My Thing About Grand Theft Auto IV

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I’ve never been way into the GTA series. I’ve been medium-into it from time to time. I played Vice City and San Andreas, but never to state of total unambiguous completion. The sad truth is, I am one of those gamers people complain about, who are totally focused on combat simulation, and there are way way better pure combat simulators out there than GTA. After you’ve spent some time in Halo 3 and Gears and COD4, etc., the GTA games just look blocky and cheap, the repertoire of movements frustratingly constrained, the AI limited, the fluid modelling of the blood-spatters insufficiently detailed, and so on.

Obviously they sacrifice that stuff to maximize other aspects of the game: the size and detail of the environment, the complexity and sophistication of the story, the freedom and open-endedness of the gameplay. And I’m just gonna say — and it’s seeming sorta obvious as I type it, but just so somebody somewhere says it — those kinds of things are exactly the opposite of what’s supposed to be drive sales among hardcore gamers.

Yes, there is a shocking aspect to the games, because there are a lot of non-combatants around, whom you can shoot and run over, etc., and there is sex — basic-cable sex! — in the game. But that stuff isn’t really part of core gameplay, and most people don’t bother with it that much, except for a few times for the sake of looky-looky. It’s not like killing civilians is rewarded. (And it’s not like real civilians aren’t being killed, in real life, in the actual world, and could use some media attention, for Crom’s sake.)

You can get way better-quality violence elsewhere. What drives GTA sales is good writing and storytelling.

And now, Dave Chapelle.