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Rockstar might deliberately court controversy with their game releases and love giving Daily Mail readers something to get hot under the collar about, but at least they're not all talk. Because Boy! They sure know how to create a great game!
When I got my PS3 (thank you, Mrs SWSt!), GTA was very high on my list of must-have games, since everyone raves about it so much. I have to admit, I hadn't played a GTA game since the original Playstation outing; a fun, if slightly repetitive game. As a result, the leap forward that GTA IV represents left my jaw well and truly on the floor! GTA IV creates an incredibly immersive 3D world with a well-structured game that offers the best of both worlds: mission-based gameplay and a free-roaming environment where you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything.
You play Niko Bellic, an immigrant lured to Liberty City in America by his cousin's tales of a fabulous lifestyle. Unfortunately, when Niko arrives, he finds his cousin Roman has lied. Niko is forced to act as his Roman's bodyguard to protect him from men to whom he owes money. It's up to you to take Niko from small-time criminal to King of the Liberty City Underworld.
It's hard to know where to start reviewing GTA IV, as there are just so many good bits! Maybe the story is the most logical place. This unfolds via a series of missions that you are offered and is incredibly well written and really well-integrated into the actual gameplay. The plot is full of twists and turns which really keeps the interest levels up and makes you keep on playing. Missions are varied, ranging from simply driving to a specific point to chasing down and eliminating potential rivals. This mission-based approach gives a real sense of progression, since everything you do (or don't do) impacts on the game in some way and influences the way the story unfolds.
This element of choice is crucial and helps to create a truly immersive environment. You can choose to accept a particular mission or decline it and just do your own thing, but this decision will affect the rest of the game. If you fail a mission, you can choose to replay it until you beat it or just carry on from this point; and again, this will affect the way the story plays out. The ability to ignore a mission sidesteps the frustrating aspect of so many games: getting stuck on a particular level and being unable to progress further. Having said that, it's slightly frustrating that there are no "checkpoints" within missions. Some missions are quite long and involve multiple objectives. If you achieve most of them, but fail right near to the end, you are sent back to the beginning of that mission and have to replay the whole lot again.
This is a game that offers a serious amount of gameplay. The main game will take most gamers many, many hours to complete, and when you factor in the side missions you can undertake, it's a title with plenty of long-term playability. Having said that it's probably got limited replay value once you have completed everything. There's some fun to be had from just loading up the game and causing as much chaos as possible but it's the story mode that gives the game real structure and playability.
As noted above, when I first booted up GTA IV, I was blown away by the graphics. Liberty City really feels like a dirty, crime-ridden American city, filled with people going about their ordinary lives and trying to survive. The streets teem with people, cars of all shapes and sizes choke the roads and there's a variety of shops, clubs and other entertainment outlets, all of which you can interact with in some way or another. Liberty City might be a fictional place, but so much care has been taken in rendering it, that it feels like it should be real!
Sure, some of the graphics are a little blocky at times (particularly the people) and there is the odd glitch (occasionally background graphics and characters clash so, for example, Niko sometimes can be made to stand halfway through a wall!) However, after just a few minutes play, you will scarcely notice such things. Instead, you will be impressed by the cinematic look and feel and the lavish attention to detail. Crash your car and you can see the damage caused; get involved in a shootout and blood will splatter or your car will be riddled with bullet holes. It's little things like this that reinforce the sense of realism and suck you further into the game.
The driving mechanics have been brilliantly implemented. The sense of speed is just incredible. When you are hurtling along a busy street at 100-plus mph, weaving in and out of traffic, it feels dangerous. The different cars you steal all handle very differently, dependent on their make or size. Sports cars are fast, but have twitchy steering; vans are slower and more difficult to manoeuvre.
Sound has also been superbly implemented to reinforce the sense of realism. The game is full of the noises of ordinary people going about their ordinary lives. They curse if you bump into them, scream as they witness you beating someone up and beep their horns angrily if you cut them up. Car engines roar and throb and all the characters sound different (a small thing, but there's little recycling of voices here). OK, so some of the voice acting is a little ropey at times, but you get so involved in the game that this is something you scarcely notice.
Controls initially take a little bit of getting used to, because there are so many and some are context sensitive, depending on whether you are in a vehicle, on foot or in combat mode. The instruction booklet that accompanies the game is not much help and although the game introduces you to some of the controls as you play, it's a little hit and miss. I sometimes found that I needed to know some controls before the game was ready to tell me (on my first game, I accidentally got into a fight with another pedestrian, but hadn't yet reached the part of the game that introduced you to these controls!). On the plus side, once you do get your head around them, they feel pretty natural and give you a high degree of control over both humans and vehicles.
