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)
- 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
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