Grand Theft Auto IV

aka: GTA 4, GTA IV

[ All ] [ PlayStation 3 ] [ Windows ] [ Xbox 360 ]

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 94% (based on 199 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 315 ratings with 10 reviews)

Cars, Culture and Crime.

The Good
Those looking for a revolution of the Grand Theft Auto tradition, GTAIV may not be quite for you. But for those that who crave the logical extension from GTAIII (Vice City and San Andreas included), this title is bound to satisfy. More guns, more cars, more areas, more missions, more items, more jumps and more polygons all mean more fun; and for the modern gamer, these now mean more choices, (but I'll explain those shortly).

Does all this content really qualify the 'IV' of the title, (proudly stamped across advertisements like an ominous religious relic), or would a mere subtitle after GTAIII describe the game more accurately? Well, for the most part, the ‘IV is warranted. We see a new playable character, a contemporary time setting, and a set of new interactions and dealings for the player to involve himself with. The level of detail has been upped dramatically, and the city is full of a minutia of content that really does worry players like me: "What am I missing, should I stop driving here, and what can I do at this place?" These are the questions that constantly challenge my sense of direction. The distractibility of the city is phenomenal. It is a study in level-design intricacy, as well as a phenomenal example of virtual town-planning.

Furthermore, arming yourself with a truly devastating selection of assault paraphernalia has never been more satisfying in the series than in ‘IV. The current trend to portray a line-of-sight from behind the protagonists shoulder (3rd-person view) finds it’s way into IV, and a street battle with the (strangely psychotic) LCPD feels like something from a certain Michael Mann film, (or more respectfully to this author, the battle scenes of ‘Dr. Strangelove’). While the aiming system is certainly improved, it has not yet reached the standards of the other staple over-the-shoulder shooters. Arguably, this is not the focus of the game, but rather a sub-scheme of the games control. That is true, but I found myself having to reacclimatise myself to merely holding the left-trigger half-way down to ‘free-aim’. Holding it down completely engages an auto lock-on scheme which admittedly, is quite handing for those far-off targets.

The ‘Auto’ of the title certainly makes sense in ‘IV. We have a smorgasbord of four-wheeled machines, not to mention more novelty rides than you would ever care to bother to program (amazingly, Rockstar did). Gratefully, each model has its own feel and nature. Plucking a car from Liberty City’s inexhaustible vine is like a lucky dip of larceny. Chryslers, Fords, Toyotas, Nissans are all absent. Yet eerily reminiscent simulacrums populate the heavily worn roads of Liberty City. That’s right – auto companies are not represented in this game. I guess the licensing is either too complicated, or the prestigious mobile makers have an aversion to seeing their products involved in manslaughter on a mega-scale. So be it.

The Bad
The missions take a 'choose-your-own-adventure' style structure in that certain jobs are optional, impact on future events, and often ask the player to choose a particular story-branch. Sadly, some missions are painfully trivial, and can force the player into virtual dates, nights-out drinking or at a vaudevillian show (the latter being the most impressive). As to how your choices affect the end result is a mystery to this player, but the idea that the game may have to be played through multiple times is a staggering thought. The replay potential may be through the roof.

Camera control is an issue for me - the price of such a living, breathing world seems to be questionable collision detection and a spasmodic, inconsistent camera. 'Fishin' Lakitu' would be quite disappointed I'm sure. But new to this iteration is the physics engine that gives not only the inanimate objects a respectable realism, but also for the carbon-based biped population (people) of Liberty City. Tossing a grenade into a traffic jam has the convincing effect of what it may do in real life (although this writer has yet to make any bench-tests on this occurrence, I suspect Rockstar have made suitable inquiries) - metal and flesh will rain upon the pavement alike.

The Bottom Line
Nevertheless, the game has so much to offer that any of these side issues are really quite negligible. GTAIV is a breath-taking accomplishment, and at least a great, playful and dramatic video game experience. Certainly, the game poses all sorts of moral issues at the player, and it is often staggering how easy it is to slip into the lifestyle of a true sociopath scumbag. It’s funny that the immigrant (Niko) alleviates his culture shock with such barbaric and criminal impulses, but it’s even more staggering that this is vital to his assimilation.

