Hype It Up GTA Style

With the recent release of GTA IV, there has been tons of hype. And by tons of hype, I mean we’re back in the 80’s with baggy pants break dancing to the latest street beats. Yo. And to follow up all of that hype, almost all of the major sites have given it a 10 out of 10.

Did all the hype mean that every gamer is a GTA fanboy? Of course not. Does it have to do with how controversial the GTA content and gameplay has been? Probably not this time around. Mrs. Clinton seems too wrapped up in her race for the Democratic nomination to care (thank God!). Are people excited to see what new technology and little bits of craziness that Rockstar has in store for its fans? Most definitely.

Initially, I was skeptical. For all intents and purposes, I enjoy playing games in the Grand Theft Auto series, if not only to have the ability to do absolutely anything I so desire in the virtual world, as granted by such open ended (and excitedly controversial) gameplay. I figured that this game would be more of the same with some better graphics and whatever else you’d expect from better technology. And after what I saw last night, so far, I’m right.

You have to keep in mind that only ONCE have I waited at a store at 3am to buy anything. And that was two years ago during the Wii launch and we were at a GameStop in the Sunset. And our 2am wake-up proved fruitless. Never again will we do that. Ever. It was a terrible waste of time and it was just plain stupid. Nothing is really worth getting up at 2am to wait in line in freezing cold weather with a bunch of other idiots for. We ended up getting our Wii at a FuncoLand at 11am on a fluke a few weeks later. We thought we’d get there before the store opened but as it turned out, we arrived an hour after it opened, and the store was packed with people. We almost left because of the crowd, but I persuaded my shopping companion to just let me ask once we got up to the counter. You should have seen the look on the cashiers face. It’s like he thought we’d never ask. He walked to the back and came out with our Wii! Everyone behind us started whispering. We were able to get the Wii without any hassle whatsoever. Word to the wise: don’t camp out or stand in line at an ungodly hour for anything!

Back to GTAIV. So far, I’ve seen much improved graphics, the ability to interact more with the surrounding environments, and extended gameplay (more missions, longer missions, etc.). For me, the increased ability to interact with the environment and have it interact back, accordingly, was pretty impressive. The least offensive example I can think of right now is when I encountered a small hamburger stand. I saw there was a propane tank on the front, probably to cook the burgers with, and thought that if I shot it, it would explode. Logically, it makes sense but sometimes when you’re playing a game, things don’t really work that way. Things you think would be intuitive just aren’t. I wasn’t expecting it to work, I was just hoping that it would. So I shot at it and just as I was about to give up, it totally decimated the stand and threw my character back about ten feet onto the pavement. All that was left was a burn mark on the cement where the little-hamburger-stand-that-could once stood. Success!

Since GTAIV is supposed to have at least a hundred hours of gameplay, I can’t possibly give my final thoughts. I hope to play more because I’m curious about what it is exactly that draws such a large fan base, plus it seems like good ol’ fashioned crazy gun-totin’ fun in Liberty City.

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