Other things you can’t do without accidentally killing a few townsfolk:
- stop a domestic violence dispute
- get into a duel
- board a stagecoach
- mount your horse
- call your horse
- leave your rented room
Just trying to figure out which button to press to sit down to play poker has led to inadvertent shootouts. But then you pay off your bounty like a Wild West indulgence and go back to accidentally killing the guy whose wagon got robbed.
Once I mastered the control scheme though, the game became a dream. Albeit, a dream with some niggling QA problems.
Horrific as it may seem, I haven’t played GTA IV. But I’ve played III, Vice City, and San Andreas, and I like this version of GTA best of all.
I wouldn’t have called those games “crowded” before, but the sparse landscape and straightforward missions were implemented so beautifully.
The writing and voice acting was excellent. I’ve read some people that found the conversations on the trail boring, but I’ve never been so attached to exposition in a game. I was involved the whole time, annoyed when something made me miss dialogue.
Even the incidental dialogue was good, and varied. After playing for 30 hours, you hear some repetition, and if you play poker long enough, you will want to start a fight from hearing the same lines over and over. But it was all believable and enjoyable.
The ability to do bad things unknowingly was a little frustrating. When you try to play a good, honorable guy, but board a stagecoach on the wrong side and become a wanted wagon-jacker — there’s a little bit of a switcheroo. Fortunately, the designers made the consequences light.
Some parts of the game were never explained well enough. I got shot in several duels after I’d marked the guy up like a one-man tic-tac-toe game with no decent feedback explaining what I’d done wrong. And although the stats didn’t reflect it, the most “m******f*****!” moments occurred trying to lasso and/or hogtie anybody. So frustrating.
I became genuinely attached to John Marston. Playing the aftergame is less fun without him. Jack’s squeaky voice is much less satisfying.
The game is even fun to watch. My brother-in-law comes over to play, and my wife and I enjoy spectating. My wife even started playing after watching me for so many hours. Now that’s a winner of a game right there. It doesn’t compromise on the shooting and riding and badassery, but still has SO appeal? More of those, please!