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Grand Theft Auto IV Review

March 17, 2009

gta-4-logo

Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Version Played), Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action-Adventure, Sandbox
Players: 1 – 16 (Console), 1 – 32 (PC)
Release Date: 29th April 2008 (PS3, X360)
3rd December 2008 (PC)

Everybody has already played this and has decided whether they like it but that will not stop me from telling everybody in the world (Well the people who read this) from telling everyone how good it is.

It would be very hard to find a person who has never heard of Grand Theft Auto. GTA is one of the biggest gaming series’ of all time and is known by everyone, even non gamers. So when GTA IV was about to be released it received phenomenal critical acclaim and everyone went crazy for it. When it came out it sold shit loads as expected but it seemed to be a love or hate thing. I loved it.

When Grand Theft Auto IV starts some really cool music plays. Then the really cinematic intro cutscene starts and we see the main character, Niko Bellic, come off the boat into Liberty City. Niko wants to start a new life that has nothing to do with killing this time. Niko is probably the best character to come out of a GTA game. He has an amazing back story and has some really in depth motives. The introduction is when you realise how mature and serious the new GTA is.

Grand Theft Auto IV relies on the gameplay of the previous games and adds very little new things to the game. It actually takes things out to make the game seem more realistic such as flying planes. What GTA does do new though, is make the most interactive and realistic city in the series. The way the people interact with each other is incredible. The city is always alive and full of people. People talk to each other, walk with each other, phone people, buy food, park cars, travel, commit crimes, pick fights, steal cars and the list goes in. It is literally incredible. As well as the people being alive the city looks more real than before. It is filled with realistic looking houses, buildings and shops. Just like San Andreas though, you can’t go in very many of them. There are many activities you can take part in as well such as bowling, darts and pool. You can even phone your friends and arrange to do the activities. Even though bowling and darts isn’t what GTA is about it can be quite fun and a nice break.

Gameplay wise GTA makes the combat much better. The cover system works really well and allows you to do everything that most cover systems let you do. So basically you can peek out and shoot. My only problem with it is that it feels a little bit sticky and it can be awkward to get out of it sometimes. The weapons all feel meatier than before. The free aim is a lot better to and can actually be used in a fight and can also be very useful. You can now freely fire from vehicles too. Instead of just leaning out the window and firing to the side you can now aim where you want with a pistol or SMG. Grenades can also be thrown out of the window for even more chaos. The on foot controls are also better. Niko moves much more realistically than the other characters from previous GTA games and it feels more like you are walking than before. The cars have changed and sometimes it feels better but other times it feels worse. The handling can take a while to get used to but it’s fine after a while of driving but some of the fast cars are near impossible to control and therefore you are constantly crashing. If you dislike the handling though you can just get a taxi to wherever you are going.

Story and Character wise it is ahead of, not only every GTA game but also most other games. I won’t say any of the plot other than what I have said above but it is incredible. It is extremely cinematic and keeps you hooked throughout the entire game. As usual with a GTA game there are loads of characters and they are normally all good characters. GTA IV is no different. Like I said before Niko Bellic is the best character in any GTA game. Niko’s companions and the games villains are also done extremely well. I have to point out that you will hate the villains with a passion and love the chance when you get to kill them. GTA IV also throws in some choices which can affect what character live or die and change the story. Some change the story a lot, others don’t.

Visually GTA IV is amazing too. It is one of the best looking games of this generation. The damage to the cars has been vastly improved and the car damage is more visible than before. Instead of going up in smoke until it goes on fire, the vehicles get dented and bumps which looks much more realistic than before.

The game is also really long at about 30 hour’s playtime if you allow yourself to be immersed in Liberty City. As well as the main missions there are many hidden packages to find and lot’s of side missions you can take part in to make the game even longer. Plus there is the multi-player.

The multi-player is fun and definitely worth playing. There are many modes to play such as the typical Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch but the best mode is Cops and Crooks. Cops and Crooks makes one team the police and one team the criminal. The criminals need to get their leader to the escape vehicle while the police need to chase them. It can get really frantic and is great fun. You need a lot of players in a match though because the map is so big if you don’t you can go for a long time without doing anything.

Everybody knows that GTA games have amazing soundtracks. The music that was written for the game is top notch. It feels like it belongs in a film and definitely adds to the cinematic feel of the game. The radio stations however aren’t as good as the previous games. Some of the music is excellent and it covers a wide range of genres but it isn’t as good as Vice City and San Andreas which both had amazing soundtracks. The Eastern European radio station is fantastic though and is worth listening through some of the crap songs for Wild Dances. The talk show radios are funny as well, like always and Lazlo is back!

Grand Theft Auto is incredible. It has an amazing story combined with just as amazing gameplay. The multi-player is fun and like I said before, definitely worth playing but the highlight of the game is the incredible single player experience.

+ Incredible story and Characters
+ Amazing gameplay
+ Lots to do

– Doesn’t do anything incredibly new

9.5/10

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