Few game franchises are as recognized and as successful as the Grand Theft Auto series. Ever since Grand Theft Auto 3 was released for the PlayStation 2, Rockstar has changed the face of gaming. Grand Theft Auto is a game that is synonymous with both controversy and fun. Rockstar proved itself to be capable of releasing hit after hit, which was shown after they released Vice City and San Andreas games that took Grand Theft Auto 3 and added so much more content. After selling more than 20 million copies of the Grand Theft Auto games, when GTA IV was announced for release in 2008, there was much excitement. Even now, years after it has been released, Grand Theft Auto IV is one of the best games for the PlayStation 3.
Graphics, Sound and Setting:
Grand Theft Auto IV returns to Liberty City, the place where GTA3 took place. Liberty City is based on New York City, and as soon as you start playing the game, it’s evident that Rockstar really made the effort to make the city as realistic as possible. There are many places in the game that look almost exactly like New York City, and the game has a great authentic environment. Even a few years after the game was released, it’s still one of the best games for immersing you in a truly interactive setting. The sound quality in GTA IV is alright, there are a variety of sounds you can hear. The gun sounds are realistic, and the voice acting is solid. I would’ve enjoyed more music, because unless you put on a radio station there isn’t very much music in GTA IV.
The game’s story is centered around Nike Bellic, a former soldier from Eastern Europe, who comes to the United States to achieve the “American dream”. Niko’s cousin Roman has come to the United States earlier, and he tells Niko stories of wealth, woman, and success. This inspires Niko to come, but when he arrives he finds out things aren’t quite as they seem
The story in GTA IV is much deeper than it was in the previous games. You can genuinely feel the emotion of Niko when he goes through hard times. The characters are much more three dimensional and realistic. The cut scenes perfectly mix humor and story together. There are also plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you entertained and guessing. The story is definitely GTA IV’s strongest attribute. However, the story also can feel different from the other games at times. Where the other games used lots of humor, GTA IV is more serious in comparison. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any funny moments in this game. In fact, like other Grand Theft Auto games, there are a ton of moments that will have you cracking up. GTA has a great collection of interesting and unique characters.
Controls and Gameplay:
The controls in GTA IV are, for the most part, the same as the ones in the previous games. You can press triangle and steal a car, you have the ability to jump over ledges and climb things. You can punch and take out weapons and aim and fire them. However, GTA IV introduces some new elements into the mix.
The biggest change is the cover system. In GTA IV you have the ability to take cover behind objects. This is both useful and annoying. The cover system can make firefights feel more realistic and adds strategy to what would otherwise just be shoot, run, shoot. But the problem is taking cover in places where you don’t want to. Many times in the game, I ended up taking cover right next to the enemies. I feel that the cover system is a great addition, but Rockstar could have done so much more with it.
The game uses the same mission system as the previous games. Basically, within the city there are people that assign missions that you can complete. These missions give you access to something new, such as a new safehouse. However, they mainly serve to progress the story. GTA IV is a wide open game, where you can choose to spend your time doing missions or you can just go out and cause chaos. You can literally do anything you want in this game, it’s extremely fun to just steal a car and go cruising down the streets at times. The gameplay can get bland at times, the missions start to become repetitive sometimes. I understand Rockstar needed some filler missions to fill in gaps in the story, but killing person A, or escorting item x from point a to point b can become repetitive. Overall, though the gameplay is impressive and holds the standard quality of the other Grand Theft Auto games well.
Rent or Buy? Final Thoughts:
Grand Theft Auto IV is still an amazing game even years after it was released. The dynamic environment, gripping story, and exciting gameplay all make this a game that’s well worth the $20 it costs nowadays. Overall, I’d highly recommend buying this game, and I give it a 8/10.