Review by DarkSoldier

"GTA4 -- Friend or Foe?"

Friend.

GTA has changed the world of gaming. It was showed us that picking up hookers, shooting up anyone that you see and using the sidewalk as your personal road can be fun. People were skeptical on whether or not this game would live up to the hype - and it did with flying colors. Adding in a new physics engine, new graphics, new characters and a new city, it is a hard game to disappoint. Now... you may be wondering... why do I care about a new engine - well, I will explain later in the review.

Story -- 10/10

Tell me, when was the last time a player played as a Yugoslavian immigrant? Never. That is why GTA4's story is so unique! You are Nico Bellic. An immigrant looking to forget his past and live it up with his cousin who tells him of the great life in Liberty City. You soon figure out that Liberty City is not what your cousin, Roman, tells you. I will not tell you anything for about the main storyline as it will be more fun to see for yourself.

You may be thinking that this will be another "rags to riches" storyline but it really isn't. There is not a major conflict with the main character. It is just a good ol' fashioned get rich story.Nico works for various people around Liberty City, from your cousin to a steroid addicted man named Brucie. The missions have also been improved greatly from the past games -- instead of far-fetched events that happen... you are attacked with scenes that make you go "What just happened"? It is great.

This is also the first GTA I have beaten. I had been bored after a few missions with the other games but with this one... I couldn't put it down.

Gameplay -- 10/10

You know what makes GTA4 a GTA game? The fact that you do not have to follow the rules. You do not have to take that route to get somewhere. You don't have to kill that person. It really makes you feel like you are in the game. The gameplay really deserves a 10/10.

Besides all of that, the gameplay has been really improved. Controls have been remapped and reconfigured to create the best experience. Rockstar has also redone how you converse with people. You can still talk to them via mission but if you want to speak to them anytime and/or anywhere -- you can use your cellphone. The cellphone gives you the possibility of calling people, receiving texts from certain people and even taking a picture. Though the latter possible quite at the starting. It also gives you the chance to call up a girlfriend to go on dates.

Online has also been added. Featuring 16 game modes (including free roam and TDM) and a max of sixteen players that can roam together all across Liberty City really makes GTA shine in the online department. It was not just dashed off so we could have online, it really feels like they put effort into it. There is a ranking system also. You level up by killing, winning races or completing goals. There is a total of 10 ranks and each rank give you new clothing to customize your character for online play. My personnel favorite is the gamemode "GTA Race" (which is like a normal race but with guns), because it is really entertaining and hilarious when you have to basically kill the others or be killed. If you have your microphone on you will laugh a whole lot because of all the people yelling, very entertaining. My only disappointment is that they did not feature splitscreen/local multiplayer.

Graphics -- 9.5/10

When I first saw the trailers, I never thought that is what the game would look like. It is stunning. I cannot believe how much detail there is in everything. And yes, Gears of War may look better, but do they have a whole city without any loading times? No. That is why GTA4 really deserves a high score in graphics. When you do get GTA4, promise me that you will acquire a helicopter and just fly around the city. Look at how beautiful it is. It is breathtaking.

Euphoria. The new engine. This really makes the game stick out from Saints Row and the past GTA games. This engine introduces a new AI that actually is intelligent. If you get hit by a car, a pedestrian will run out the car to see if you are alright, or if you steal a car from an unlucky fellow and he attempts to take it back but you drive away right when he grabs the handle, the AI will attempt to hold on to try to get in. It is quite humorous. They also do little things that make them seem alive, like using ATMs, talking on a cell phone or even littering!

My only complain, which has knocked off a .5, is that there is a little pop in. It seems to differ depending on the Xbox. I have seen more pop in now that my Xbox is dieing but less when it was fine. It is hardly noticeable, so do not let it worry you.

Sound -- 9/10

When you enter Liberty City for the first time, you will notice the crisp and clean sound of the city. From far away sirens of police vehicles to peoples chit chat, there is a lot of things to hear. There is quite a bit of funny dialog that is spoken by pedestrians. The cutscenes are also very well done, the voicing is superb and they fit with the characters that speak them.

My only complain is... the soundtrack. I mean, of course I run into a song every now and then but really, I am not a big fan of it. There is no country, which is understandable but that is one thing that I miss from SA. There is however some good rock songs that you can listen too.

Replay Value -- 10/10

Where can I start? Main missions. Side missions. Pigeon rats. Online play. How can you get bored with this game? You can easily pump out 20+ hours on the main storyline alone! And who gets bored with driving over thousands of random pedestrians? If you do, go shoot some pigeon rats or help out the police with vigilante missions(which are accessed via police computer in police car). GTA4 will not let you go until you are at 100% and totally ranked up in online... and even then, there is so much to do.

Concluding statement / Pros and Cons

GTA4 will not disappoint you at all. You will hear of people trash talking this game and giving it terrible scores, which is perfectly fine as everyone is entitles to there own opinion, but more than half of the time, it is just to get people mad. If this review has not encouraged you to go buy it, read some other reviews or watch some gameplay video because I really guarantee you will enjoy it.

Pros
+ Compelling story
+ Awesome graphics and sound
+ City actually feels alive
+ Endless gameplay
+ Online play

Cons
- No customizing cars
- Too much money and not anything to spend it on
- No split-screen MP

Final Score -- 9.7/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/08/08

Game Release: Grand Theft Auto IV (US, 04/29/08)


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