Last week, RockStar Games released the cover art for their much anticipated Grand Theft Auto V.  GTA V is likely to shatter sales records when it releases later this year.  The game has already been the cover story for many video game periodicals and looks to be one of the biggest, most-detailed games possibly ever.

For Christmas three years I received a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, obviously the prequel to the game I’ve discussed above.  Grand Theft Auto IV is revered as one of video games’ high points.  It’s also the best REVIEWED game of all-time.  Metacritic is a website that compiles reviews for video games from 80 different publications, and GTA IV holds the distinction of being the best reviewed game EVER (with a score of 98/100).  Up until last month, despite owning it for three years, I had never actually played Grand Theft Auto IV…  So I popped it into my PlayStation 3 and took it for a “test-drive.”


I really wish I could say I loved Grand Theft Auto IV…  But I can’t.  There’s a possibility that because I have waited so long to play it, it suffered.  That might be true.  RockStar has released later games using the Grand Theft Auto “engine,” like Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire that I have already played and beaten.  They took concepts originating in the Grand Theft Auto games and ran with them, so it can be very inconvenient to go “backwards,” but GTA IV left me hanging for a game that’s acclaimed as one of the bests of all time.


I had serious problem with the controls.  I could never get the camera where I wanted it, and any time I would get it to a comfortable position, it would immediately change on me again!  This would happen whether I was on foot or in car.  And that was the other problem, I found driving ANY car in the game to be ridiculously “clonky” and generally un-fun.  It was great having so many customizable options for the vehicles' radio stations featuring real music from real stars…  But somewhere in that hoopla the controls for the car itself got lost.


I found the missions to be extremely repetitive (follow this guy, get here in time, fetch this, etc…) and very dependent on the aforementioned CARS, which AREN’T FUN TO DRIVE.  I found every character to be difficult to get attached to and not at all 'relatable' to me.  All of the characters are trying very hard to be offensive, too.  I like offensive.  If you’ve ever heard my show, you probably wouldn’t be surprised, but it needs to feel natural, not forced.  The writing and dialogue seemed to try very hard to appeal to a 14-year-old sensibility by cramming in the T-word for a woman’s breasts every sixth sentence.  Even I don’t use the T-word often, and I LOVE a woman’s breasts.


For anyone who’s been looking to try Grand Theft Auto IV (you can find it for insanely cheap nowadays, even new), if you haven’t played it by now, there are definitely better options.  Red Dead Redemption is largely the same game, just set in the wild west and is a MUCH better experience.  Also, for the record, from all the research I’ve done on the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V, it looks to have corrected a lot of the gripes I had with IV, and I’m genuinely excited for that game.


If you haven’t played Grand Theft Auto IV yet, I would strongly advise you to wait until later this year for the fifth installment, or pick up the very-similar Red Dead Redemption.