Really, really like the look of this. New York City is my favourite place on Earth so far, and this doesn’t just look like it, it feels like it. Of course, my favourite thing about NYC is that the people are a) diverse and b) frequently shockingly nice, and the defining feature of the 3D GTA games has been that the people in them are a) a handful of clones and b) incessently and predictably hateful. So that’s probably not going to work out.
But this is the first time since we were last in Liberty City that a GTA game hasn’t been garish. It looks serious, sombre. Try to picture a Vice City or San Andreas trailer with that music. This looks majestic. However amateurish the combat and missions have been in GTA games, the one thing they do with professional aplomb is storytelling. If they’re choosing to tell the story of a slave-trading (bride-selling?) Russian immigrant, they’ll tell it with the appropriate gravity.
They told Vice City’s Scarface tale with appropriate style, and San Andreas’s homecoming with appropriate attitude. But in Vice City I was a mealy-mouthed prick, and in San Andreas I was a sad, stupid little man. If I can’t be the mute blank slate in a leather jacket I was in GTA3, a depressed and amoral Eastern European is still a dramatic step up.