telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Finally finished GTA IV (story mode anyways) by Barbecue Bros
July 2, 2008, 2:31 pm
Filed under: video games

So exactly 2 months after I started the game, I finally finished the story mode of Grand Theft Auto IV yesterday. I never played it for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time (though mostly just 1 or 2 hours at a time) and had some breaks in playing the game when I would be out of town or just didn’t turn on my Xbox 360.

Overall, I found it to be a very ambitious game whose tone was dramatically different than its immediate predecessor, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. While I am only barely over 60% completion of the game, I will continue to play a little bit further (as opposed to stopping San Andreas after the storyline was finished) to get some cars for my boy Brucie, do some assassinations from the payphone, maybe doing stunt jumps when I come across them, and exploring the gameplay map more. I will almost certainly not play for 100% completion, however, as that kind of grinding does not appeal to me. I will definitely be playing multiplayer a lot more, that’s for sure. Some (hastily thrown together) thoughts…


  • I really liked the addition of sliding, cover, and blind while engaged in gunfights – Rockstar definitely was influenced by Gears of War in this respect
  • While I understand that the cars now drive more realistically, I wish I could drive them faster and more under control a la San Andreas or Vice City
  • The integration of the cell phone and texting into missions and dates/hanging out was very slick
  • I really appreciated the waypoint guidance and GPS navigation as I was driving around
  • Hanging out with your bros was a sneaky way to distract the player from the storyline and extend the gameplay time, but it ended up just being a hassle always getting texted and called by the end
  • Honestly – I didn’t use taxis all that much for travelling, though it was a good idea well implemented
  • Random encounters with people on the street were fun and I usually stopped to do them when I would come across one
  • While you could still fly helicopters, you could no longer fly planes
  • Improved physics animations turn Niko into a rag doll when hit and were thus more realistic


  • Though I haven’t played it as much recently, it is a fantastic addition that makes the game infinitely more replayable after the storymode is finished
  • My favorite mode is probably normal Deathmatch, but I also dig Team Mafiya Work and Cops N’ Crooks
  • I will definitely be playing this more now that I am finished with the storyline


  • The story was very compelling, but was it more or less so than San Andreas? I don’t know really, but it is certainly more serious. Is this a direction that Rock Star will continue in with the next GTA, or will they return to the more light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek nature of the previous games?
  • I like the addition of “morality choices” where you help decide your story by whomever you decide to kill or not kill at certain points in the game – though there is apparently only two endings for the game


  • I think they went a little bit more into left field with the music for the game, so it was probably one of the weakest spots of the game for me since it was just not as great as either Vice City or San Andreas

Comparison to previous GTA’s

  • It’s hard to compare, but overall I’d rank the 3D GTA‘s in the following order (though noting that all are Top 15 or 20 games ever for me): 1) Vice City 2) III 3) IV 4) San Andreas
  • Vice City was the first to introduce indoor environments to the series and had the rad 80’s soundtrack and gets the nod as my favorite (even if it did blatantly rip off Scarface)
  • III was the first 3D GTA and was a revelation when it was released
  • IV took the formula from the first 3 and mostly improved on it, while adding next gen graphics and multiplayer
  • San Andreas was a little long for me and almost too silly at times (though maybe IV could have used some more of that silliness)

Overall score: 9.5/10

Feel free to post any responses or comments


9 Comments so far
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I have yet to complete GTA IV (currently at 40%), but here is how I rank the series:

1. GTA: Vice City
2. GTA: San Andreas

VC took place in the best decade, location, had the best story and best music in the series. SA was the deepest game in the series. It had the biggest map (three cities to explore, with plenty of country, towns, mountains, farms, etc. to see in between), a “workout” system, more weapons and vehicles (e.g. jets, airplanes, bicycles, jetpack), and longer story. III was just a solid game all-around and it introduced us to the GTA world.

IV is actually somewhat of a disappointment for me and the first game in the 3D series to do. This is mainly because the bar was set so high with SA and VC and there was so much hype surrounding the release of this game. People were saying IV would do to III/VC/SA what III did to the first two games. It was also said that IV would have the biggest map. Those claims did not turn out to be true. I also think IV has by far the weakest storyline of the series. The protagonist Niko Belic is good, but the plot is not as interesting as III, VC, or SA (again, I am only 40% done, so my opinion my change on this). Also the missions seem a little repetitive and not very original. I feel like I’m doing the same missions in the previous games. It also has the weakest music, even compared to III from what I’ve heard so far.

Now for the good things about GTA IV. It is obviously the best looking of the GTA series. Also the attention to detail is unparalleled. Everything to picking up cans and bricks off the ground to your cell phone and customizing it with ringtones, receiving picture messages, going to Internet cafes, expanding on the girlfriend system from SA, being able to watch TV, doing activities with friends — now all that stuff is cool.

In the end, I think this was is slightly overrated and overhyped. Instead of a perfect 10 that all gaming sites seem to be giving it, it is more deserving of a 9.

Comment by Dan

Some other things to mention now that I think of it – Along with working out in SA, you also could go to dojos and learn new melee moves. There were also a ton more clothing options and you could even go to the barber for a variety of haircuts. I also think you could get tattoos (or maybe I am thinking of NBA Live 2005 I can’t remember). What else… oh yeah, and unlike III/VC/SA, so far I have found no Rampages or remote control missions in IV. Those were fun too. Not trying to bash IV, cause I still love it, but just pointing out some things that were in previous installments, but not in the new game.

Comment by Dan

Comment #3: I have used the taxi service extensively in GTA IV. It has cut down the driving time on many a mission and friend activity. Very welcome addition.

Comment by Dan

Yea you could get haircuts in SA.

I just started using the taxi and car services after I finished the story mode and they are definitely convenient.

And I think I’ve at least decided to get all 50 stunt jumps (the video guide at gamesradar will definitely help). Not so sure about the hidden pigeons.

Comment by twoguns

I definitely prefered GTA: Vice City the most in terms what the player could role play as. GTA IV seemed a little bit too realistic to me, which is strange because I had always wanted a GTA game that was very realistic, and now i have one and it seems as though GTA IV could use some of that silliness like in SA. I have just completed story mode, and its like I feel not even remotely aquainted with Liberty City (ex. not knowing ways to certain areas, confused about where my location is, etc) as for example after I finished story mode for Vice City, I felt very well aquainted. I am currently bored with GTA IV now, because I feel lost in Liberty City. In GTA VC, after Story Mode it seemed like there was even more to do, which I admire about VC. Overall, GTA IV was an excellent game in terms of realism and storyline, however, to me, it doesnt feel like the regular Grand Theft Auto games prior to its release. My rating’s for GTA games:

1) Vice City: 9.6
2) San Andreas: 9
3) GTA IV: 8.8
4) GTA III: 8.2

Comment by Mike Hunt

Seems like you and Dan would get along, Mikey

Comment by twoguns

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