An interesting addition to GTA. Before IV, we had little two-player co-op confined to our own little TV screens and the guy on the couch. The PC owners got the best of the action with mods and so forth but when IV hit the deck, it dealt the cards. Once multiplayer was announced, and all the details, we were drooling with excitement. It was going to be the game of the year, the best Grand Theft Auto yet, a new GTA. A more mature and broader GTA, with multiplayer. We were peeing our pants with excitement and every hour closer to April 29th felt like a wet dream. Well that was what it was like for me anyway.
There are a huge handful of modes accessed from Niko’s cellphone. To quote a few there’s your standard Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch and the big monster; Free Roam. I can’t possibly tell you what we were planning to do up to the release of that golden gem. Sixteen player free roam in Liberty City. We were kicking ourselves silly and when the day came to play it, well I was busy with Niko. Once I had dealt with the main story, and felt confused and tired, I dived into the multiplayer modes. There was some fun to be had, for a while.
The thing about a multiplayer component to a game is that it obviously uses the assets of the main game. In my article/review yesterday, I pointed out a few errors of GTA IV. The physics seem to get in the way of everything in multiplayer too, not being a ragdoll fest, rather a stumbling character on screen. I’d dive into a co-op game such as Hangman’s NOOSE and be rolling, ducking and diving and having a swell time just cruising with my friends. It was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever have… that was until my character just started stumbling out of nowhere. Waving his arms about and letting himself get shot into oblivion.
There’s really no point to Team Deathmatch since every gun can deal a one hit kill. Aim for the head and boom, they’re dead on the floor. It does encourage team player and make you think tactically, but it takes manical car fun out of the equation of GTA. That’s what I think makes GTA feel like Grand Theft Auto. Diving out of cars at 600 miles an hour, into an old man and then shooting him to death with a chainsaw. That’s what I thought multiplayer would be like, only the old man is your friend and the chainsaw is now a baseball bat. Just as fun though.
One problem I see with multiplayer is the race mode. In news and previews leading up to the game, it was said that GTA would give its own twist on the traditional race. It allowed players to get out of their cars and set up barriers. To be quite honest, it was quite fun for a while, racing around in our ice cream vans only to freefall out of our windsheilds and on to a cold, unforgiving pavement. Then everybody just started being model drivers and then started bashing into each other. The final straw happened when the driving patterns of the online community evolved once more. Into people who just free roam… within racing. Nice.
Free roam is probably the best mode. If Rockstar had just sacrificed all over modes and let players customise their experience within free roam (like forge) it’d be more than a success. They could sell the multiplayer separately and it would make thousands of dollars. Racing around with your friends, jumping out of aeroplanes and finding the lost treasures of Liberty City. This is Rockstar’s top dog, what they really nailed and made it game of the year. This is Grand Theft Auto. Too bad the main game wasn’t GTA… in my opinion anyway.