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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Game Play: GTA IV, At Story's End

We're not technically at the end, end, but rather still trying to make our way through the very last mission (or, by it's length and difficulty - what we assume is the very last mission).

The story of GTA IV marks high water point for at least the franchise, if not the genre and even the industry in general. That's not to say that this is wonderful Pulitzer material or anything, and the game could learn a few lessons from previous story heavyweights like Knights Of The Old Republic. Name the decisions Nikko makes don't feel like they hold a profound effect on the narrative as a whole.

This might be a premature assumption as we still haven't played terribly much the branches, I admit, but to bring it back to KOTOR terms I get the impression that Nikko's choice is, in reality, between the Dark Side and the Dark Side (this analogy, by the way, fits even better when you get to some of the end dialogue with Roman).

That said, Nikko's story of hate, anger and revenge has some serious depth. It's brought out not merely in the overall story but in Nikko's bellowing cries at his victims. Rockstar embraced the fact that Nikko excels at walking into a crowded room and walking back the only one alive. Nikko isn't some faceless action hero - he is punishment in motion.

This, however, swings wonderfully into emotional breadth when Nikko is occasionally quieted. Or at times when he's trying to come to terms with himself while talking to Kate. I won't spoil it here (although I feel like we're the last people to finish the game) - but one of the best moments in the game doesn't arrive with an assassination ... but after.

In other news, the HDTV purchase has been ordered, which might be an excuse to play the game all over again.

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