Robs Rants: Stop comparing GTA IV!

*The views and opinions of Rob Rymond are not a reflection of the views held by Console Monster and its other staff members*

Seriously if I hear the debate once more, I’m going to throw Niko off a cliff and never play with him again. Confused? I’m talking about GTA IV, the best-selling game of 2008 so far which has just surpassed one million sales in the UK and plenty more worldwide and has become an institution for video gaming.

Of course it is the first time a GTA game has launched on multiple consoles, namely the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. We’ve all known that each console has had its fair share of fan boys (and let us not forget the girls), heck I was a fan boy for the Nintendo 64, albeit not on an extreme scale. But what really grate’s me at the moment are the comparisons between both versions of GTA IV that is occurring across the media at the moment.

Granted with the biggest game of the year there was no doubt that fans would be comparing the versions of each game. We all know for a fact that the Xbox 360 version includes achievements and for those who enjoy collecting and unlocking them, then this is definitely the choice of format for them. Both versions include multiplayer but many argue the Xbox 360 is superior in this department due to stable Xbox Live servers and a larger established base. And then we have the PlayStation 3, with it’s free use of servers on multiplayer (please note these are assumptions and not statements!).

But the big aspects of GTA IV that every-body is talking about? It’s the graphics and which version looks better! Excuse me a moment, but aren’t both the PS3 and Xbox 360 high-definition consoles or have I missed something here? Yes, Hi-Def in that you can plug a HDMI cable or Composite cable into a HD telly allowing you to explore the beauty of Liberty City without squinting at the screen to appreciate the beauty of the game.

The problem is people are judging the games very intricately; no detail left unturned and although it may make sense to the several few who enjoy doing this, for me it makes no differences. Several websites have run comparison features with a variety of figures and technical details which make no sense to your average gamer. Even I, a journalist of five years have no idea what half of these people babble on about. Does that make me a bad journalist? I don’t know, you decide and you can point the finger of blame.

Do I care which version is better? Course not; I may be a loving journalist (well you can question that if you wish), but frankly I have no preference. To me, it is all about the console I own and the game which I’ll get most enjoyment out of and for me that is the Xbox 360. Yeah alright, they have subtle differences whether it is the achievements for the 360 or the Sixaxis support on the PS3, but underneath is a near flawless title that has amazed audiences across the globe. And to be honest isn’t that the most important aspect?

This whole frame rate, anti-aliasing, whatever you call it stuff is important to a few tech heads out there, but not you and me. We appreciate the beauty of a game without numbers and figures been thrusted at us in all directions. I want to play as Niko in the gorgeous Liberty City with a storyline that I can thrive in on my 32-inch HD telly. And frankly for me it does exactly that…

These people who analyse every little pixel on each version are in my humble opinion are slightly odd. Alright, I know there will be a niche audience out there who gets some sort of self contorted pleasure about comparing the pixels on a pair of boobs and how realistic the nipple looks, but to be honest do we all enjoy this?

If you’re an owner of the game on its respective console, you’re going to love it no matter what. If you are lucky enough to own the game on both consoles, good for you and thank Dad for his credit card, but is there any real reason to own both versions unless you have a superior love for the series?

As I said, I know people will compare the versions, but what Rockstar has created is a fully immersive Liberty City that shows no disappointment. What we, the fans of videogames need to understand is unless a game shows some major problem for its respective console then yes we can compare the details and automatically say ‘yeah the Wii version sucks’ (using a neutral example there as GTA doesn’t exist in Wii form!), but when a game of GTA IV’s quality is released, there is no reason why we should take screenshots of each version in the same position in-game to see if there is some slight smudge or blur on a pixel on its respective console.

We’re talking about the quality of a game here and the story that develops. Is a smudge going to ruin the experience for you? Get off you’re high horse and play a game for what they are designed for. The critics really need to stop with the petty bickering and enjoy the multi-million pound designed title we have on offer. Liberty City is a living, breathing city and we should be living and breathing it together, as one Niko. Not a Niko who prefers the PS3 or 360.

*If you agree or disagree with any of the contents of the article, then please post your comments below*

Rob Rymond

Currently residing between Solihull and Stoke, Rob is training to be a professional journalist at Staffordshire University. He has a wealth of experience under his belt and has been writing for 7 years despite only being 19. He thrives on news and reporting it but also dabbles with reviews as well from time to time. Outside of video games he is also a radio broadcaster (or DJ to me and you) and spends time with his girlfriend.

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