Grand Theft Auto IV Review
- Posted May 7th, 2008 at 16:19 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 71 Comments
- PSU Review Score
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One of the greatest video game stories ever told. It may have its flaws, but it is the most ambitious game made to date and, without a doubt, the best game so far this generation.
- The movie-caliber storyline
- The stylistically unprecedented recreation of New York City
- The vast online experience
- The slight framerate dips and pop-in
- The lack of a checkpoint system
Grand, theft, and auto. These three words, when separate, hold little weight. When conjoined, however, they represent pushing boundaries, confronting the man and provoking society at large. I’m talking of course about the most innovative and controversial franchise to date, Grand Theft Auto. With over 70 million units sold worldwide, the series is one of the most successful in the history of video games. It continues thriving to this day, with its latest entry, Grand Theft Auto IV, arriving with remarkably hefty expectations from millions of prospective owners. Is it even possible for a game to live up to such insane hype? To that, I respond with a resounding yes.
As you surely already know, Niko Bellic has one troubled soul. A veteran of the Bosnian civil war, this immigrant is lured to America by his cousin Roman, who spewed incessant lies about his supposedly extraordinary and glamorous life in the United States. After arriving, Niko (rather despondently) takes refuge in a modern day Liberty City and begins his own search for the American dream.
This search just happens to involve an abundance of car-jacking, gun-toting and cash-grossing. In fact, these three occurrences tend to transpire every few minutes. Niko just happens to be a determined guy who isn’t concerned if he lives or dies; if it pays, he’s the man for the job. What I love about Niko isn’t his awesome accent or unwavering daring, though; his flaws define him. His emotions manifest themselves throughout the plot in a subtle yet dramatic performance. He expresses his sorrow, he makes jokes, he becomes irritated – simply put, he’s not a cardboard cutout, he’s a human being. Not that the other characters are any less brilliant, but you develop an inexplicable attachment to Niko during the course of the game that you’ll discover yourself deeply concerned with his fate. This is an achievement in every sense of the word.
There is one more living, breathing being that must be mentioned, and it’s not human. Liberty City is an unprecedented, near-perfect recreation -- in a stylistic sense -- of New York City. The streets are covered in grime, the populace is plentiful and no two buildings appear alike. The city, not as massive as San Andreas or as modest as Vice City, contains more detail and care than both areas united. Familiar landmarks abound, from the Statue of Happiness (holding a coffee cup in lieu of a torch) to a rendition of Times Square as extraordinary as the actual place itself. The grand set pieces are accompanied by an ample amount of highly detailed interior areas that are easily accessible and free of loading, whether entering or departing. Integrate indoor and outdoor areas into a single seamless world by dashing the Cabaret Club to catch a show or heading back to your apartment to watch the latest episode of ‘Republican Space Rangers,’ a shining satire of both Halo and current politics.
It’s uncanny how lively the city can be. As you stroll down the sidewalks of Liberty City, you’ll encounter groups of friends having coherent conversations, citizens walking to work in the morning chatting vociferously on their cell phones, denizens hanging out in alleyways and the like. Run into a person and knock them over and they could have a myriad of different reactions. Is this person an inherently irate individual and searching for an opportunity to start a fight? Or is this a person intrinsically frightened by strangers and seeking to avoid conflict at all cost? Perhaps they’re in the middle of the road and will simply proceed to curse at you angrily in their native language (apparently Niko is “una puta” and several Chinese phrases I couldn’t even begin to comprehend). The inhabitants of Liberty City aren’t on, say, Shenmue level, but then again, that’s an entirely unjustified comparison of dozens to millions. They’re not always perfect, but the general public is as vibrant as diverse as Liberty City itself. It’s apparent that the folks over at Rockstar put an insane amount of effort into every asset of Liberty City. It shows.
Outside of the physical world comes the nearly as meaningful universe of media. Rockstar has always nailed the city radio stations and it’s no different in this iteration. The assorted stations ... (continued on next page)
- 11:24am EDT - May 7th, 2008
Game of the century!
- 11:33am EDT - May 7th, 2008
What?! You guys didn't give it a 10?! Wow, I think that you guys are the first to give this game anything but a perfect score!
