Grand Theft Auto IV Review
- Posted May 7th, 2008 at 16:19 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 71 Comments
- PSU Review Score
- Avg. user review score:
You must be logged in to rate a game
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)
- 12:24pm EDT - June 16th, 2008
theres nothing to it after you beat the game. the online can get boring after a few weeks or days.
- 10:46pm EDT - June 17th, 2008
I have to agree with the nay-sayers on this one. The game is amazing, but it lacks the real "meat" of what a GTA next gen game can be. There was alot more to do in the last game, San Andreas, and compared to that this has little to do. This game feels more like it should be a Driver label. Either way, the game is fantastic, but it could use more...
- 8:49am EDT - June 19th, 2008
phantasm thats because it doesnt deserve a 10.....the story mode gets very old after a while
- 9:31pm EDT - June 23rd, 2008
Single player=amazing.....Multiplayer=extremely horrible
- 5:31am EDT - June 28th, 2008
a very good game addictive!!!
- 3:51pm EDT - June 30th, 2008
This game is just great.
- 7:36am EDT - July 8th, 2008
OMG 10 is not evan high for GTA IV if there was a 20 i would pick it this game has everything a gamer wants driveing crapy cars runing over people with crapy cars and everything is so great this should be the game of the century the city is so big and the cops are kinda crapy but after u done the whole storyline there is no homes to buy cars to buy no car modifications to buy there are small colletion of guns and clothing to buy i am done with the game and i just make cops after me and explode things
- 11:13pm EDT - August 1st, 2008
it´s a good game but it isn´t a masterpiece. more than a 8.5 is to much for this game... the graphics aren´t "next gen", side missions suck, way to many bugs, the driving is sometimes terrible and there should be some kind of checkpoints in the bigger missions. on the other hand the story is very good, which makes you to want to keep playing for the longest time possible.
- 1:50am EST - February 6th, 2009
Good game, but could still be improved very much. 8/10
- 2:03pm EST - February 28th, 2009
This game so didn't deserve a 10... The game is glitchy, even after all the updates you download, and other patches, it still has those moments where you are driving so fast you fall through the ground. The cheats are pretty lame. Online play is pretty meh... The story is a plus, and the online play is a plus, but no Co-op, or Co-op online sucks. Pass the paddle for GTA4, looks like we are going to have to wait for the next one, maybe on GTA5 they can do it right... I mean really, they did GTA4 on DVD and Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray has 50 GIGS to use, and really the graphics aren't that amazing, so what the heck are they wasting all the disk space for? We know it isn't story, its not that long, deffinantly can beat it in a week, maybe 3 days if you play alot. Graphics are good, but not what the could be. It is pretty repetitive. Overall though, it is GTA, its name sells its rating, good thing its become the cheap game that everyone wants. Pick it up, play it, and have fun with it, you'll get burned out fast if you don't play the story.
- 2:47pm EDT - October 11th, 2009