Of course, you have to accept that the subject matter is deliberately provocative and offensive. The game is littered with profanity, sexual imagery and, of course,good old-fashioned violence. There's a reason the game carries an 18 Certificate and if you are in the remotest bit sensitive, you should give GTA IV a wide berth. In our house, I always play it with headphones on to avoid upsetting the sensitive little flower that is Mrs SWSt.
You've probably gathered that I'm quite keen on GTA IV and frankly after the way, I've gone on about it, awarding it any less than 5 stars would be a travesty. Best of all, the game has been out for a fair while now, so can be picked up new for less than £15 (and cheaper if you're prepared to accept a decent quality second hand copy).
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
I have loved the previous games in the GTA series and was very dissapointed this one was only released on PS3 and was one of the main reasons I purchased a PS3. Boy am I glad I did the gameplay has gone to a whole new level in GTA 4 well done rockstar games you never dissapoint!
The in game details is amazing with hardly any aspect overlooked from the city skyline in helicopter rides to the fire escapes in the rooftop climbs. The names of buildings and franchises as usualy with the GTA series have double meanings and the radio stations all have something to make you chuckle.
My highlights are the ricky gervais interviews and were a brilliant idea for the game.
The cars are great my personal favourite being the feltzer. In honesty Im not so keen on the bikes as I find them hard to control with the new control system.
One big downside for me was that all the controls had been changed from the PS2 version of the game and for those of us who were seasoned GTA fans this was a big adjustment.
I've never looked back after purchasing a ps3 or this game and have now parted with the ps2 and older gta games. The only big downside is you can't play the old GTA games on the ps3 slim console so I would like to see some way of downloading them for play via the playstation store.
All in all a brill game with great stroy line and in keeping with the series. A must have for any GTA or rockstar games fan!
Grand Theft Auto 4 is the only next gen release of GTA thus far and according to the creators of the franchise will be the only one on current gaming platforms (ps3 and xbox360)
So my advice will be don't wait around, go and get a copy because it is a fantastic gaming experience.
Centred around a young Easter European arriving on the shores of Liberty City (themed on New York) and fast becoming embroiled with organised crime before aggressively rising up the ranks. Missions will provide a mixture of car chases, gun fights, robberies, assassinations and everything in between...
The driving mechanics of the game are really impressive, with a huge variety of vehicles at your disposal and each responding differently and even needing different driving styles. The character control is not quite as impressive but still functional. It has been said that the character controls and movement are in need of a complete overhaul and I think given how far the rest of the game has come on, this could have used a little more work. Many other games make better use of character control and movement for example with cover controls.
Personally I found the real highlight of the game is the setting. Liberty City is based on New York City and it looks glorious in full HD, buzzing and glowing like the real place. Simply wondering around can provide hours of entertainment as the atmosphere is fantastic.
This game is a true classic and now that it is available on Platinum and widely available for around £15 there it would be a crime of GTA proportions to let it slip by!
Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular and best selling game franchises of all time, I own all of the titles in the series and love the way that through the PS2 and PSP they have developed over time with each game adding new features and generally increasing the quality of the experience. With that in mind I felt that GTA IV was something of a disappointment although it did add a lot of excellent new features which I will go on to discuss on a personal level there were a few things missing that I had really enjoyed in the previous games.
As a stand alone game it is absolutely stunning and without a doubt one of the best games on the system; The graphics are delightful, the controls and the havoc physics engine are a joy to experience and the classic GTA humour and quality of the characters in the storyline has been retained. The reworked Liberty City has a real life like feel to it from the excellent side missions which can be started by talking to characters on the street to the show which players can go and watch with a range from cabarets and strip clubs to Ricky Gervais performing stand up. There is even a working TV in the player's home with a substantial amount of custom made programmes which in true GTA fashion are tasteless and juvenile but absolutely hilarious such as "I'm Rich", "America's next Top Hooker", "Republican Space Rangers" and my personal favourite, the advert for " the Wigwam Native American Restaurant - No need for reservations"
It is this rich and engaging game environment that makes GTA IV fully deserving of its 5 star rating.
Another solid addition to the GTA experience is that for the first time there is an officially created online multiplayer system as many people are doubtless aware the PC versions of previous titles had third party modifications made to enable online and LAN multiplayer games but in terms of the quality of a game for reviewing purposes an included multiplayer which is fully supported by the game developer is much more desirable and the GTA IV online mode I found to be very fun especially if you have a couple of friends to play with.
