…put making money over the game experience.
Yes, I’m talking to you, Grand Theft Auto IV on the 360 and PS3. For some reason, Rockstar decided not to give us the custom MP3 music station that we’ve grown accustomed to in every previous game… you remember, the station that played the MP3′s you had ripped onto your machine. Part of the fun of the game was driving around causing mayhem to the sound of your favorite music. I loved jacking cars and usually getting one of their radio stations, but every once in a while I’d get a car playing some of my favorite tunes. That helped make me feel a little more involved in the city I was in.
Well, that’s gone now. Why? I suspect it has everything to do with them trying to get you to buy the music that’s playing on their radio stations. That’s easier than ever now, too. When you hear a song that you like (and, honestly, you’re bound to find a few with over 200 songs in GTA4) you can text a number using your in-game cell and then get information about that song and purchase it through Amazon MP3 through the Rockstar social network (sounds like an easy process?).
I also assume Rockstar would rather not have excluded the custom MP3 station, as it is present in the PC version, but the (mustache-twirling) record labels put pressure on them to force at least the console players to listen only to their music. Maybe they’re counting on the Stockholm syndrome to sell their music, where captive listeners will grow to love their music through sheer force of repetition.
Anyway, one source of joy from GTA is gone for now, all because someone thought they could make a few extra dollars. I keep hearing rumors that the custom MP3 station will be added in an update, but nothing has materialized yet. One final thought: this wouldn’t be such an issue if the MP3 station hadn’t already been in every previous GTA game and in this game’s PC version. That they actually removed this little in-game treat is just disappointing.
Wow, is it really July already? That means it’s time for a new soundtrack review! I picked one that I’ve been listening to a LOT lately, since I’ve been playing the game so much: Grand Theft Auto 4.
This soundtrack is impressive. The sheer amount of music just boggles the mind. I keep switching radio stations… click, click, click, but it takes forever to come around to the first radio station again. I’ve played the game a fair amount and I have yet to get tired of the soundtrack. From minimalist to rap, it’s all in there, even some good classic rock (always my favorite for GTA). The DJs and ads are as funny and well-produced as ever. Good stuff.
The voice acting for the game is above average, though not great. Many of the accents just aren’t believable unfortunately. The sound effects are appropriate and plentiful. Overall, the sound just helps the city become more alive. Some of the car sounds don’t come off very well, but apart from that the sound design is very good.
One knock against the soundtrack is the inability to play MP3′s that are stored on your machine (on the 360 at least). As fun and interesting as the radio stations are, I miss the custom MP3 station from the previous games. Sometimes I just want to hear my own stuff.
Verdict: Required Listening