You can’t swing a dead hooker around the gaming world this week without hitting Grand Theft Auto IV. While the Grand Theft Auto series is among the most important (and most awesomest) series in gaming history, it’s not perfect—nothing is. Little annoyances within GTA’s games' nearly flawless worlds--errors that would be unnoticeable in lesser titles--are epically fail because even a little bit of stink sticks out in a rose garden.
Hence today’s topic: Epic Fail: Grand Theft Auto.
Car Surfing: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – This is one of those things that’s passed off as “cool,” when it really should have been passed off as a “glitch.” You know how you can jump onto the roof of a car while it’s still moving, and then the car will continue, as if the driver has no idea that there’s a living person on his/her roof, for as long as the drivers are endlessly, casually driving around the city? You know how, in real life, if there was someone on your car who had tried to pull you and/or hundreds of other people out of their cars on city streets that you’d do anything possible to get him off your car, or at least drive to where cops hang out? Doesn’t that seem lame to you? Yeah, me too.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: 90%
Zero Mission: GTA: San Andreas: These side missions from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are legendarily annoying. Plotwise, some nerd played by David Cross asks CJ to complete some very annoying missions with remote control helicopters. Gameplay wise, the controls are janked out, the camera sucks and the missions are nearly impossible because there isn't enough damn fuel. Plus, why am I, CJ Johnson, notorious gangleader and baddest mothertrucker in the tri-city area, even talking to a dweeb like Zero? I ought to be jackin’ that pale fool for his loot, curb-stomping him and running up in his mom, not playing with his toy helicopters…even if there are bombs attached.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: 99.99%
Hidden Packages: GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas: Some people love these things but they are basically a collection of artificial game length extenders. It also spawned the hell that is hidden orbs in Crackdown. This isn’t content, people. Don’t fall into their trap. Furthermore, who’s hiding these packages and why do they give you weapons in return? Everyone just ends up looking at guides online, anyway.
I’d rather have one more mission than all the hidden packages in the world. Fail.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: .001%
Combat: (All games) We all love the GTA series because you get to run around an open city and play out your fantasies of being a violent criminal with aspirations of world domination. You get to carjack people, engage in gang warfare, amass an armada of weaponry, and yet, no matter what, the combat in all GTA games sucks more than Drew Barrymore after 6 martinis at a Strokes concert.
In every single installment in the GTA series so far (4 isn't out yet, remember?) the combat was beyond awful. The first games that used a top-down view were the first offenders, allowing you to spit forth a flopping tentacle of what one can only assume is supposed to be bullets. Players then generally swung around in circles, blanketing the area with a massive spray of ammunition.
Starting with GTA3 we saw a fully realized 3D world for the taking, but if you wanted to shoot anyone that was a different story. First, you have to stop moving, because no one can run and shoot guns at the same time, that's impossible. Then you had to make sure that the tiny little circle that you COULD shoot at was near the thing you wanted to die. If you were going after more than one person and they were surrounding you, you're pretty much screwed and may as well just start paying the hospital now.
Now, just to clarify, this is supposedly fixed in GTA4 with a whole new combat and cover system, but we haven't played it yet so we can't say for sure, although we have it on very good authority (wink, wink) that the combat is much improved from past games. One thing we do know is that it could hardly be any worse.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: 100%
--Patrick Roche Sowa
Tripping: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: In Vice City, the good people at Rockstar introduced tripping. That's all fine and dandy when it's just an expression of the physics, but it becomes a problem when you lose a couple of points of health every time you trip. This is especially frustrating when you're involved in a chase with cops with just a couple of health points and then you trip -- Bam! Wasted! Fortunately, this issue was resolved with the PC version of Vice City and has not reappeared in any of the games since. An Epic Fail with a nice dismount.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: 95%
69 Humor - If there's one thing I love about the Grand Theft Auto series, it's that III was the first game to make me genuinely laugh. Growing up, the humor in games was either non-existent or just lame. What fails in the franchise is when they go for the cheap laugh. Whenever there's a number, it's 69. People have names that sound like genitalia. Stores are named some obvious innuendo. I love the games and sometimes the humor is so perfect, I have to stop playing so I can just laugh. I just wish they stayed above the fold and didn't feel the need to go for such obvious and cheap laughs. It makes the rest of the funny stuff less funny.
Probability it's corrected in GTA IV: 0.0000000069%