Unlike the rest of the world (seemingly), I haven't started playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 yet. A copy is waiting for me this evening and I'm anxious to join the conversation. In the meantime, I've returned to Liberty City for one final jaunt through Rockstar's faux New York City on account of the brilliant, if brilliantly flawed, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony. The adventure's reminded me of something that's constantly nagged me in Grand Theft Auto IV, albeit a happy annoyance.
I like the dialogue too much. Rockstar's character writers are the industry's best, perfectly capturing the rhythms of the crazed men and women they drop in their ridiculous storylines. Some of my favorite Grand Theft Auto IV moments take place outside of the cut-scenes, as characters banter back and forth on the way to a mission checkpoint. I'm no fan of Grand Theft Auto IV's vehicle handling, which constantly slams me into trees and electrical posts, but I always end up at the intended destination before the character rapport actually wraps up. There's always a few more lines to listen in on.
So, I wait. And wait. I watch the traffic roll by until the dialogue finishes and, then, tap the gas every-so-slightly, finally pushing me into the floating arrow to start the next cut-scene. Of course, I constantly jump the gun and mistake a pause in the dialogue for the end of the dialogue, causing me to audibly sigh as another slice of character interaction kicks off...as the screen races to fade to black.
It's a testament to Rockstar's talents, a reminder of how the gameplay doesn't always pay respect to that work. Hopefully, the solution for the next game isn't to cut the writing short. That'd be a shame.