Xbox 360 · by So Hai (261) · 2009


The Good
The stories of past Grand Theft Auto games have been predictable and not very gripping (in my opinion), not so here because the tale of Niko Belic, the immigrant seeking revenge for the deaths of his friends and family is both interesting and exciting and seeing how it plays makes the game stronger on a whole.

As far the mechanics of the gameplay are concerned, the actual shooting works well, the game gives you the option to use auto aim (the default setting) or you can play the game without it. Playing without auto aim makes the game feel like gears of war or a standard third person shooter, I prefer turning auto aim off because sometimes you'll be in the middle of a firefight and accidentally target a civilian (if you have auto aim on), leading to some frustrating deaths.

The driving mechanics take some getting use to, mostly because the new physics engine (which makes the driving a lot more realistic) can be a pain, but once you do get the driving down, you'll like it.

OK, so the mechanics work well (for the most part) but what will you being doing with those mechanics, well, you'll being going on missions, a lot of missions, the missions range from stealing a bag of drugs from an abandoned hospital to chasing two bikers through a subway system. The missions have a lot more variety then past games, although maybe still not enough on a whole.

The tunes you'll here on the radio (while driving) vary from rock to reggae (theirs definitely something in here for everyone).

The Bad
The cover system is bad, really bad, its hard to choose where you want to go into cover at and even when you do, trying to get out of cover can be a pain(considering taking cover is needed to survive, this is a big flaw). Overall the controls aren't that great, to run you have to tap the A button and getting Niko to stop moving on a dime can be tough. The controls sour the experience more then they probably should. Besides the prettier graphics and better story their isn't much innovation over previous installments in the series.

The Bottom Line
Even though there aren't many flaws the ones that are here hurt really hurt the game, their is a noticeable lack of polish to just about everything. The bad controls and cover system (turned) will turn a lot of people off to Grand Theft Auto 4. The lack of innovation is very frustrating (you still cannot go in many buildings), When you add everything up Grand Theft Auto 4 makes for a fantastic rental.

Xbox 360 · by kent c. koopa (19) · 2009

Underneath this sloppy port hides a great GTA experience

The Good
Liberty City looks and feels alive. Good story, graphics and voice-acting make for quite an experience. New covering system makes combat really fun.

The Bad
Buggy and unstable. Impossible system requirements make for performance issues even on high-end machines. Feels like a half-baked, rushed out PC port.

The Bottom Line
The Windows version of Grand Theft Auto IV arrives about eight months after the X360 and PS3 version, released in April 2008. But if you thought this long period of time was used by Rockstar to prepare and perfect the PC version – you couldn't be more wrong. GTAIV for PC is without doubt the most bugs ridden, unstable and sloppy made GTA ever released.

It starts with the game installation, which takes almost an hour. After you're done with the installation, you can reserve the next thirty minutes for installing Microsoft LIVE components and creating a LIVE account, as you must be logged on to the LIVE service in order to play the game. Setting the game graphics level so it'll run smoothly on your system will also take its share of time. Even high-edge machines, which are theoretically much stronger than the X360 and PS3, will have trouble running GTAIV smoothly.

Perhaps to protect the players or perhaps to hide their shame, Rockstar decided not to allow setting the graphics level past one's "resource usage" counter. This counter calculates the player's PC Video RAM and allows the player to set the graphics level accordingly. Funny thing is that even when I tested the game on an ATI-4870X2 I couldn't get past mediocre settings and medium performance. Even funnier is the fact that GTAIV doesn't look that good, and it's actually quite amazing how games which look far better requires far less.

Finally, after you've set your LIVE account, configured the graphics level to match your machine and got past random stabilty bugs which seem to pollute the game, you'll get your first dose of GTAIV.

