Review by Crimson_Merc
"GTA IV; Game of the Year?"
Grand Theft Auto. A well known video game, and one of the best selling ones. It's free roam capabilities is appealing to nearly every gamer. The return of the Grand Theft Auto series was momentous to many; and the game was the quickest selling this generation of consoles. But what really makes the game so amazing? Is it the epic scale? The long story? The free roaming? The endless replayability? A combination of all of those? The release of Grand Theft Auto 4 continues to deliver what we've been waiting for. With revamped gameplay, physics, graphics, and more.
The game takes you on a long journey in the eyes of Niko Bellic; an immigrant from Europe coming to Liberty City. He was told by his cousin, Roman Bellic, of all these wonderful things. Mansions, fancy cars, women, and more. When he arrives, it is very different. I won't get too far in depth to spoil you on anything. The game forces you to embark on a journey to gain money for you and your cousin. You start of doing jobs for him, and then it slowly expands. Eventually you will meet women who are interested in you. Just like in the older games, you get betrayed; on multiple occasions. And even you betray some people; on multiple occasions as well. Throughout the story you will meet many people who become your friends. You can take them to strip clubs, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants, and more. My favorite being Little Jacob. Going to the bar is especially fun. It is remarkably fun to drive or run around while drunk. On many occasions you are presented with two choices. You can choose to kill or spare certain enemies who you have cornered. Sometimes you have to make a choice on who to kill. There will be two people who both ask you to kill the other, and you have to choose. The choice will make a moderate change in the plot, and on one of them, a severe change. The story, overall, is a near-fulfilling experience, sometimes getting to the point of extremely repetitive or cliche.
The graphics are decent. Not the best, nowhere near it, but it is easily forgivable due to the large scale of the city. The water is the most amazingly beautiful part of the game, enhanced immensely when flying a helicopter at sunset or night. One thing that annoys me in many games, is how character models are extremely more detailed than the environment. This is not the case is Grand Theft Auto IV, albeit the models are more detailed than environments, not too much. Driving through the city gives you a feel of how large the city is. Even after play dozens of hours, you will still find secret places. Taking a walk down the beach is also impressive. You will hear and see everything from cars, loud radios, news stand clerks advertising, people talking amongst themselves or on a phone, people getting money from an ATM, a man playing on a musical instrument, and more. The sounds are amazing, but I will go more in depth on that later. Car damage is amazing as well. I've crashed at high speeds and flew out the windshield, completely forgiving the game because of the hilarity and beauty of how well it was done. You can crash and it may jam one of your wheels so it won't move. And, thankfully, if your car flips over it won't explode. It also takes much longer for cars to explode. The death animations in this game are very nice and should be noted as well. There are a few moments where the graphics made me cringe in disgust, all of which was during flying and seeing how 2D the buildings and windows look. The lighting in the game isn't too great, either.
Ah, where to begin. The shooting system, maybe? The shooting system is what I think is worst about the gameplay. It is hard to switch to the person you want to kill when aiming. There's no button I am aware of that reloads the gun manually, although it does it when you run out of ammo or when you switch weapons. It it pretty hard to aim at individual body parts while locked on. There is less weapons in this game compared to the previous one, which is a minus. The cover system is average. It is above average in the area that all stable objects capable of stopping bullets can be used to take cover behind. Blind firing is a very good thing to have, as well. It is too hard to get out of cover, and you move too slowly when you are in cover. It's hard to pick what you want to take cover behind, though. If you are by 3 object you can take cover behind, go close to the one you want to take cover behind, and press the button to go behind cover, it's very likely you'll go to the other one. It's also annoying how when you pop out of cover, your view changes. For example: You take cover behind a box, with another box in place slightly forward and to the left of you. You aim inbetween the space of your cover and the box, and when you pop out, the aiming reticule moves over the box. The fighting system is definitley and improvement, my main complaint is that when the opponent is on the ground, you miss over half the times you try to hit him/her. You can dodge attacks and disarm enemies. And when you attack civilians, other citizens will either ignore you, call the police, or help the said civilians out. Driving cars is very hard at first, but you get used to it, and it becomes better than decent, even very good. I wish flying was just a bit easier. Don't take it wrong; I'm good at flying, it's just a bit hard. While on the subject of flying, I should mention the damage. The damage is great compared to older games. Your top rotor can break off if you damage it too much, and even your tail can break off. It is very fun to try and fly without a tail. It is also a WONDERFUL thing to be a passenger in taxis, and to skip the ride. Yes it was necessary to emphasize wonderful.
Ah. The sound. Wonderful sound. If you leave the car with the radio still running, you can hear it while outside. The sound of engines and cars surrounding you are amazing. The sound of distant helicopters or sirens while listening to civilians talk is also amazing. The voices can get a bit cheesy and annoying at times, though. There are many radio stations in the game, more than any previous. Listen to everything from jazz to rock, news, or foreign music. Most aren't good, but a few are. I haven't listened to the sea, so I cannot comment on that. Very good sound.
My personal favorite part of the game. This game rarely ever gets boring. Usually after playing a game I cannot bear to play it again. This is different. You can do everything from going on dates, flying helicopters, driving cars away from police, prank calling cops, visiting strip clubs, and everything in between. This is why I miss airplanes and bicycles so much. They added so much more replayability. Still, it is very fun to search the city's alleyways or subways.
Not everything is perfect.
The game was not a letdown. I would say it is about even to San Andreas. It is amazing, giving you limitless fun. I can imagine a Grand Theft Auto version of Garry's Mod, which I would buy regardless of price. This game should be on every serious gamer's list. So, what are you waiting for, buy it!!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/12/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)
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