Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Despite what Rockstar’s legion of fans might tell you, GTA IV is one of the most overrated games of the decade. Having single-handedly amassed over $710 million in publishing revenues
and taking out the 2008’s top spot on mertacritic.com
, its placement on this list was assured from the very beginning. Relentlessly smug comments from Rockstar Games didn’t help matters either. (For example, “GTA IV sets a new benchmark for interactive entertainment"
.) After lofty proclamations like this, how could it not
While unquestionably a very good game, GTA IV is not the revolutionary slice of perfection that many critics claimed. It certainly isn’t the best video game of all time
, or even the best game of 2008. In fact, we’d argue that THQ’s Saint's Row 2
provided the best virtual sandbox of that year, despite being thematically shallower.
For every moment of sheer, unadulterated brilliance, GTA IV throws up something boring or boneheaded to counter it — from the baffling omission of ambulance/pizza missions to the terminally dull man-dates. (No Steve, I DON’T want to go bowling!) Old gripes like the car handling remain largely unchecked, while some of the all-new features (like watching TV) are a complete waste of time. Brilliant characterisation aside, the game is far from perfect — something which the majority of the gaming press conspicuously failed to notice.
(You can read a more detailed account of our love-hate relationship with GTA IV here