Review by Harth

Reviewed: 05/22/08

Grand Theft Auto IV: A Great Game, or the Greatest Game?

Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV has now been released for a few weeks, and people have had the chance to to beat the main story and obtain 100% completion. However, the question still stands: Is GTA IV the best game of all time? Some people say yes, some people say its cllose but not quite there, and some say that San Andreas was a better game, not everyone can be satisfied I suppose.

Graphics: 10/10. The game looks downright beautiful. Liberty City was designed and based off of New York City, and Rockstar's developers did an excellent job at creating a fictional New York City. All the sites are there, the Empire State Building, the Statue of "Happiness" (The Statue of Liberty's name in GTA IV). The city just looks alive at every turn.

Sound: 10/10. The sound is simply amazing. Excellent ambience throughout the city, amazing voice actors, some good radio stations. I'm just gonna say that the only thing San Andreas had over IV is Samuel L. Jackson. Although I do believe that the soundtrack is lacking a little bit. I mean, it'll be pretty hard to beat the Heaven sent soundtrack that Vice City had, or the really amazing "something-for-everyone" San Andreas soundtrack, but GTA IV was good nonetheless. Now, I'm not much of a rap fan, but I've heard that the rap is pretty decent, I myself prefer Liberty Rock Radio. I have yet to find something more epic sounding than chasing a guy down in an epic car chase while listening to The Seeker. Plus, it has Heaven and Hell, thats Ronnie James Dio singing, need I say more?

Gameplay:10/10. The section that can literally make or break a game. Not all that much has changed in the gameplay from previous GTA installments. The combat system has been reworked as well, giving guns a bit of a more first-person shooter feel to them. Melee combat has also been reworked. You can now guard, block, and dodge various attacks and then counter with some combos of your own.

Driving has also been reworked, in the PS3's case, you now accelerate with R2, reverse with L2, and brake with R1/X. It might take a little bit to get used to the new controls, but I think that they work just fine, if not better than the previous installments. Another small feature that was added to driving was the ability to use pistols and grenades instead of a machine gun when doing drive-bys. It was such a simple feature, yet really useful early on because you didn't have to wait to get a machine gun to shoot from your car, extremely helpful feature there.

Physics:10/10. The new physics engine is absolutely amazing. These are the kinds of physics I've always wanted in a GTA game. If you hit two people with a car going 60 MPH, they both shouldn't just fall to the ground and die with their limbs sprawled out. Odds are, they're going to go flying in some direction, or end up on your hood, more than likely in an awkward position. What I'm getting at here, is realistic ragdoll physics. People will still ragdoll everywhere if you run a crowd of people over, but it still seems very realistic, if that makes any sense.

NPC AI:10/10. The AI this time around is so much better than the previous games. The pedestrians now seem to have lives instead of just randomly driving/walking to random places. The cops now will work together to take you/or anyone else down. NPCs with guns don't just randomly fire at people and hope they die anymore. The NPCs will wait for the right time to shoot and can actually be seen aiming at various places such as their targets head.

Storyline:10/10. The part of this game that really seems to truly shine. ((Note: Possible slight spoilers below, nothing too major)).

The main character, Niko Bellic, comes to America to pursue the American Dream like his cousin Roman said he did. Niko soon finds out that Roman was lying and Niko has to help Roman out to make themselves a new life in Liberty City. It turns out that Roman is also in major debt and that Niko came to Liberty City to look for the person that betrayed his old army unit.

Niko eventually begins working for a man named Dimitri Rascalov, however Dimitri soon betrays Niko and... well, I should probably stop there. Its too good a story to spoil. Trust me, the story is absolutely amazing, with an excellent finale, and quite a few plot twists and decisions that the player must make which can decide the fate of certain characters within the story.

FInal Thoughts: Overall, an absolutely perfect in every way game. I do believe that GTA IV is Game of the Year for 2008, no matter what else we have still to come. I'm even gonna go as far as saying that this is indeed, the best game of all time... no doubt. Seriously, just go out and buy it, play it, and love it.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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