Review by Syko_666

"By far the best in the series."

OK I don't understand why so many rated this game as low as 2/10, either they didn't take much time to play it or they just didn't like it, which is okay.

Now on to the review:

Gameplay: some criticised the new control scheme very heavily, personally I think it's an improvement to the somewhat lacking controls in previous games, you have a new cover system, the shooting system has been completely revamped and the hand-to-hand fighting has also been modified, the driving is challenging but also realistic, a handbrake turn is something that takes a bit of work before you can do it perfectly. Other elements of the gameplay is the brand new physics engine, which is extremely realistic, if Niko is driving down the highway at full speed and he crashes at a certain angle he will go straight through the windscreen, it's annoying I know, but the trick is to make sure it doesn't happen often. The ragdoll physics also apply to shooting someone, if you shoot someone in the leg they will fall on their back, if you shoot them in the head they fall straight back. The AI has also improved, unlike previous games where characters would run into walls continuously while trying to get away, now they will run as if their lives really depend on it, actually another experience in GTA IV is simply walking around like a normal civilian and observing the things around Niko, Rocktar have truly created the illusion of a living, breathing city this time around, it's as if the NPCs have lives of their own, if it is raining they will hold a newspaper over their heads and run for shelter, if they are in a building they will go outside and have a smoke, unlike the previous iterations in the GTA series, the NPCs do more than just walk around aimlessly. They go about their routines, only deviating from that form when Niko interferes with them. I haven't even gotten to the best part yet! You now have social friends! Yep! You can call up Roman or Jacob (and a few others too) and hang out with them, you can take them to see a show, you can take them for a bite to eat, you can even go and get drunk with them! The same applies for girlfriends as well, you just call them up on your cellphone and arrange a date. There is one downside to this feature, if you're walking around not doing much, one of your friends or girlfriends will call you up asking for an activity and if you say no, some of them will fall out with you, it's kind of annoying, especially when you're on your way to do a mission. There is something else they have added to the series: an in-game internet, yes you read that right! You can go to an internet cafe and log on, it contains parodies of such popular sites like Youtube and MySpace, also funny is that you get emails from friends, and you get spam! Looking up stuff on GTA IV's internet is a bundle of laughs, and if you go onto the news section, you will see reports of some things you have done in missions. You can also meet new girlfriends online via dating website Also another fun addition is the ability to watch in-game TV, the shows are hilarious and an expansion upon the radio stations.

A game always needs a story, otherwise what's the point? And this provokes the question is GTA IV's story good? Well.....YES! To be perfectly honest, it's the best story in the series. Unlike previous GTA games, this story has more seriousness to it, and it's got a really great assortment of characters to back it up! Niko Bellic is the first GTA protaganist who is likeable, Claude had no personality, Tommy was cool, but not someone you can relate to, Carl Johnson was way too stereotypical, Tony Cipriani wasn't very interesting, Vic Vance was OK but a bit too self-righteous. Also great is the way choices come up during missions, your choice is usually kill him or spare him. Some missions even make you choose between 2 characters! And these choices have consequences as well. The story is almost like a gritty crime drama, but with over-the-top action. But don't worry! In true GTA fashion, there is still political and cultural satire and it's every bit as funny as it was in the older games.

Well considering the graphics in GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas weren't very good due to technical limitations, this begs the question "Are the graphics in GTA IV good?" well...yes! But not without it's flaws, for a sandbox game the graphics are awesome! But there are some issues with anti-aliasing and draw distance, but this hardly takes away from the experience, if you are expecting graphics like Call of Duty 4 or Assassin's Creed, prepare to be disappointed, the graphics may not be as good, but they aren't terrible either. Also beautiful is Liberty City itself, take a helicopter ride and you'll see what I mean.

Another recurrent feature in GTA is the in-game radio stations, which offer a variety of music types, and GTA IV has the most diverse selection yet! You have a rock station, an extreme metal station, a jazz station, a reggae station, a Russian pop station, and numerous chat stations which are hilarious as always. The voice acting is superb, unlike previous GTA games, Rockstar opted for a less known cast this time around, and they deliver well! The sound effects are awesome, 'nuff said.

Now we get to my least favourite part, what can I say? A multiplayer GTA? To be honest, I don't think it's a good idea, and the execution is poor. I don't really see any point to an online GTA, the game doesn't really need it. The gameplay is rather tedious and boring when online, some like it, I just don't.

Well the story is engaging, and there are multiple choices to make throughout the game, so you can go through it again and make the other choices to see what happens. 2 endings also gives the game an advantage in terms of replay value.

Lasting impressions:
GTA IV does what GTA III did for the PS2, it pushes a sandbox game up to new standards and also does it with an Oscar-worthy storyline. Also the game does one thing that previous installments didn't attempt, it makes you care about the characters.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/28/09

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

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