GTA IV was a success due to its huge sandbox world, humour and insight into the dark criminal underworld. However, with all the aspects that made the latest GTA great, there was still one particular mechanic that didn’t quite live up to the grade. An aspect that got worse the more you left GTA IV for other third-person action games, to then eventually come back to.
If GTA V is to defend its belt, it must focus on its combat system. Gamers familiar to the last installment would agree that in comparison to other well-known third-person action games, the combat system of GTA IV felt, well…clunky. Aiming felt slow and second nature in a game that feed on the adrenaline of high speed car chases and gang shootouts. The cover system continuously lead us to that spiraling bullet, that was in fact, inches off target to begin with.
Are we purely complaining about the combat system and new cover mechanics? Now way! The addition of cover gave us the thrill, pressing up against a police car while vans full of SWAT teams opened fire on us. It was like living scenes out of Heat with De Niro and Val Kilmer. All we’re saying is that it needs attention. There were far too many occasions where the mechanic didn’t recognise a cover location the first time around, or thrust you to something else nearby instead. The addition of cover is priceless in a relentless world like GTA, but it just needs a little TLC.
We’re also aware that games such as Gears of War are easier (not easy) to implement cover mechanics due to smaller, dedicated playable areas. Rockstar however, had to implement this mechanic into an entire city. It will be much more difficult and harder to test. Maybe this time around Rockstar can focus more on cover design in certain gun-ho areas. If you think about it, Epic had to magic-up excuses for cover along the beaten track, where as the world of GTA is a huge city. Meaning railings, walls, cars, vans, skips, bins etc. are much easier and more believable to continuously come across.
What did you think of the existing combat and cover controls? Do you feel the bumper or trigger buttons are letting the cover mechanic down (as supposed to a more reachable main button) and do you feel areas can be better suited to a cover design? Post your comments!