Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Despite what Rockstar’s legion of fans might tell you, GTA IV is unquestionably the most overrated game of 2008. Having single-handedly amassed over $710 million in publishing revenues
and taking out the year’s top spot on mertacritic.com
, its placement on this list was assured from the very start. 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 so 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 the 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