- 11:35am EDT - May 7th, 2008
Wow what an awful review, this is easily a 10.
- 11:37am EDT - May 7th, 2008
PSU I find it ironic that for once IGN gave a higher score than you guys the US and UK teams gave it a 10, while the AU team gave it a 9.8. Also the PS3 version runs a bit smoother says R*
- 11:40am EDT - May 7th, 2008
i think 9.5 is too high, do you guys just like to run around blowing things up. compare the content to san andreas. after you're done with the storyline what else is there left to do? when you have $100000000 what can you spend it on? NOTHING, except two clothing stores and some fake dates. No property to buy
No cars to buy
No car modifications to buy
Small collection of clothes
Small collection of guns
That being said, it was a fun game and I enjoyed playing it, but it didnt' live up to the hype content wise. The gameplay was excellent though, and so were the physics
- 11:41am EDT - May 7th, 2008
- - Slight framerate dips, pop-in
- - Shooting mechanics could benefit from minor tweaking
- - Lack of a checkpoint system
I'm sorry, but who ever wrote this is an off person. When did gta ever had a checkpoint in any of the gta games. All I remember is safehouse. the shooting is great, and who ever looks at a frame that hard. I think that the view of the city at night from one of those tall building is nice( i know I sound a little sofe right now) But its one of the best game ever. 1.gta4 2.shenmue 3. FF7
- 11:50am EDT - May 7th, 2008
I didnt find anything wrong with the shooting mechanics and checkpoint system? after you sucessfully complete a mission it autosaves and if you fail you can easily restart it.
- 12:04pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
in multiplayer, y does your moneynot save when you exit? i have to start all over again every time. its really annoying
- 12:10pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
How can it get a perfect score with its bugs? Maybe the 360 version can get a 10, but not the PS3 one. The "cons" section is dead on. You don't give a 10 to games that suffer from that, period. Not only that, I just ASSUMED that you could buy property, I didn't know you couldn't! This is just hype. How do you give a 10 to a game that took a content step BACKWARDS. 9.5 is fine (if not high). I KNEW IGN was just a bunch of blind fanboys. Those are serious issues, man! I also noticed that they wait longer to post a review than other sites. You know what that means don't you? Other sites are giving you reviews with little time playing the game. I remember IGN's 5.5 for MLB the Show 07 (total BS). Early review...the guy didn't even play it. Good on you PSU, kudos.
I have MORE respect for this site now that it was bold enough to point out these things. I didn't know what to think about their reviews until now. Go PSU!
- 12:13pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
Added my 10 to someones messed up 9.5 rating
- 12:28pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
The game is not as good as i hoped it would be... :(
- 12:31pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
LOL, it should have been a ten! Go by fun man, not popins and framerate issues that are scarce compared to the 360 vers.
- 12:35pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
COD4 doesn't have pop-ins or framerate issues(or even if it does, I can't tell). Still it didn't even recieve a 10.
- 12:36pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
it shud hav been 10/10
- 12:42pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
Way over rated!!! IMO
- 12:49pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
8.0 it should've been Many features on San Andreas left out No abilty to buy properties WTF! Could've been on ps3 but no Microsoft ruin it with the crashbox pleasecutme H3ll planes could have been possible greedy B@stards Microsoft: your frustration our fault Microsoft: your potential our passion Im now waiting for the review of Iron Man which got 3.8 by a bunch of idiots @ ign
- 1:08pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
good review and it also too dark.
- 2:12pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
i wish everyone would quit complaining about not being able to buy property. If you could do that, the story wouldn't make any sense, seeing as how you tend to move a lot >_>
- 3:04pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
way over rated!!! it should have been 8.5 and oh by the way add my -10 to the 9.5....
- 3:09pm EDT - May 7th, 2008
I love this game and think the 9.5 is right on. I've been playing GTA sinc it first came on on the PC and this game pushes the bar higher. The one thing I disagree with is the check point system. It saves auto after any mission or event. What more do you want? You want it to save it right as you go to pull the trigger? That is someone who is just to picky. When it comes to GTA their are 3 types of people. Those who are true fans, those who are posers and buy it for the hype, and those who will never like it.
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