Review by XCore21

"Not one, but the BEST game mankind has ever experienced..."

* Contains Some Spoliers! *
Here is my review for the most anticipated video game so far, Grand Theft Auto IV developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. This game is available for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, but this review will be based on the PlayStation 3 version.

Story - 10/10
This instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series features Niko Bellic, an citizen from Serbia. After receiving many emails and letters from his cousin Roman Bellic, who is also from Serbia and is currently living in the American city of Liberty City, states that he is living the American Dream. In his emails and letters, he says he owns a massive mansion with a collection of expensive sport cars. Feeling that Niko needs a break from Serbia, he illegally travels to Liberty City in a boat with Roman waiting for him at the harbor of Liberty City. What Niko doesn't know that all these statements about the American Dream were false and utter lies...

The story for this game is basically more like a real-life situation. It's even more realistic compared to previous GTA games, and it features things that people go-through in real life. The use of cliff-hangers and suspense is amazing such as when Niko and Roman are imprisoned by Mikhail Faustin, a Russian don, for killing one of his operatives. As Niko is being interrogated, he asks Dimitri Rascalov, Faustin's right hand man, to take off the tape on his mouth. As he does, Roman screams and pleads for help and then... BAM he gets shot in the stomach. Self-explanatory is all I can say. If GTA IV was a novel, the author will get various awards. I am telling you that straight on. It's just AMAZING. 10/10

Multiplayer - 9/10
FINALLY! Rockstar have introduced the first proper multiplayer service for a GTA game! Mulitiplayer consists of 16 different modes. Up to 16 players can join into a game, and you can have the chance to explore the whole Liberty City, or simply just play in a region of the city such as Bohan. Multiplayer can get really fun and addictive.

The only downfall here is that more bugs perform on Mulitplayer meaning that some players could cheat. Such as swimming on the roads where there is no water. Another good thing about multiplayer is that there is no lag at all! I play using a 2 Megabit Internet connection and I never get lag what so ever. If you are looking for a multiplayer-action adventure game, GTA IV is the right choice. It's fun, and addictive, with no lag. Very sleek. 9/10.

Controls - 10/10
Rockstar had reworked the whole control scheme to fit in with the new combat enhancements. Once I started playing GTA IV for the first time, I was puzzled by the controls and ended up driving Roman's Taxi straight into the river (the first mission). As the game progressed, I got grip onto the controls and they where more simplified as the original control scheme.

While driving a car, you hold R2. The harder you hold R2, the faster the car will go. If you want to brake in a car, you simply hold L2 like accelerating. The harder you hold, the faster you will brake. The new scheme also does fit in with the new combat system. While driving, press L1 to perform a drive by. Use the right analog stick to aim and hold onto L1 to shoot. How simple and easier can that get from the previous controls? When on foot, you hold L2 to go into the Aiming Modes. If you hold L2 all the way, you will lock on to the nearest character. If you hold L2 softer, you will go into free aim mode letting you shoot anything you want. To shoot on foot you press R2.

I say these controls are even more simplified and more easier to understand than the original scheme. If you cant get to grip with this new scheme, simply select Classic Controls from the control setup option to go back to the original controls. This partition of the review gets a definite 10/10.

Graphics - 8/10
If you compare Grand Theft Auto IV graphics to next-gen titles such as Assassin's Creed, the graphics are not very good. But the main factor here is that Rockstar had reworked the graphics engine tremendously. It looks much better than previous GTA instalments. Another good thing is character detail. Niko looks as if a real life character close-up with the addition of moles and scratches on his face skin texture(s). A downfall here is that some character textures can get rather annoying. Vlad for example. His moustache doesn't look realistic at all and it can get annoying when his face is close-up in a mission briefing cut scene. Cars and building are heavily detailed making them look as if it was real life. The dirt and blood is much more realistic but adding different variations of blood would have been better.

Another downfall is that the graphics are not upto a next generation standard. There are jagged edges everywhere which is not featured in many new games as they are smoothed up, to make the gaming experience more realistic, but for GTA IV, they are not. 8/10.

Sound - 10/10
This instalment of the GTA series contains the best composition of radio stations and sound effects. Sound effects are even more realistic, such as gun shots, acceleration sounds and car crashes. And a new feature in this game is the even more realistic use of car horns. For example, if your riding a police car and it's totalled, the siren will sound like a ice cream truck as in real life. Another 10/10.

Character Artificial Intelligence (AI) - 10/10
The AI for all characters including peds and feds has vastly improved. Peds can now read coffee while walking around and read news papers as in real life. Motor-bikers also wear helmets as in real life. 10/10

Physics - 9/10
This GTA uses the Euphoria physics engine which is unmistakeably powerful and realistic. For example, Niko's animations are more better and when curving a corner while sprinting, the screen will blur as in your eyes will in real life. Pedestrian physics have highly improved, and each animation depends in each mood. If they are about to get killed, they'll animate in a panic matter but if they are simply running for a taxi, they run in a simple way as in real life. Only down-fall is that many of GTA IV's bugs are caused of this engine.

Gameplay - 10/10
The main factor of this side of the review is that Rockstar had reworked the combat system. I read various forums around the internet, which people having doubts about the reworked system, but I can tell you... It's much better than fighting games alone. When locked on a character, a reticle will appear composing 10 mini bars. As you attack your locked on character, the mini bars will slowly deteriorate until there is no mini bars left.

If you use a shotgun, the mini bars will fastly deteriorate compared to using a 9mm Pistol. The melee system is probably the best so far. Square is for kicking, Triangle for alternative punches and Circle for normal punches. You can use Triangle and Circle for Left and Right punch jabs as in a real life boxer will do, or add a kick and be a Bruce Lee wannabe. You can also climb objects such as ledges and fences and can now hand from buildings and move around such as in Metal Gear Solid. If you drink alot, you will be drunk and the whole screen will blur heavenly as in real life. While driving, if you speed, the screen will blur and you will gradually lose complete control, a feature we first saw in San Andreas. Another factor I missed out, is the gun combat system. You can now hide behind walls and peek as in Metal Gear Solid and free aim from your shoulder as in Resident Evil 4.

While locked on to a character, you can use the right analog stick to aim your gun around so you can shoot a guy's leg or face for example. To lock on, you press L2 while on foot. The harder you press L2 it will lock on to the nearest character. If you softly press L2 you will be in free aim mode making you shoot anything you want without locking on. The gameplay has vastly improved and even sprinting can be more enjoyable than completing all previous Grand Theft Auto games put together. Simply magnificent. Thats the word you can simply use. And also realistic to every corner. You can consider this game to be a real life simulation. It's THAT good. The amount of detail put in this game is too good to be true, but it is true.

You can even watch TV in GTA IV. Small things like that make GTA IV the BEST game mankind has ever experienced. Hell, you can even roam into a internet cafe and go onto the internet seeking new ringtones for your cell phone or keep in touch with family and friends by emailing them. Another thing I missed out was the Cell Phone. You wield a cell phone which you can take to other people which you've met around the game and receive text messages. As the game passes, you will receive a new cell phone which you can customize the theme or take pictures. A definite 10/10.

Ok, all I can say now is that if you own a PlayStation 3, you MUST own this game. It's the best GTA game ever to be made and is probably the best game out now. The addition of Rockstar's Social Club is more better to. Just link up a PSN and the club will keep track of your in-game progress so you can try to enter the Hall of Fame or just compare it to other gamers.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/12/08

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

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