Backlog Break – 014 – Grand Theft Auto IV

Completion time: 25:17:45

Yet another reason why I am doing the Backlog Break. When I first completed Grand Theft Auto IV over a decade ago, I was left with some unsatisfactory opinions and view of the game. As time passed, I forgot less and less why exactly that was. I wanted to give this another playthrough, so I could understand why exactly my opinions were so soured over it.

25 hours later, I have no idea why I felt that way, because man, did I have a ball replaying this.

Nico Bellic is a protagonist that’s hard to dislike, and throughout your journey, you start to feel bad for him, because all he knows how to do it kill, and he just wants to be away from that world. His journey from the beginning up to the final credits was filled with laughter, crying, frustration and anger at everything that develops throughout GTAIV.

There were only three things that really nagged the hell out of me on this playthrough – for starters, the number of chase/follow missions were way too high, especially since those particular tasks are often frustrating to keep up with. Then there’s the issue with sticking to the walls and how there are times where in the thick of it all, you become stuck prone on the wall. No matter how much you try, you either won’t get off, or you prone onto an adjacent wall. Finally, that final mission was absolute garbage. I did not know that the very end was scripted, so every time I got shot down, I tried to recover, but lost the mission anyway. After over a half dozen attempts, including one where I said “this is it, if we don’t do it here, we’re done”, we find out that the end is scripted to go a certain way.

Beyond those nagging frustrations, Grand Theft Auto IV is a ton of fun. The city is large enough to feel like you’re not always going in a tight circle. There’s even a lot more side activities than I had realized, though we really didn’t bother outside the game mandated instances. There’s so much to see, and I was pleasantly surprised that my memory was off when thinking about the number of side activities in Liberty City.

Even with an absolutely god awful final mission, as well as the other headaches I encountered, my opinions of Grand Theft Auto IV have changed quite a bit. It’s an adventure that’s thoroughly enjoyable, with missions that can be chaotic, as well as just well put together. I’m thrilled to have given this another playthrough, to truly get to the bottom of how I felt about it. And in the end, it sits behind San Andreas and Vice City as my favorite installment in the franchise.

Rating: 9

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