What distinguishes Grand Theft Auto games from other open-world sandbox games is the amount of detail and nuance Rockstar Games injects into them. As such, there are a lot of little things that comprise each title in this hallmark action game series. Even though GTA 5 clearly has a lot of great things going for it, when put under the microscope beside GTA 4, it’s obvious that the latter has some minutia that makes it superior.
Here are a few neat little examples that you may not be aware of.
Fights Fights Fights
Getting into a fistfight in GTA 4 is a far more involved affair compared to GTA 5. NPCs fight back more in the predecessor and will dodge and guard more often, even if they’re just a regular Joe on the street. You even have a lot more attack options, such as grabs and a kick to the jewels.
The idea behind GTA games is that you’re a criminal, of course, and thus aren’t exactly buddy-buddy with the cops. GTA 5’s boys in blue tend to be extremely hostile to your presence whereas in GTA 4 there more relaxed. This enables allows for a bit more relaxed open-world exploration.
Where GTA 5 seems to drop the ball the most is with the way NPCs react to getting shot. GTA 4 had some nifty tech that allowed them to react dynamically to where they were shot. For instance, shooting an NPC on the leg would make them grab the specific that received the bullet. It’s a bit head-scratching why this feature was not included in the more modern game.
Another minor detail pertaining to reactions is how your character reacted to the changing of the weather. Getting soaked in the pouring rain in GTA 4 meant your character would try to shake off the water. In GTA 5, he just stands there.
What puts the Auto in Grand Theft Auto, of course, are the cars and both games naturally have them in spades. The real difference is that GTA 4 had a lot more realistic car physics compared to GTA 5. Depending on where you stand on how realistic car handling should be in a game like GTA, this may or may not be a point in 4’s favor. Regardless, it’s still a detail that the predecessor had over its successor.
This is probably one of the biggest details that make GTA 4 a far more nuanced and alive world. There are far more indoors locations for you to visit and hang out or wreak havoc in compared to GTA 5. On top of that, the variety of decor, furniture, and crowd sizes meant that the world of Liberty City was more realistic compared to 5’s version of San Andreas.
It’s only natural, of course, that GTA 5 has introduced a lot of innovations in its own right. The fascinating thing is that players rarely notice such small details until they’re pointed out to them. It also means that GTA 4 is a game that’s still worth checking out even just to experience the differences for yourself.