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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Grand Theft Auto 4Too violent, or too good?

An angry customer, I try to hop over the counter to rob the burger shop, only to find out I can’t hop the counter. I turn around to find someone to take my rage out on: a woman peacefully eating a burger. I slug her about two times, and then something happenes, something new. People intervene; a bike gang comes to the rescue of this poor woman. The fight spills onto the streets where one of the bikers whips out a knife. I am lucky to escape with my life. But as I steal a car I think, “who is that biker to care for that woman?” I turn my car around only to find him and his gang starring at me like deer in headlights. I floored it, and at the same moment I knew this was Grand Theft Auto 4. There are many noticeable changes made to Grand Theft Auto (GTA) in its fourth installment that set it apart from its previous versions. First of all, the environment and graphics are good enough to make you feel guilty while driving that semi around, with its black smoke rolling from its tail pipes. Along with a stunning environment comes a list an arm’s length long of innovations. First, the wanted system has been completely revamped. Instead of having three stars and going all the way to the other end of the map, you now have a blimp. The blimp’s size is according to how many stars you have, and the goal is to escape the blimp to loose your stars. This can be hard to do with the determination these police have. The next big improvement for the game is its physics. Now cars don’t all crumple in the same fashion; if you ram your front left of your car into a post, there will be a large dent on the front left of your car. Not to mention you might be ejected out the windshield from the sheer force of the crash. Along with getting in crashes now, after taking so much damage your car might just stall out, instead of the usual flaming out that characterized previous games. And it doesn’t stop at car crashes; the physics of hit and runs, fights, car handling, helicopters, boats, basically everything has been worked down to fine details. Character development compared to other GTA’s is hands down stunning. You will meet people you like, hate, and people that are downright funny (oh Brucie). With greater character development, gamers get more involved in the story line, it’s not like the other GTA’s where getting bored with the story line was common, transforming it into a game of topping your rampages. The cell phone goes hand and hand with the character development. Now you can go hang out with your outlaw friends by calling them up. You can go clubbing, drinking, bowling, and many more things to pass the time in Liberty City. The cell phone has many uses other than just calling buddies; you can save cheats on the phone, take pictures (which can be used to identify people on a police computer), and even call 911 for help. Another reworked system of the game is aiming. The targeting system has been worked on so that it feels a little more natural than the previous GTA’s. With the new targeting system you can now hide behind objects and pop out. You can also zoom in with your weapons. With the auto aim comes some new options, while aiming at an enemy you can use your joystick to aim for the head chest or legs. All of these are just a few of the many innovations of this game. One of the biggest draws for fans was the promise of multiplayer. Boy, did they deliver. GTA has 15 different game types, giving the player a chance to play cops vs. robbers, free play, and death match to name a few. All of these game types giving you a chance to test your mayhem skills against other players. In a matter of seconds you’ll be making allies, hopping in a car and cruising around a city in ruins, running down opposing teammates who are desperately trying to get away. One thing that makes the multiplayer so successful is the customization of the games. You can pick things such as weapons, civilian population density, police density, map area, time limit, and the ability to customize your own character. The multiplayer is all too much fun. There are tiny downsides to this game, though. The biggest one is the weapon selection: what happened to it? No more chainsaws, flamethrowers, and other priceless weapons of destruction. They also took away some unusual but fun vehicles, such as bicycles, planes, and a car named the cheetah. What’s worse is that with the awesome cars of GTA 4 there is no more customization. Which means no NOS pumped, bouncing, bling rimmed ridezzz. The last small thing that has been left behind is the customization of your character. Come on, who didn’t like the pumped, blonde Afro-wearing, goateed CJ of San Andreas?These small little things build up, making some rampages a little less fun and stylized. But does the appeal of GTA cross generational lines? Let’s ask English teacher Chuck Ripley: “My favorite thing to do is to shoot out taxi cab tires when they don’t pick me up,” he said. Gruesome words from a gruesome man. But don’t worry, Ripley’s a good guy, and Niko makes it hard for him to be violent. “The main character allows for more empathy, as well as sympathy with other characters in his situation” Ripley said. Another big improvement was how Niko can get away with what he does. “The level of escapism that it offers; things that I would never do in life, in a very realistic digital world,” Ripley said. “Good, evil, and fun” were Ripley’s choice words in describing the game. But three word descriptions don’t give the appropriate, in depth thoughts of the game. “The saving social grace of GTA 4 is its ability to provide both visceral escapism and sharp social commentary on the lives of criminals and Americans at large; it forces you to think and feel,” he said. So now everyone can see this is an American-made, testosterone-pumped joy ride. This game was tailored to American males perception of masculinity, which we see in movies all the time. Although, the game is designed this way, it will provide endless hours of fun for you and your buddies. And I say we all should do is just enjoy it for what it is: a sweet video game. So that is GTA 4, a game too evil for the devil to make, too amazing for God to create.

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