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Grand Theft Radar: Could GTA IV disappoint?

#4 - You won't recognize the controls

You've read about the vehicles in GTA IV... how they're supposed to handle more authentically than before. Sounds good, right? Well, you may change your mind when the only available car in sight is the gaming equivalent of a Ford Pinto and simply smashing the handbrake button no longer results in beautiful turns. With extra realism comes extra sensitivity and, inevitably, extra frustration.

Why it doesn't matter

Come on, the driving in previous GTA games sucked. Like an armless man learning to play the clarinet with his feet, however, we persevered until we mastered those controls. Now we may have to relearn some of them, but won't it be nice to have our arms back?



 #5 - The plot's not as fun

You've heard the quote. GTA IV isn't a story of "rags to riches," merely a story of "rags to slightly better rags." In other words, you won't be climbing the career ladder from low level thug to criminal kingpin anymore. Unfortunately, the kingpins are the guys who can afford all the mansions, sports cars, girlfriends, henchmen, casinos and porn studios. You know - all the good stuff. If we wanted to spend 40+ hours working towards "slightly better rags," we'd... well, we'd just keep working at GamesRadar, thanks.

Why it doesn't matter

Vice City and San Andreas are big and bombastic, sure, but they're also over-the-top fantasy, with scenes stolen almost directly out of movies like Scarface and Boyz n the Hood. The latest GTA is attempting to avoid such clichés by focusing on a subtler and more intimate journey. In this world, nabbing a nicer jacket or a roach-free apartment may feel almost as rewarding as a house in the hills or a limo full of ladies.

#6 - The protagonist's not as fun

Tommy Vercetti was fueled by rage, revenge and a shitload of drugs. Carl Johnson fought to protect his family and friends. Even the mute hero of GTA III had that whole scorned lover thing going for him. Niko, meanwhile, is a no-nonsense, hard-working immigrant with an overweight cousin and a fondness for track suits. Honorable? Yes. Realistic? Maybe. Exciting? Not so much.

Why it doesn't matter

Niko doesn't fit in with the other protagonists because he isn't a cardboard cutout or cartoon character. His background, personality, motivation and relationships appear more complex... and more mysterious. The fact that we can't pigeonhole him into an archetype yet is fantastic; hopefully, we'll learn what drives him throughout the entire adventure instead of merely the intro sequence.

 

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