Review by Shogain

"A step backwards and a step forward."

Let's be honest here. The reason why your interested in the game is because it's name has "Grand Theft Auto IV" in it. Don't let it fool you. If you've been a long time GTA fan, you might love it, like it, or even be disappointed. There's nothing too wrong with it, but it just feels like the same game, but with major graphical improvements. I'll explain my opinions about this game below.

Story - 7.1/10
You are Niko Bellic, a fresh off the bat immigrant arriving from Europe to North America, the place of opportunities. He meets his cousin, Roman, and he starts to work for him and his cab service, until he expands his service to other employers, such as a gangster family member, a jamaican, and even more crazy mission givers! As you progress through the story, you'll realize that Roman is searching for two military buddies that he suspects for treason, which killed many of his friends. Expect some few plot twists in the way, and an interesting cast of characters. I've got to say though, the story isn't that great. It doesn't match up to Liberty City Stories, San Andreas and the others. It's not bad or anything, but they could've had some originality atleast. The overall decent story is made up for by the large vast likeable characters you meet throughout the game. You can also choose choices throughout the story which supposedly effects which ending you get out of the two possible endings. Overall, I give the story an average 7 out of 10.

Gameplay - 8.0/10
Ah, the gameplay. The charm of the GTA franchise, and it's much more polished now. With a new aiming system, physics, and cover system, you'll experience a new way to kill your enemies. The two I listed are pretty much new abilities you use for combat, and I also forgot to mention that you can use a cellphone to go out with people. Whether it's chilling with your cousin, Roman, to a strip bar, or going to a bowling alley with a love interest, it's all here. What even makes it more interesting is that you get these car conversations as you drive your way to these destinations(missions, and going out somewhere.). You can even dial 911 to call the police, fire department, or the ambulance at your location for fun. The missions are the same as the other GTA games, where you complete objectives for your employer. The variety of missions involved will absorb you for more than 40 hours, plus the sidequests, such as hidden packages, flying rats, and stunt jumps. If your a 100% junkie, expect more than 70 hours or 60 of gameplay. The thing I didn't like about the gameplay was that the few amount of weapons. It's like they only wanted to give you weapons that you really need to carry out. You don't get to use chainsaws, flamethrowers, or jetpacks which were included in San Andreas. Even so, it isn't much of a problem, but they could've added more weapons to add more fun. Another disappointment I had was the multiplayer. I'm not a fan of it, actually. There are variety of modes such as Deathmatch, Cops' and Crooks, Free mode, and many more. What I felt disappointed for were the deathmatches, because it was basically the same thing as single player, but with real people playing. I found that it was slow pacing as well. The only thing I liked about the multiplayer were the races. The races are pretty fun, and you can race up to 16 people. Whether it be Motorcycle races, sports car racing, or boat racing, you'll have fun trying to be 1st place. Overall, I thought the gameplay was solid, and that you shouldn't expect too much out of it.

Graphics - 8.8/10
Now, for the graphics. I can only describe them as stunning. They are drop dead gorgeous, especially the water vicinity around the cities. The lakes and oceans have incredible details, and even currents that rock your boats. The character models also look great, and detailed from face, all the way down to their fancy shoes. Everything is just detailed well, but I had a few graphics problems. One time, I crashed into a gate, and fell down to a bottomless pit of nothingness, and came down back to where I was. But trust me, that doesn't happen quite often. But yeah, I've got to say though, that the graphical improvement surely has captured the feel of GTA's world.

Sound/Music - 8.4/10
The sound in GTA IV are very well done. You can hear honks as you whizz by an oncoming traffic, helicopters flying around, and many more. The sound is done so well you can actually experience what it'd be like if you did the crazy actions you'd do in GTA IV. The voice acting is gold. They match the characters in the game perfectly, and the accent of Niko makes him a great protagonist. What I actually didn't like about the music were the lame radio stations/songs they picked. The only radio station I actually listened to was JNR, a jazz station. Either I have horrible taste in music, or Rockstar does. Overall, I'd say that this section is pretty good.

Final word -
If my review has distracted you from buying the game, pay no mine. I expected too much out of this game, but if your looking for a fun, free-roaming game, with lots of action, then this game is the game for you. A warning for all GTA fans. Do not expect too much just cause it's the first Next-Gen GTA entry. In conclusion, I'd say that I enjoyed GTA IV for what it is, and I'm looking forward to it's downloadable contents.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/09/09

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

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