on 12 September 2009
Grand Theft Auto IV
HD 720p, 1080i & 1080p
1 Player Offline
2-16 Network players online
Requires: 3340KB miminum of free Hard Drive space
Supports: Sixaxsis Motion Control functions
Developed by Rockstar North
Published by Take-Two Interactive Software
Niko Bellic escapes from Europe to start a new life and meets up with his cousin... Roman in Liberty City. After a brief introduction to Roman's world full of made up rubbish in an apartment infested with cockroaches, Niko seeks out to do some errands for him, but these errands become more and more obscure as the missions progress. Suddenly it becomes apparent everyone wants a piece of Niko, to take part in more hardcore crime, from chasing drugs, killing to robbing a bank. So for a world full of dreams, it sure looks dark and twisted with no clear way out, but what if someone offered him money for this? it sure as hell would be good, but at what cost?
The story is good, but not excellent, cos' there are so many twists and turns for the character, which actually forces the player to become lost in the narrative at some points. Niko also doesn't communicate comfortably around others quite well, either because he is nervous or generally not bothered and the other character's are quiet dismissive towards him effectively treating him like a general dogs body who is there to mainly serve them. Roman sees everything in an opposite direction to Niko, as Niko sees the real world: the corruption, the backstabbing etc. but Roman dreams big: the condos, the flash cars and the women and when Niko is sad, Roman is jolly and visa-versa. Packie squabbles with his brother's a lot calling them names and contradicting them, however he is respective to both his mother and Kate (His Sister). So there are a variety of interesting characters to get to know within the story and gameplay. Story is good but does tend to derail off now and again, so it's awarded 7/10
The city is split into four Boroughs: Broker, Dukes, Bohan & Algonquin. It is rich in character and detail that no other open world game can accomplish in having. Once you enter this city, you get a sense of it coming to life before your very eyes, The city is not polished to perfection like Saints Row 2, but in fact features little things like decaying roads with pot holes, flies around garbage cans, graffiti and rubble. It's almost like Rockstar is trying to create smells through the use of visuals with them putting in vendor's, fast food chains, hobo's & fumes, you play on any other game and you don't get grime on this scale. However not all of Liberty City is disgusting, cos' there are some colourful areas like Star Junction which looks stunning if you visit the area on a night time with some peaceful areas too like Middle Park or Humbolt River if you want to relax and unwind a little before or after missions. The only bit of Liberty City I don't like is the excessive use of bad language and unsavory attitudes of the people's dialogue, as it's annoying when you want to drive around, taking it easy or randomly doing missions. This City despite it's people, deserves 9/10 for great quality and substance.
The Driving is rather robust, I find I have to press the R2 button really in to get the vehicle moving at a normal pace and the vehicles gear change at a slow pace too. Taking too much effort to get moving, but once the vehicles gain pace, they go ridiculously fast (like 2000mph fast) making it virtually impossible to turn around corners without crashing. The bikes have a slightly different mechanic to the cars with them able to accelerate faster, but this is hampered as soon you come to turning the bikes, cos' they take longer to brake and go out of control and if you have a slight bump, the character is thrown several mitres away from the bike; not good if you're on a mission involving bikes. Boats, they just bounce across the water and don't flow through it, even if you go really slow; the worst boat is the Tug, as it's barely moving and you can't place it anywhere that suits it. Helicopters can ascend, but is a bit sluggish when it comes to landing with having to balance the Helicopter, I've also noticed the analog sticks to be rather sensitive on this part too. So for the driving being the way it is, it gets 6/10 (driving is a little off-centered)
The character is slow at running and can't run very far without losing breathe. He also can't do basic tasks like sit or open exterior doors with his hands like normal, as all he does is push every door open. The reason why I mention sitting, is cos' the character spends most of the time waiting around. Maybe I just want he character to be more natural with his actions and less robotic. L.A. Noire has a more natural playable character than in GTA IV so maybe Rockstar North can translate something here. The character applies mythical actions When it comes to fighting i.e. they don't touch anyone and his cover is behind him or across the street, but never directly in front of him, where you want him to go. The shooting is delayed from when you press the button, to when the character actually starts firing, enabling the antagonist to get a few shots in first. The character on this game deserves 3/10 (A cross between Peter Crouch & Gerry Anderson's puppets; either way, it's a bad combination)
Bowling, Darts, Pool, Strip Club, Comedy Club (Split-Sides) and Cabaret Club (Perestroika). I suppose the first three are good, if you're any good, but if not; they will get a bit tedious to complete. Strip Club is not bad, but is far from great either cos' you walk in and one exotic dancer starts to coax you straight away into having a private session. This has a lasting effect only once, after that it becomes annoying on so many levels however I'd hoped of more interaction in this club. The Comedy Club features 2 of the least funny people in the world: Kat Williams and Ricky Gervais, but what is more annoying than that? Well it turns out that the Ricky Gervais performance was taken from another one of his previous tours in real life and wasn't tailored specifically for GTA IV unlike Kat Williams where he makes specific references to LIberty City. Both are not funny non the less anyway. The comedy club was supposed to be the highlight of the extras, so you can imagine how this Cabaret club is gonna' turn out, rather boring and my least favorite. I'm sure Rockstar North put these in here just to fill in the gaps, cos' they serve no entertainment value what so ever. The most entertaining comes from the TV, with: "History of Liberty City", "Baz & Jeremy in the Men's Room" and my favourite of all "I'm Rich", a satire comedy you'd expect from "Family Guy" and "Mrs Brown's Boys" rolled into one. To me I've found the extras to be a little lacklustre apart from the TV 4/10
The graphics are great with having a workable, breathing and an expertly detailed city to run around in, the cars and people look good too, but don't expect Uncharted 3's graphics, cos it's no where near that level of design. The game is stripped back, so it gets marked down for that, with features missing from it's previous game "GTA: San Andreas" including: mass array of vehicles, customisation options, Driving Schools & various other minigames. Personally I like GTA IV, but I feel the life has been sucked out of it which it craves for, I've found myself getting the DLC, not to pan the story out, but to add a level of excitement into a dead GTA. It's alright to drive around in while you wait for something far more exciting to come into your life, but don't expect to be on this hours after hours once the stories are completed cos' you will get bored.
So for the whole game it gets 3 stars.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition (Retail & DLC)
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (Retail &DLC)
The Lost and Damned (DLC only)
The Ballad of Gay Tony (DLC only)
This game is also available on both PC & Xbox 360
Also don't miss "Grand Theft Auto V" coming to stores on 17.09.2013