gta iv: impressions of the bad kind

People are jizzing over all of the good bits in GTA IV, so I'm gonna blow a sticky wad on the bad bits. Just because I can. So, despite it being a great game and all (it's like an updated version of Saint's Row, woah!), here's some stuff. Since relaunching the site, I've gone a bit soft - so I'm gonna try and up the swearing and ranting quota. Alreet?

Magic Cars

This ain't the 90s, Rocktard! Why is the road clear of cars one moment, and then full to the balls with them when I do a 180 on the spot? If you're legging it down the road from some old bag you've just headbutted in the crunk and you can't see any cars - you'd have to keep running and hope her hip explodes at some point, or about-face and go one-on-one with her. But this isn't real life - it's a game! Just spaz the camera around while turning and ta-daa: lots of cars have appeared! Steal one and run over her plastic exoskeleton. Sorted.

Why GTA still does this in the space year 2008, I have no idea. Hell, I'm not even entirely sure why it would do it back when GTA III originally came out in 2001. It just makes no sense.

No Loading, Ever!

Okay, this one is total bullshit. "There's no loading while playing GTA IV from the moment the initial loading screen disappears, hurr-hurr, hurr hurrr!" - some Rockstar Dipshit, yesterday. Complete crap. The loading is bonkers in GTA when you're not simply driving around the city. Starting a mission? Load! Re-locating to another area that's very close-by via a mission? Load! Multiplayer? Load! LOAD! LOAD!

I'm willing to possibly let this one go due to the creative use of language used by Rockstar to describe the lack of loading. Actually, no, I'm not. The loading is extremely annoying; more-so if you're indulging in multiplayer antics. It loves to kick you out back to the single player mode at every opportunity, which means that you have to wait for the whole wanking thing to load. Then when you use the mobile phone to get back to multiplayer, it needs to load again. Shit. Shittingly shitting shit-shit shit. Nert-nert. No, shit.

Cockin' Checkpoints!

Annoying. Huge balls of annoyance that constantly twang against your cheeks while you're waiting for the loading screen to FOAD and allow you to start the last mission again, only to then to have the arse let out a sly fart that goes up your nose and down your throat. You reel backwards in bewilderment as a cow suddenly appears and sticks its pukey cud-covered tongue in your ear while you trip and land ball-bag first onto a fucking cactus covered in lemon juice.

What am I talking about? Checkpoints. Damn, damn, checkpoints.

It was touted as a Good Thing that when a mission has been failed, the mobile phone calls you a failure by beeping and allowing you to restart the mission. Except it puts you at the very start of the mission. You know, where you have to drive a billion sodding miles to get the building where the actual mission takes place - the bit where you failed as some bastard came up behind you and squirted the beans from his shotgun right up your muff while you were looking the other way.

Police

You spoil-sportin' bastards. What happened to having a face-off with the police? GTA IV has multiplayer, so it would be awesome having a big battle against them. Humans versus fuckin' SKYNET! No. No, not happening. The police are twats. Gone are the wars against the cops as you barricade yourself with your friends to take 'em out.

It's taken a while to get five stars and countless near-misses of your skull getting squashed, and you're almost blowing a hole in your pants at the thought of being able to get the sixth within the next 40 bloody minutes. Only to have some copper sneeze on you causing you to insta-gib. You spawn. With zero stars. Load of shit.

Give us a setting that gives all human players immunity against the AI so we can have proper street battles. Skynet needs to be taught a fucking lesson, and pronto!

Static City

The city is more realistic as NPCs wonder around talking shit into their phones, etc. Yeah, that's great and all - but where are the human-controlled events? GTA IV's city is essentially a MMPORG world. There's nothing stopping the game from downloading a little file from the central game servers which can, for example, describe an event going on within the city for that day. Not with me? Carry on reading, then!

It's Monday, and little Jonny Shittypants starts a Free Roam multiplayer game of GTA. While in the lobby, the game downloads a little .xml file or whatever from the GTA server. In this file is an event which describes something that's going on in the city (NPC builds/locations, objectives, etc). For example, at Star Junction, there's a parade. Lots of people and cars, and floating thingies - whatever. Nothing but the file (approx 4KB or so in size) would need to be downloaded as it's done with the assets that are already present in the game. Bit boring, so let's move on to...

Tuesday: Assassinating! Whoo! A gang has gone "a bit bonkers", for whatever reason, and are barricading themselves in various parts of the city. It's down to the human players to kick some arse and take 'em down. The players consult their city map and then get their shit on.

In real life (yeah, not in the game), there's some thing going on like the Tour de France biking rubbish. What's to stop there being an event in-game that mirrors this? Except with motorbikes as they're are no cyclist bikey things in-game.

It's Wednesday, and another event. Which can be anything. These are only tiny files which can be stored on the server. If Rockstar can't be arsed creating a new event for a day, then they can set it so the event can be randomly chosen for that day from all of the previously created events - everyone that does a free roam can choose to opt-in to the daily event (maybe even have multiple events at the same time) will then be able to take part in that event.

Of course I'm not saying hundreds of people will be able to connect to the same game. I'm saying that it would be as Free Roam currently is, but with things happening in the city.

It would be fucking awesome. Because it would be awesome, it's not implemented. Rockstar have a very detailed bustling city, and it's completely fucking dead and wasted.

Exactly like Blizzard's Word of Warcraft: they could have events going on that are controlled by GMs, but do they? Do they fuck. Completely static bore-a-thon that occasionally have a pre-defined shitty thing happen (Winterveil Xmas, Lunar Festival, blah, blah, boring-bloody-blah), but nothing truly exciting and interactive. This static method would suite GTA as there aren't any moderators present in the game, but it would need to be a lot more than just seasonal crap a la WoW - it would need to be the daily thing I described above.

It's a shame I'm not a games programmer or work for a big studio. My games would be so awesome it would cause the players to fucking puke.

Posted: 2008-06-09 at 00:30:34,