Although I have no qualms with giving GTA IV a 5 star rating as I mentioned at the start of the review there are several niggles with it that as a long term player of the franchise I found slightly disappointing. Firstly the turf war and the owning/running of businesses which was in San Andreas and the empire site system from Vice City Stories were some of my favourite features in those games and comparable systems are notably lacking in this latest title. Another issue which I consider only to be a downgrade from previous titles is the lack of customisation options compared to that of San Andreas which had more clothes and the excellent fat/muscle mechanics. Also compared to San Andreas Liberty City lacks slightly in variety compared to the 3 cities and dozens of smaller towns on a map which spanned an entire state. This lack of variety again is disappointing in terms of the amount of properties the player can own in Liberty City when compared to previous titles with the airfield etc, and on that note the removal of aeroplanes from the game. In conclusion GTA IV is an excellent game in its own right especially now it can be picked up so cheaply and the areas where it did advance although a little disappointing have in some respects simply whetted my appetite for future titles which I have very high hopes for. I personally view Liberty City as the starting block for the franchises expansion into new formats and the scope for improvement that the PS3 and 360 offer is very promising when compared to the huge progress made from GTA3 to San Andreas and Liberty City Stories to Vice City Stories.
In summary the last portion of this review may go straight over some peoples heads and seem contradictory but my personal feeling is that although GTA IV is an excellent game Rockstar's true victory for the franchise will have to wait until the San Andreas of the PS3
The reviews leading up to this game were astonishing, receiving a 10/10 rating in every Game magazine I read, but what I wanted to know was could it follow up its ratings in the previews? I headed out to buy it.
To open up the game you are greeted in typical GTA style with a cutscene of either a russian immigrant, an escaped convict, a random mafia man from "Liberty city" or just a normal guy. In this case they opted for the russian immigrant idea. The cutscene rolled on as I watched "Niko Bellic" jump off of a large ship coming from Eastern Europe with his cousin "Roman Bellic". On first impressons, the game was stunning in terms of graphics.
The first mission is to drive you and your cousin to a nearby safehouse from the docks, during which you will learn the basic controls and some of the more hidden things like holding "Square" while in a car to turn up the headlights. These little touches may only be small, but they add a great effect of realism to the game and make you want to explore a whole lot more. After your first mission you'll mostly be running around after your cousin who messes things up on the regular or meeting the legend that is Brucie Kibbutz, a roid-headed mechanic from the south western dock area of the first island, some of his cutscenes are down right hilarious in my opinion. While I'm on the topic of islands thats another thing I'll mention, there are 4 islands which I THINK are meant to represent 4 islands of Manhattan, which is tell tale obvious when you see the gaping "statue of liberty" oh wait this is GTA, I must mean "the Statue of Happiness". The attention to detail is great, you are regularly finding things that are either totally random or just out of the ordinary, such as the well known swing glitch on the first island but thats a different story.
There is lots to do in the game, either go out and find the pigeons, yup all 200 of them scattered around the four islands. Or you could take the slightly dodgier root of finding a mysterious stranger throughout liberty city, these people will give you tasks such as defending them while they do a drug deal or something odd like that. If you prefer a more racing attitude, wait until one of Brucies missions, after which you'll be able to take part in the underground communities street races which have a hefty cash prize towards the end of them. Whether you're into cars, boats, helicopters or just free running ontop of the cities buildings, this game really a game for everybody.
Aswell as the huge contents of single player there is also the option to go online, in which you'll be chasing/shooting/racing after gamers all over the world via your PS3. However, the games servers are often slow and I find it hard to join my friends as they all have slow internet speeds.
This is my personal review on gta iv platinum edition. I bought it recently as my brother bit the other disc I had. So now I have the platinum edition which is even better. There is not much of a difference between normal edition and pla tinum edition, just the box cover I supose, and maybe small minor differences, not any that I know at the moment. Still the game is by far the best one out so far. It has a excellent story line, and it really goes well. Its by far more fun on online mode, where you can do party mode with your friends. There are many glitches, which can be fun at times. Its easy to invite your friends to. There are many vehicles which can be ridden through out the game. The game is more like a real life game , cars, people, shops etc. It really is a fun game, and you can play hours on end without stopping. Its made by Rockstar and I think they have done excellently so far, producing a wonderful game. Great game, bit of sware words here and there, but you can turn the volume down if you want. I would recommend not to younger audience. Other rockstar games like red dead redemption is far better though. This is graphic and general stuff wise.
Having played the previous GTA games on the PS2 I was very exciting about playing GTA IV and was the first game I got for my PS3. To start with this game was everything that I had hoped for, it was just like previous GTA's with better graphics. However after playing it for a while this also became the problem for me, it was too similar to versions on previous formats. It clearly looks nicer than on PS2 but I felt it hadn't advanced with the power of the PS3. The setting for this game is Liberty City which will be familiar to those who have played previous games, it is like New York. You play a Russian called Niko as he comes to America for a better life, this leads to many missions for drug dealers and gangsters. There is a good variety to the missions such as driving and on foot action missions. There are many ways to get around the islands from Train to Taxi, which take away the chore of driving from one end of the map to the other for a mission. The Sim parts of the game such as getting a girlfriend became tiresome very quickly though. Despite this criticism it is still a very good game and the online aspects are integrated very well, for the £10-£15 this will set you back it is great value for money. I just feel it does not reach the heights set by my favourite GTA game