Disregard the reviews on Metacritic (which have it at 98 out of 100); the same people are still giving new sub-par Maddens 86 out of 100. What should really grab your attention is the 79/100 that the average person gives it (on the Xbox 360; on the PS3, it gets a meager 75). Let me break it down for you. Imagine getting a 98 on a test in High School. For me, I'd be tap-dancing on the top of the school if I did that on a major test, because it's a great grade. A 79, however, is nothing to be proud of, and definitely nothing that would get me on top of the school dancing.
First things first: Grand Theft Auto IV is a good game, maybe a very good game. But it is far from being a great game.GTA IV Cover
Now, you might say that that happens to all games, or at least is a common occurrence. Sorry, but that's not true. Take Final Fantasy VII for example, which is a personal favorite of mine, and widely known as a great, if overrated game, much like GTA IV. The critics gave it a 92/100. But what did the average person give it? A 91/100. That's right, just one off.
In fact, according to Metacritic, while GTA IV is the highest rated of the modern GTA games (including to GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas) amongst critics, it is the lowest rated amongst the average person. Something tells me I'm not alone in thinking that IV is overrated.
But stats are subjective in a way, so let me tell you why GTA IV is not as good as its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. First let me say that the graphics and physics engine on IV far surpasses San Andreas; there is no doubt. However, there are more important things.
One, so-called RPG elements. In San Andreas, you could improve your gun skills, your driving skills, your muscles, and your stamina. These are all missing in IV, every single one.
Two, variation. There are less choices in cars, motorcycles, and clothes. There are no hills in IV, you can't get a jet plane or a tank, you can't even dive underwater. What the hell?
Three, fun. Remember the excitement you got from hijacking that tank I mentioned a couple of sentences ago? How about flying that jet through the skies of San Andreas? Impossible in GTA IV because there are no tanks and there are no jet planes.
My score for GTA IV:
An 8 out of 10
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