Welcome back to Liberty City, a living, almost breathing virtual
city where you can experience all the sights and sounds of this
amazing gaming environment. This is achieved through the eyes of
Nico Billic, a former Serbian soldier who has been lured to the
United States by his cousin Roman who made this country seem more
promising than it really was.
Unlike the previous incarnations of
Vice City where the gamer was involved in Mafia-esq and gangster
type activities, Rockstar have taken a different road that involves Eastern
European criminal elements which is easily the most realistic
version of the series to date. It's not just a game... it's the game
Relationships play a big role in Grand Theft Auto IV and
although this is not a necessity to engage in, it helps in
fleshing out the characters and plays towards the interlinked story
of the game. This aspect has a touch of the Sims in it as you need
to keep in touch with your friends to receive the benefits and your
dates will even know if you have worn the same clothes twice.
As mentioned, the main character Nico can even go on dates and visit a variety of
places from bowling lanes to cabaret shows. Best of all, you can
also engage in some fun activities like bowling or even playing
pool. Feeling like up for a
night with your friend? A quick call to your cousin and you can
select to visit a strip club, pub or fast food restaurant. With that
said, this game has not been designed for children and is far from
it as the content of the game is quite gratuitous such as Nico
receiving a provocative lap dance from two pole dancers or even
engage in unsolicited acts with a working lady.
Your mobile phone in GTA IV is your lifeline which allows you to keep
in contact with your friends and missions by receiving calls and
text messages. Simply by pushing up on your D-PAD, can you access
your mobile phone and reap the rewards. Definitely a entertaining
part of the series which mirrors the real world.
The biggest change to the franchise is that the city is truly
autonomous and where the previous cities were limited in
size through cleverly laden smoke and mirrors, Grand Theft Auto IV
is truly a gigantic city which allows the gamer to visit almost
every nook and cranny of this amazing place. The denizens of
Liberty City have also received a remarkable face lift and each and
every virtual person has a more life-like personality who all
interact differently with your character and others.
For instance, an act of crime may see your virtual citizens flee in
terror, where some may actually intervene and attempt to rescue the
person who you have targeted. The Liberty City police are more aggressive and once again the star system returns and depending
on where you are, it is sometimes almost impossible to avoid the
law. Once you have reached 6 stars, the FBI will start hunting you
down and needless to say, if you can make it to a safe house, you are
a true GTA IV hero and thanks to a GPS system, it can almost be done
as this shows you were the police are on the map. Avoid the red
circle on your GPS map for ten seconds and your clear.
DualShock... SIXAXIS... is now part of the Grand Theft Auto IV
universe which goes in adding a few different twists to the
gameplay. For instance, you can use SIXAXIS to control your
motorbike and as you turn the controller, so does your bike. Pull
the controller back and Nico will perform a mono as he drives on
The DualShock is also used to enhance the storyline,
whether it's a horrific car crash or if your character is involved
virtual sex (this cannot be seen but your car might rock), the
controller will vibrate. The save feature of the
title has also been revamped and once the player competes a mission,
the title automatically saves, although going back to your safe
house still allows you the option to save.
Although the title has a major storyline, the developers have
ensured to include a wide gamut of mini-games that are littered
throughout the title. Even though you can walk through the city, the
gamer has access to a variety of interesting vehicles from
helicopters to boats which goes a long way of increasing the
playability of this title. There's even a segment where the player
must perform a variety of stunts in their car which are squirreled
away throughout the game.
The missions in Grand Theft Auto IV are quite
entertaining and whether you're escorting a "thug" to an intended
destination or have been hired to hit one of your bosses competitors, the
game is original, entertaining and thoroughly addictive. Some of the
most memorable missions are of course the bank heist and a job
interview. Yes, the game is that diverse!
Nico also has access to a plethora of weapons and the enemy can be
quite a pain in the title due to their realistic behaviors,
especially the police. Fortunately the title contains a "lock-on" option that can make
disposing your enemies an easy process, provided they are limited in
numbers. Needless to say the "biker" mission took me a few turns in
working how to complete that particular mission as you needed to use
the trees for cover. There is lots of thinking in GTA IV which is
great and you need to use the environment to your own advantage.
With that said, an average gamer should complete the title in around
30 to 40 hours.
Graphically, the title is a visual masterpiece of the PlayStation 3
which is one of the most interactive gaming experience that I have
had the pleasure of playing. Every citizen in the game moves with a
humanlike grace and whether you're accidentally pushing them over or
fighting a villainous criminal, the realism is amazing. The weather
effects in Grand Theft Auto IV are pure eye candy and rain effects
almost make you believe that you are watching a storm through a
window. Add in a variety of realistic lighting effects and Hollywood
style explosions, Grand Theft Auto IV is more than a game than a
true work of art.
The driving engine of the title makes the Burnout series look
like a cartoon with its highly realistic vehicle damage and motion
control. The only downside of the title is that sometimes the frame
rate does drop due to the amount of detail happening all at once and
the camera angle is sometimes a little slow to react. For instance,
if you turn around quickly in a car, it will take the camera system
a little time to catch up which means the user needs to manually
turn the camera.
What sets the game apart from almost anything on the market at the
moment is realistic voice acting, even though at times it is
extremely clichéd and over the top but this my reader is what Grand
Theft Auto is all about. Match that with a plethora of radio
stations from music to shock jocks and playing this game is an
experience which makes it quite easy to get lost in this wondrous
The game doesn't end their and contains an amazing online mode and
once selected, you are taken to a lobby where you await other gamers
to join with up to 15-players simultaneously for Liberty City
entertainment. There is an assorted of multiplayer games to choose
from and some great tweaks to make the game more interesting.
Whether you're playing Death Match or Race and even a Cops 'n Crook
mode, this is another part of the GTA IV experience that will have
you playing this title over and over again. There was some lag,
however with the majority of the time, the game was flawless.
In conclusion, Grand Theft Auto IV goes beyond the previous
installments of the series with characters who are extremely
realistic and even likeable in their own twisted fashion. The
attention to detail is amazing as is the violence of the series
which could be quite sickening to some gamers but it must be said
that this title has been developed for adults and the sooner this
country receives an "R" rating for games, the better for the gaming
Rockstar gives the gaming world a true sequel that is
better than its predecessor in every sense from gameplay to graphics
and playability. Be warned though, the game does start a little slow
but once you start playing and become immersed into Vice City, you
will have difficulty in putting this game down. Brilliant, amazing
and a must have game!