Review by sharpton
"Grand Theft Auto IV: Best Game Ever?"
Grand Theft Auto IV, a game that has received a massive amount of hype. But was it hyped up too much, or did it manage to live up to the hype? Some say it is the best game ever, while others feel disappointed in its performance. Here is how I felt about it.
Back when I first saw the trailer for Grand Theft Auto I immediately thought to myself this doesn't look like GTA. The GTA I knew had blocky character models, cartoonish environments and hands without fingers, but GTA IV changed all of that. It now looks practically amazing; the light reflecting off the waves in the ocean, the detailed character models (especially the celebrities, they look almost real) and the lighting are all perfect. I love how the cars represent real cars now; it makes it seem far more realistic. The Rockstar team did a great job of recreating (and making a few minor changes) to New York City, everywhere I go I can have an astonishing view; nothing ever seems bland or grey. The various elements of the weather are amazing and the way the sun rises and sets over the water is breathtaking, the graphics really help you traverse yourself into the Grand Theft Auto world.
The voice acting is second to none, with hundreds of hours of various dialogues in this game it is packed full of great voice acting (including celebrity voice acting such as Katt Williams, Ricky Gervais performing stand-up in comedy clubs and Iggy Pop, DJ Green Lantern and DJ Premier as radio hosts). It also includes the return of the ever-funny Lazlow on his own radio station Integrity 2.0, where he goes to the streets to interview random people. The soundtrack of the game compliments it beautifully, with a wide range of great music from various genres. You know the soundtrack is great when you decide not to create your own custom soundtrack, because the music is already very enjoyable.
Grand Theft Auto games have always been known to break the barrier when it comes to gameplay, and this is no different. First of all the addition of the Euphoria physics engine makes it so you can spend literally days just crashing into other cars and flying through the windscreen, running pedestrians over and jumping off tall buildings. It adds so much to the game it's unbelievable. The formula for gameplay in Grand Theft Auto has always worked before, so why make any drastic changes? Albeit there have been a few cutbacks from San Andreas (most importantly, fixed-winged aircrafts and parachutes) but with helicopters and Euphoria I soon forget about them, and realise the game can still be amazingly fun without them. The map itself may be smaller in comparison to San Andreas, but it is far more compact so it feels far bigger. The missions are plentiful and very varied, some are really amazing, including robbing a bank and assassinating a lawyer. The people who came up with the missions have a great sense of imagination and I could not be happier with the way the missions turned out. In addition to the great single player is the fantastic multiplayer which is new to Grand Theft Auto, and I must say they truly perfected what multiplayer is all about. The fifteen game modes means you'll never get bored of just the typical deathmatch mode, and most game modes support up to sixteen players, which implies a whole lot of fun with a whole lot of people. The game itself could've done great without multiplayer, but the addition makes it just that sweeter.
Wow. The storyline is this game is gripping and intense, with plot twists that you could have never guessed. What really makes it remarkable is how you get drawn in to the story, and the fact you can change how the story goes depending on decisions you make. It really questions your morals when you choose whether or not to kill someone important. However, what I find funny is fact I find it very hard to shoot someone who's part of the story, yet I have no trouble executing someone just for a car or some cash. The characters are all very deep and interesting, most are crazy drugged-up lunatics, but some have struggles, and you quickly find out that Liberty City isn't all it's shaped up to be. I don't want to say much else about the story as to not spoil it, but all I can say is it's the best Grand Theft Auto story yet, and it is very moving.
This game is packed full of completely useless but really entertaining crap. From the hundreds of websites you can browse on the in-game internet to the TV shows you can watch in your safehouse, the massive amount of radio talkshows and commercials and the random incidents that happen between pedestrians on the streets. Also, the Rockstar Social club is great for tracking various statistics in the game and competing to complete the game 100% in the fastest time. The only thing I think is missing is a replay/video share feature, similar to skate.reel. It seems that all the amazing bails from speeding motorbikes off of bridges into buildings go to waste if you can't show your friends.
Overall this is a game that you cannot miss, even if you're not a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. The graphics are far above par for a game of this generation, the sound could not be better, the gameplay can keep you entertained for years, the story is very compelling and rich, and the extras make for hours of mindless humour and involvement. I personally think is the best game I've ever played, possibly even the best ever. Some may disagree, but you have to make your own decision.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 05/05/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (EU, 04/29/08)
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