My Aim Is Truer

Never been the biggest fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. At bottom, despite the open-world sandbox element that everyone always goes on and on about, the games to me have been marred by a completely retarded targeting system. And this problem never seemed to improve with the sequels. What’s the point of game where you can massacre civilians and whatnot if it’s impossible to aim at any one person on the screen? Call me a stickler, but I like to try for the occasional proper headshot and not stagger about like a spastic sociopath during gunfights.

Looks like GTA IV has finally — finally! — fixed this crippling bug. According to IGN’s review, which awarded the game a rare 10.0 score:

A great deal of that pleasure is due to the refined combat system. Though Grand Theft Auto has always been about action, it has never provided a great targeting system. That has finally, truly changed with GTA IV. Hold down the trigger and you can lock on to an enemy (or civilian). You’ll see an indicator of their health. You can adjust your aim slightly with the thumbstick so that nudging up a little can help you earn some headshots. Partially depress the trigger and you have free aim, which is great for targeting tires or specific body parts. With skill, you can take down enemies faster in free mode.

In another helpful change, the newest game in the franchise takes a fictionalized and somewhat compressed New York City as its setting — and I happen to know my way around New York! As a result, I’ll get to avoid the debilitating sense of being lost all the time when playing a freaking videogame, which has never been a formula for fun in my book. This is the downside of the open-world concept that’s clearly become the ne plus ultra of modern game design: I’m not 14 any more and I don’t have endless consecutive hours in which to internalize fictional game maps. When trying to get into a GTA game, I inevitably find myself feeling like a tourist in a foreign city. Maybe a week has passed since I last played, but I shouldn’t be made to feel like an imbecile because I can’t remember where my safehouses are in relation to the latest crime caper.

On a side note, not matter how incredible the GTA version of the Big Apple proves to be, it seems like the folks at Rock Star Game have nothing on these guys. Man, Prototype looks amazing, eh?

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