What Bothered Me About GTA IV.
(AfroGamers.com) GTA IV was a landmark entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise as it marked that Rockstar had arrived on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The game delivered on a number of innovations to franchise and served as a blueprint for Red Dead Redemption, GTA V, and other GTA clones in general.
With that said, GTA IV wasn’t a perfect game by any means. As a matter of fact, there were two glaring gameplay elements that garnered face scrunching from me.
The Cabs Are Basically Fast Travel
One of the enjoyable things about Grand Theft Auto is driving around this living, breathing world and taking it in. The NPCs saying random things or just being hyper aggressive, stumbling upon gang fights, or even finding vehicles you hadn’t noticed before. Now, driving during a mission where you can’t mess about has always been a bit annoying to me. I’ve always hated the racing missions in GTA game because traffic is so bustling—at all hours of the day—that its like “You couldn’t have planned this better, Rockstar? Really?”
Then you have the missions where you have missions where you have to avoid being seen by the target but tail them closely enough. Garbage missions. However, GTA IV did something right with both. There was only one required race in the game—the one with Brucie—and the bulk of one tailing mission can be done from a cab. When I picked up on this I was stoked. Hell, the placing of Brucie’s mission was great since the game was starting to get a little repetitive pretty fast, something that rarely happened in GTA for me.
That brings me to the cabs. Most missions can be gotten to easily by using the cab to drop you off within an block or two. Sometimes you can be dropped across the street from the mission. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem except for the game zipping by quickly. Plus, while you do have to pay for cab rides—you get one free ride a day—after you finish the mission you would’ve made make more than enough. This brings me to the next gripe with GTA IV.
You Walk Around With Wads of Cash
This is something you’ll notice in every GTA game. In Vice City, you had small missions where you took over businesses that just gave you money after it built up. In the history of the franchise only four games got money right: Vice City Stories, Chinatown Wars, GTA V, and to a degree San Andreas.
Vice City Stories took the turf war element from San Andreas and made it important to hold on to your businesses. Not only that but you could invest in them. The money that you constantly gained from robbery or missions was put to use to make more money plus you were kept busy. Outside of GTA V‘s stock market element and acknowledgment of bank accounts, this was really the best usage of money in the franchise. That said, Chinatown Wars’ trafficking missions worked perfectly and was a throwback to the MS-DOS cult classic Dope Wars.
Then we have GTA IV where you just make money and its stuck there. You’d think “I can buy weapons!” But enemies drop weapons on the regular and there’s very little worth going out of your way to buy. I chalk it up to Grand Theft Auto being a game about achieving the American Dream via crime. This has always been the main theme in the series and it always worked until Niko came along. Niko arrives in Liberty City to start over in life and get away from all of the dark things he did in Eastern Europe. He’s not here for the criminal stuff but is pulled into it.
It makes for an interesting character but in the end there just isn’t anything to invest in or do with your money in GTA IV. There’s little stuff here and there but you’re basically walking around with wads of cash on you.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.