Grand Theft Auto IV Game Review

08 May 2008 | ps3 review,Xbox 360 Review

Grand Theft Auto IV is now the biggest release in Interactive Entertainment, beating out Halo 3 by over 200 million in sales in the first week. It marks the first next-gen installment of the game and has been in development for well over 3 years. Was all of the extra time worth it? It is certainly paying off for Rockstar since GTA is not only a commercial success, but a critical success as well. It sits on MetaCritic as the highest rated game (99/100) for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Is GTA IV my favorite game for Xbox 360 and PS3? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the praise.

Gameplay: 9.5/10
Pros: The core gameplay that made GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas is still there. The Gunplay and targeting system finally works the way it should. Replaying missions is easier then ever (you receive a text message and can load up right after the mission intro) and paying for taxis makes traveling around the city much more convenient. The cell phone is a cool new gameplay and story device. The Story of the game is more mature in tone, but retains the signature humor of Rockstar. Oh and there’s multiplayer.
Cons: A lot of the missions in the first couple hours are very reminiscent of things done in the previous GTA games (watch over a deal and snipe from a rooftop, goto X and kill so and such, etc.). Multiplayer is a great first effort, but needs some work. The deathmatch type modes cannot compete with the Halos and Call of Dutys out there. A large opportunity was missed in Co-op..why not allow for the Bellic Cousins to progress through the campaign together?

Graphics: 10/10
Pros: GTA impresses in the details. Liberty City is one of the most cohesive and immersive video game environments, level, world that has ever been created. It even has it’s own Internet! Transitions from indoors to outdoors are seamless (NO Load times). Rockstar’s streaming technology has evolved leaps and bounds- the only significant load times are when you skip a taxi ride. Dynamic Lighting adds a lot to the game world, but the best has to be the Euphoria Engine (based off Oxford’s NaturalMotion) which allows for amazing citizen interaction, ragdoll physics, dynamic animations, and truly makes Liberty City breathe.
Cons: GTA IV still will not impress in screenshots or during cinematics/mission intros. Technically, GTA is a graphics marvel, but the characters that populate the bustling city still do not have the polygon counts of most other games out there.

Sound/Music: 10/10
Most impressive sound/music moment? Definitely when I was driving away from a hit and a News Broadcast mentioned my latest deed in my car radio. Why are the bridges throughout Liberty City closed? Well the radio tells you that’s due to terrorist threats. The radio is as great as ever with even more channels. You could play GTA IV for 40+ hours and still not have heard every song, commercial, newsflash, and talkshow in the game. Add to this that the voice acting is better than ever and you have a pretty perfect aural experience.

Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10
Liberty City offers more to do than any GTA game before it. There’s bowling, darts, pool, arcade games, internet dating, police computer hacking, car importing, street races, and more. That’s all outside the multitude of story missions too and the hidden packages and one’s quest for 100% completion. The Xbox version has downloadable content coming your way soon too. Bottom-Line is that if you love Liberty City, you’ll have something to do there for a long time.
Cons: For me, the longevity of a game is highly based on the quality and competitiveness of its multiplayer. GTA’s multiplayer is fun, but hardly addicting. I have found myself playing a round or two and then coming back to the superior single player experience. I don’t see people playing multiplayer a year from now on GTA or the MLG picking it up for its competitions.

Average: 97.50%
Tilt: +0.50%

Grand Theft Auto IV lives up to the hype and brings a lot more to the table than I expected. There’s plenty of room for improvement in the multiplayer sector of the game, but the single player is definitely one of the most engrossing yet. After playing & beating GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas, I was actually thinking I was done with GTA and had little interest in 4. Luckily the reviews got my attention and I gave it a shot. The single player game is as engrossing as ever and the multiplayer is a nice addition. GTA IV deserves the praise and surprisingly lived up to the hype. Give Niko Bellic a chance.

Verdict: 98%
(this review is based on playing the 360 version)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.