of the time. And then, where were the interesting side missions, interesting activities, hidden stuff, the paramedic/cop/taxi/fire fighter missions? Nope. What about customisation? A dozen outfits, no hair, tattoos or car customisation! Safe houses, businesses or many cool guns? No, no, no. GTA IV was hellbent on denying us the very fabric that made San Andreas great. Fortunately, GTA V will include tons of stuff to do! Fuck yeah!

Likelihood: 100%

Rabidgames puts the rant into perspective: To be fair, this might feel a bit harsh. Yes, GTA IV was fun. But playing it a second time is not at times – you know the annoying missions, you hate the clumsy walking, the awful driving, you get bored easily when not on missions. Yes, GTA IV is one of hell of an awesome open world action game with a serious and strong satirical undercurrent. But it falls flat on its face as a sandbox game. And GTA and sandbox used to be synonyms – and who knows, they could be again …

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