After a bombardment of 10/10 reviews and reports of ‘the biggest entertainment launch of all time’, is there anything left to say about GTA IV? There is, according to The Guardian’s Charlie Brooker – although not all of it is as positive as the specialist press reviews.
In his latest column on The Guardian’s site Brooker – a former games journalist – said: ‘It’s been rightly, and widely, proclaimed a masterpiece. And it is – at least technically. As far as the script and storyline goes, it tries so hard to appear ‘adult’, it winds up looking downright adolescent. The bad guys are implausibly amoral, everyone shouts "fuck" every two seconds, and the women are little more than haircuts and orifices. In other words, it’s like almost any Hollywood action film you care to mention.’
However, other written touches in the game are strong, he added, singling out the in-game TV broadcasts as signs of GTA IV’s quality.
‘But if you can ignore that, there’s a wealth of incredible detail and some surprising moments of satire,’ he added.
‘For example, Liberty City has its own TV networks, which you can sit down and watch if the mood takes you. One channel, Weazel, is a thinly-veiled parody of Fox that features shows such as Republican Space Rangers (a fascistic cartoon in which dimwitted right-wing hicks roam the galaxy exterminating peaceful life forms) and the brashly titled Vinewood Cunts (a reality show about Paris Hilton types).
‘And yes, they use the C-word right there in the game, in the gravelly voiceover for the virtual trailer you watch on the virtual TV in your virtual apartment in the virtual city teeming with virtual life. I don’t know quite why, but this really leapt out at me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word in a game before. Never mind the polygon count – that’s genuine progress.’
Read the full piece by Brooker here.