Grand Theft Auto IV Review
- Posted May 7th, 2008 at 16:19 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 71 Comments
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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
(continued from previous page) ...The world doesn’t have a set of pre-determined objects that Niko can hide behind; literally everything within the world can be used as cover. This can cause minor issues as the game occasionally misinterprets where you intend to take cover, but for the most part, the versatile system in which you can blindfire, target and free aim adds immeasurable depth to firefights. One personal tip that you may not discover whilst playing through the game – cars are brilliant cover, as they’re transportable. If you’re in any large, open area where you could benefit from a cover point, just snag a car (preferably a large one like an SUV or a Patriot).
This brings us to yet another area where GTA IV dominates its predecessors – driving. Initially, the handling of vehicles in general felt loose and atrocious, but after playing the game for a few hours, I came to accept that it just wasn’t possible to whip an SUV around a corner at 150 miles an hour. It’s simple physics after all. A measurement of current velocity and acceleration concludes that it’s not possible to turn a specific car at such an angle and speed, thus the car crashes into a wall and Niko gets flung through the windshield and painfully tumbles across the cement until he comes to an eventual stop.
It’s moments like these that really reflect the glories of NaturalMotion’s ‘euphoria’ engine. Dubbed “euphoria: unique game moments,” this Dynamic Motion Synthesis system runs parallel to the game's animation engine and is called by the game's AI whenever synthesized motion is required instead of canned animation. In addition to handling the highly-complex physics throughout the world, it really comes through on delivering inimitable moments. Every time Niko bails out of a moving car or crashes into a pedestrian, you’re seeing a different outcome based on both the physics of the situation and the natural survival instinct within every human being.
One thing still remains the same when you hit a pedestrian – the cops still don’t take to kindly to it. The six star wanted system of Grand Theft Autos of yore is still in full effect, though it touts one very noticeable tweak. After committing a crime and obtaining a star, a small circle -- viewable on the mini-map -- is created in your general vicinity. To lose your wanted rating, you must escape the confines of the circular area without being spotted by the cops. If you are spotted, the circle will re-center around the location where you were seen. With each additional star comes a larger circle radius. So, for example, while a one or two star rating is fairly simple to expunge, a three or four star wanted level is far harder to drop. I commend anyone who can acquire a six star rating, let alone survive it for any period of time.
The LCPD isn’t the only opposing organization you’ll face in Liberty City. Missions will have you confronting against all sorts of groups from gangsters to “union workers” (a cover-up for the mafia). At its core, Grand Theft Auto IV hasn’t strayed from the basic formula that gamers know and love. Different people offer you assignments, which you can accept at your own pace. You then complete the missions and the plot progresses. As diverse as the missions are, I expected that with over 90 primary story episodes, they might become a bit of a slog at some point in time. I was wrong. The missions, despite lacking checkpoints, never become repetitive. Part of the draw is the deep narrative and the ability to affect it (you’re faced with moral dilemmas -- to kill to not to kill -- at several junctions throughout the game). Also, you’ll want to hear every bit of tremendous dialogue the game offers. Still though, GTA IV simply has the fun factor locked down. Particular missions never feel like an afterthought, they’re always wholly enticing, ranging from excellent to epic.
Part of the engrossing nature of the various missions lies in the game’s astounding audiovisual presentation. Open world games usually make some sacrifices visually to achieve an acceptable quality throughout the rest of the game. GTA IV sacrifices next to nothing. The game looks stunning for its genre. The sweeping ... (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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