Grand Theft Auto IV is Rockstar Games’ first attempt at pushing a game of the Grand Theft Auto series onto the mutiplayer scene. For a first attempt, it is a great start, however, there are many aspects that can be altered to provide an even more solid experience. Here is an over all review of the Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer aspect, for those still in limbo on whether or not to get the game.
Grand Theft Auto IV allows the lobby owner to alter all of the options pertaining to the particular mode or match. A player can alter the time of day, whether or not there are pedestrians on the map, whether or not the police are on the map, the types of weapons that can be used, whether or not auto-aim is applicable and more. This variety of options up for alteration makes for a good game. It allows for players to be able to search for a specific type of game or mode that suits their play style. However, offering so much room for customization also has its downfalls.
The auto-aim feature is enough to make me want to leave a match. Offering the ability for auto-aim can be useful for some modes, like Mafia Work or Free-roam, but allowing players to offer auto-aim in deathmatch and team deathmatch is annoying and unnecessary, in my opinion. The fact that you can automatically lock on to an opponent takes all of the skill required in a game and throws it in the trash. You will find that people will be spawn killing you left and right, and deaths will be far more frequent than that of a legitimate game without auto-aim. If I were to request Rockstar of one thing, it would be to take the auto-aim feature out of any competitive Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer mode. It only over simplifies things and takes out any room for actual improvement.
With that irritating little bit out of the way, the character customization and leveling up are cleverly done. Your character levels up, or increases in wanted level, as you get more money. You acquire money through the modes you play, such as killing people in Deathmatch. You can snatch some extra money by picking up the money your enemies drop as well. As you reach a certain amount of money, you will reach a higher level. As you increase your level, more options for customization arise, such as new hats, glasses or coats. It certainly is a grind to get the amount of money necessary for having the highest level, being 10. It is better that way, it gives players something to work towards.
The learning curve for competitive playing varies by what mode you are playing as well as what options you currently have enabled. If you are playing deathmatch and auto-aim is enabled, there will be literally no learning curve. It will be like you are playing single player, in terms of killing your enemies. It is as simple as locking on to your enemy and raising the target to the enemy’s head. Really no skill needed, which, as I said before, can be disappointing. You may find that many players actually choose to go with auto-aim, which can be troublesome when you are struggling to find a game.
There is a great learning curve when it comes to competitive playing with auto-aim disabled. Each gun has its advantages and disadvantages, as it does in real life. Automatic rifles are amazing at long-range combat, nearing the accuracy that one would desire from a sniper rifle. This appears to be the popular gun of choice for many of the players you will encounter while playing Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer, most likely for its power and accuracy. However, the submachine gun is very effective from close to mid range, which can be effective for closed maps or when fighting in a house or building. The shotgun will be your bread and butter when it comes to closed quarter combat. This gun really fails from long-range, but if you use it smartly, you can be amazingly effective. The learning curve is steep, but it makes the game more fun and worth playing, since dominating people becomes easy after learning how to aim properly and choosing your gun of choice.
Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer can be a strategists game, which is one of the reasons I really like playing this game. With auto-aim disabled, you literally have the whole map to yourself, being able to use it to your advantage, which can be done 100% of the time. In one event, I was near death and being chased by an oncoming enemy. I turned the corner, and hugged the wall to see when he was coming. In anticipation of his presence, I cooked a grenade, and ran for my life. Sure enough, once he turned the corner, he had a fiery explosion greeting him in the face. In another case, I let myself get shot up to a near death state, then ran into an alleyway. I went crouched so he could not see my position anymore and hid behind a dumpster, where I found a shotgun. Sure enough, tempted by the possibility of a kill, he came chasing, only to feel the shock of a shotgun bullet in his chest. You can use strategy to dispatch an enemy in all situations, which is what makes this game amazing. It can cater to anyone’s playing style, whether you like to rush into a place guns blazing, or you like to let your enemies walk into traps.
Another disappointing thing about Grand Theft Auto IV is not actually a fault of Rockstar, it has more to do with the Xbox 360 console and networking. The game is not as smooth as one would imagine it to be while playing online. When you run over a player, you will find that they may teleport to another location after flailing on the floor. It seems as if things become discordant when physics are involved. During a car chase, you may find issue with ramming other players, because their car may jerk awkwardly, teleport, or be momentarily invulnerable for whatever reason. This is a disappointing tidbit, but it will most likely be fixed by the time the next generation of consoles are released.
Grand Theft Auto IV’s multiplayer gameplay is definitely a love it or hate it type of thing. It caters to certain people, who like more freedom in their gameplay, but it may also scare off people who hate having to deal with a heavy learning curve. The population of Grand Theft Auto IV’s online user base is definitely lacking, at least on the Xbox 360. Most of my friends have traded or sold Grand Theft Auto IV due to disappointment with the learning curve and a lack of interest. This game is quite possibly my favorite product from Take-Two Interactive and one of the best games ever made.