GTA IV – An Unprecedented Reception


I can’t remember a time when a game has been so well received. Sure, the Grand Theft Auto IV hype has been more or less matched by Halo 3 and Gears of War, but in recent years nothing has been scored so consistently high. Highlights from the GameRankings archives include Halo (95.5%), GoldenEye (95.2%), Metal Gear Solid 2 (94.8%), Call of Duty 4 (94.1%), Gears of War (93.8%) and Final Fantasy VII (92.4%), which have all scored superbly, but even these didn’t quite achieve what GTA IV has so far.

Eurogamer 10/10
1UP A+
IGN 10/10
GameSpot 10/10
Game Informer 10/10
US PlayStation Official Magazine 5/5
UK Playstation Official Magazine 10/10
Official Xbox Magazine UK 10/10
VideoGamer 10/10
GamePro 5/5
TotalVideoGames 10/10
TeamXbox 10/10
Xbox World Mag UK 98%
Computer & Video Games 95%
PSW Magazine UK 10/10
ActionTrip 97%
GameSpy 5/5
Play UK 9.8/10

Few developers are in a position to match the amount of time and money available to put into a game, so one has come to expect a high level of quality from Rockstar. One of the most impressive aspects such resources bring is the GTA IV soundtrack, which surpasses two hundred individual tracks across a number of radio stations.

BBC reported that most reviewers were not sent advance copies of the game and had to go to the Rockstar offices or sit in booked hotel rooms. Ones wonders whether they had a gun to their head, yet the resulting scores are consistently high across the board, with no journalists reported missing or wounded. At the time of writing GameRankings report the GTA IV average scores as 99.1% for Xbox 360 and 99.8% for PS3. This even surpasses Ocarina of Time’s 97.7% average! It will be interesting to see how far this drops when some of smaller independent outlets publish their conclusions. But lets not get too hung up about average scores. For many the perfect game does not always match mainstream opinion and if you just pay attention to scores you’ll miss out on some great experiences.

gtalogo.jpgGrand Theft Auto as a series has gained immense popularity since its PlayStation/PC debut in 1997, but remarkably the original reception was quite mixed. For me it was more enjoyable than GTA2 and GTA3 – primarily because it was the first, secondly for the soundtrack. But back then a lot of people didn’t appreciate the possibilities, with IGN for example only awarding it 6/10. By today’s standards the original is extremely retro, yet it was everything a great video game should be. More recently San Andreas was a huge mainstream hit, but GTA IV stands to be the defining game in the series thus far.

But how will the gaming public remember GTA IV –
would you score it 10 out of 10?