Angry Robot

The First GTA IV Moments

Nico is a lot more appealing than I thought. In the trailers, you get the line “I killed people, I sold people” without any of the remorse that becomes apparent in the game itself.

But let’s begin with the world. I began by watching TV, and was reminded of a long-held opinion that the GTA games are best understood as comedy – satire, to be precise. And they are very good at it, their thoroughness more than compensating for their lack of subtlety. Work has led me to experience more than I would like of poorly-produced programs that worship rich people, and the GTA TV programming lampooned them right away. Rockstar should do a TV series for real.

The thoroughness: you know as you see ads for fake products on TV that you will see billboards for them elsewhere; that millionaire TMT will show up as a character later in the game. And you can’t help but marvel at the radio tracklisting. I don’t even know what to say about it.

I must confess that I got a little too taken up in the missions at first. I think Nadine was a little frustrated in San Andreas at the nature of some of the missions: go here, do this, and this exactly. The contrast to the absolute freedom you get by roaming around the world couldn’t be more stark. But I was obsessed with getting ahead and unlocking things. I’d like some threads that don’t make me look like a stereotyped Serbian immigrant. The world at first, despite the size of Broker & Dukes, feels constrained.

All the better to appreciate its breadth later, of course. I had a moment, one of those magic GTA moments, as I strode out on a rooftop and looked out across the river at the evening lights of Algonquin. I wanted to buy every Rockstar employee a beer. How it must feel, building something that enormous, detailed, beautiful.

Detail is the name of the game in this one, of course, and not in some nerd-compulsive HD-fetishistic way. It directly adds to the power of those GTA moments. This happened on a mission: I am told to go to a subway platform and kill a man. When I get there, his underling engages me and he flees. I run after him down to the street. He gets into his car. I shoot but my bullets plow into the door of the car, leaving individual bullet holes. He’s pulling away… I know if he gets free it will be a car chase across the city. I fire again, pushing up on the stick to get his head. It works; he slumps on the wheel and the horn sounds continuously.

“Will GTA IV keep the Iron Man audience at home?” Hell yeah, I’d say so.

D.J. Brotherson from Winnipeg, Canada, said he enjoyed the game so much, he wanted to skip work and keep playing all night, saying it was unlike any game he had ever played.

“The story line is very well-written,” he said, adding that the game “plays like an interactive Martin Scorsese movie.”

I couldn’t agree more, Brotherson.

One comment on "The First GTA IV Moments"

  1. smbm says:


    that is quite a tracklisting for the game!

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