UPDATE: I was working on this post before IGN released their GTA V review. I’m pleased to say the game addresses all the issues I mention below. But since I worked on it, I thought I’d post anyway. Enjoy!
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V will be released on September 17, 2013.
With gameplay videos featuring a robust, three person narrative, an insanely massive sandbox to play in, and a diverse multiplayer that promises unlimited hours of gameplay, it’s promising to deliver on all levels.
But there’s one fundamental issue that Rockstar needs to address before GTA V it can live up to its full potential:
GTA IV’s controls are weak when compared to other games; they’re not intuitive, they feel forced, and frankly, really clunky. The cover system is awkward, the auto-aim is frustrating and the combat is unresponsive and flaky. Couple this with a pieced-together, fragmented storyline – I don’t think GTA IV was that great. But I’ll leave the storyline out for now.
What’s wrong with the controls?
My primary issue with GTA IV is how the automatic camera steers your head straight when you want to look in another direction. It’s detrimental to an open world game that prides itself on choice. It’s hard to get a sense of your surroundings and feels like a hinderance.
I often found myself feeling disoriented and lost, even in minor gun fights because I felt like I wasn’t in control.
Auto-lock was another cause of a few mock “controller-through-the-TV” moments. When enemies are attacking you from multiple levels, having your character lock-on to an NPC that’s not part of the action while others riddle your body with bullets is enough to make your head explode.
And finally, the cover system. Ouch!
The cover system in GTA IV is sporadic to say the least. Trying to get in postion behind cover, my character would often do the following:
Stand there. (Doing nothing.)
Duck behind OTHER cover. (Usually within full sight of the enemy.)
Duck behind the cover I selected, but shoot blanks. (I’m pulling the trigger, no bullets firing.)
GTA IV should be my style of game; it’s got gangsters, guns, and some pretty cool characters. But the controls took me out of the experience every time. It’s something I hope GTA V fixes, because the more I learn about this game, the higher my own expectations are.
Did you find any problems with GTA IV? Do you think GTA V will live up to its expectations?