The GTA IV Post

Niko BellicAt this point, GTA IV has been out almost two months, so after the hundreds of reviews and blog posts written about it, I’m not really sure what more I could add to the discussion. That’s not to say I don’t have anything to say, I just don’t think much more can be said. So this will probably be the only in-depth GTA IV post for me.

I could write paragraphs detailing my exploits in Liberty City. I’ve had some amazing moments, some hilariously laugh out loud moments. In the end, though, that would probably be pretty boring. Those of you that have experienced them would know exactly what I was talking about, but the rest of you would probably yawn and move on.

I won’t bore you. But indulge me to write about some things I really like about the game, and a few things I don’t.

As a story, GTA has grown on me and become rather gripping. It started slow, but when I hit the first major plot “moment,” I was hooked. As Niko started to give us some background, some motivation, it struck a chord. I’ve been riveted ever since. I need to know how things end! (I’m pretty sure I’m getting close to a conclusion)

The writing, in addition to the actual story, is great. The main characters get fleshed out over trips to the bowling alley, dates, and missions. Some of the support characters feel a bit out of place, but overall the interaction between the characters are great. I love Niko’s one-liners. (“I hope you have health insurance and a full coverage with i4mt!” “I see my invisibility pills are still working!“)

I love games that include those little details, those little nuances that elevate a good game to a great one. GTA IV is full of them. Just one example: You can car-jack a forklift (Fork-jack? Jack-lift?). If you’ve ever driven a forklift, you’ll know that the rear tires turn, instead of the front wheels like a car. It makes steering difficult at first. Sure enough, the forklifts in GTA handle just like their real-life counterparts. It couldn’t be any other way. I live for those kinds of details.

It’s all about the polish. I can’t get over the density of the city. I’ve read complaints that it would be nice if there were more ways to interact with the city (more shops, more buildings to enter), but honestly, there is already so much to do, there’s no way they could have added more. The amount of polish is staggering.

The characters, while mostly are caricatures and over-the-top, still work. Each character has a distinct individuality that resonates with my pop-culture addled brain. They crack me up. I’d go as far as say I’m emotionally attached to them and considered them “friends”. Brucie and Packie come to mind.

The amoral characters (not all of them!) are often conflicted and have issues. Niko, especially. I guess we all do.

One of the reasons I didn’t originally want to play GTA IV was that I was afraid I wouldn’t have the ability to impose my own morals (whatever that means) on the main character. I’m not saying I wanted to be a Boy Scout, but I wanted the chance to make a choice. There are times that I’ve been able to do that but unfortunately there are times when I can’t, and that bothers me a bit. The funny thing is, given a choice, I don’t always necessarily make the “right” one. I find myself considering what Niko would do. At least the Niko I’ve created. It’s not always black and white.

(Here’s an interesting factoid: Niko is Serbian for “nobody“.)

Of course, everything isn’t perfect. I wish everyone in Liberty City didn’t have such potty mouths (seriously!) and bad tempers. Pedestrians are ready to throw down at the drop of the hat. Every one is so jumpy! The driving isn’t the greatest, but I’ve gotten used to it. Speaking of being jumpy — the cops will PUT. YOU. DOWN. Do not mess with them.

There are occasional technical glitches, but taken as a whole, GTA is the total package.

Overall, I think I love GTA IV. It may have become my favorite Xbox 360 game, supplanting Dead Rising. Niko will probably go down as a favorite character as well. I wish I was playing it right now, actually.


  1. I’ll be honest. I’m not “getting” all the GTA4 uberlove. It’s a good game, and I can appreciate it from a craft perspective, but I find the actual game so damn tiring to play. It’s the Wind Waker/Morrowind syndrome of having a high traveling-to-gameplay ratio that just sucks the fun right out of it for me. I guess I actually have to finish it before I can truly make a judgment.

    Nitpick: one strikes a chord, not a cord.

  2. @Zack – I hear you on the travel issue (which didn’t bother me in WW either, go figure). I’ve been using Roman’s car service and taxis quite extensively and it’s made traveling bearable.

    Doing missions numerous time does get tiring after a while, I will agree with that.


  1. […] 마법이든 일상적이든, 플레이어는 니코 벨릭의 페르소나를 통해 리버티 시티를 경험한다. 그는 한때 발칸전쟁에 참전한 병사였고, 그 분쟁에서 기억 속에 돌이킬 수 없는 상처가 남아 있다. 그 경험 때문에 모질고 냉소적인 니코는 부와 권력을 쥐려는 불타는 욕망이 있어서가 아니라, 살인이 삶이 그에게 가르친 유일한 특기이기에 지하 범죄의 일원이 된다. 헤더 채플린(Heather Chaplin)이 NPR에 쓴 글처럼, 니코는 그의 과거가 실제로 그를 무겁게 하는 것처럼 차분하게 도시를 걷고, 그가 하는 것에 거의 즐거움을 느끼지 않는다. 블로거 Vitz711도 니코의 지하 범죄로의 여정은 희망과 성실의 상실에서 비롯되었다며 같은 의견을 말했다. 짐 스털링이 썼듯이 니코는 그의 행동을 자랑스러워하지 않으며, 그의 상호작용과 게임 세계의 작용을 통해 플레이어는 그 감정을 공유하게 된다. 그의 도덕적 모호함에도 불구하고, 니코는 자신만의 규범을 가진 듯 하다. 토니 라이스(Tony Rice)는 다른 플레이어들처럼 니코라면 어떻게 할까에 근거해 결정을 내리는 자신을 발견했다. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.