The game begins with our hero Niko Bellic, arriving on a huge tanker to Liberty City, which is a New York City spoof, including the Statue of Liberty (here dubbed the Stature of Happiness), Time Square, etc. Niko came to America to join his cousin, Roman, in the pursuit of the American Dream. Needles to say the dream quickly fades away, and it's not too long before Niko finds himself stealing, shooting and killing in the name of various crime organizations.

The formula which made the previous games so popular wasn't changed and remained pretty much the same in GTAIV too, although many new features were added. The cellular phone, for example, is probably the coolest and allows the player to call friends and business associates met throughout the game and invite them to various activities such as bowling, darts and pool whenever he wants. Each of these activities will start up a fun mini-game.

You can also invite your friends to various shows and stand-up acts. Going to one of these will actually let the player watch a hilarious comical act. Another fun thing to past the time is the TV. In GTAIV you can actually sit back and watch a Poker contest, cartoons, documentaries, stand-up acts and more. And, of course, in the tradition of the series you can also date and get lucky with girls.

Combats were changed from previous games in the series. You can now lock on your enemies in melee fight and take cover behind a wall during a shoot-out. You can jump buildings while chasing thugs and climb on fences and ladders. The freedom of movement in the game is indeed impressive, and allows for great action sequences.

There is a lot to enjoy in GTAIV. Liberty City really feels alive, and is without doubt the most impressive settings ever seen in a GTA game, thanks to new and impressive graphics and physical engines. The story is interesting and the characters feel reliable, mostly because of the excellent voice acting. In some points of the game you can even change the story a bit by making different decisions. There is also a multiplayer feature that allow up to 32 players to play together online and a PC-only movie editor, which allows the player to save clips of his in-game action.

Playing GTAIV will require you nerves of steel, and not necessary because of its high difficulty level. Looking past its bugs and broken features is a task of its own. Now it's true, Rockstar are working hard on patching the game and a first patch (which actually fixes a few issues but adds a bunch of new ones) is out and available for download, but the damage was already done - Rockstar lost a lot of its creditability and PC players' faith with this release. And these, well, are impossible to patch-up.

Windows · by Scytale (41) · 2008

Another leap forward.

The Good
Grand Theft Auto is well known and publicised enough for everyone not living under a rock to know the basics of it. You run/drive around, occasionally doing menial tasks for people for money, in the hope you'll get to work for people higher up the food chain for more cash, and more interesting jobs to do. Often, if you get bored of this you can do what everyone who has played GTA has done once, and go on a rampage, kill some cops, mount the pavement and watch the bodies squirm on your windscreen, try to avoid the varying degrees of justice, before being eventually taken down. This, to some people may seem shallow, and repetitive, and to be honest, in past GTA games, it eventually got very saturated and predictable, but now, little tweaks to the gameplay has revitalised this fun past time all people partake in. But first, to the meat and veg of the game. The story.

You play as Niko Bellic, a man from an anonymous place in Eastern Europe. Niko has come to Liberty City for a few reasons, to get away from conflict in the 'old country', to see the empire his cousin, Roman had produced, and finally, to look for that special someone. Unfortunately, the so called enterprise Niko's cousin had acquired, turns out to be a small time Taxi company, and a grotty flat in the rougher side of Liberty City. You also soon find out that Roman also has problems keeping hold of money, so being the friendly fellow you are, you help him keep away loan sharks and their cronies. After these deeds, things escalate steadily, to the point where you're taking out bosses instead of small time crooks.

Things go like that for awhile adding intriguing twists, and genuinely funny and deep characters. Also, for the first time (for me at least) I actually cared about the protagonist, Niko. He always seems troubled and not so swift to jump just because someone told him to, which is more than you can say for past GTA characters, who'd blow up houses without any question, without a doubt Niko is the best main character in any GTA ever. The aforementioned sensitiveness about Niko in game too, where at a few points you get to choose whether you'll kill a person or not, usually this changes the story by not very much, and is therefore a moral decision, but sometimes choosing one over the over may get you some sort of bonus.

Its fair to say that this is probably the most serious GTA story, and even though it isn't the most original throughout, there'll be times where you are captivated and just desperate to see what happens next, once again this is my favourite story over the others.

Onto the gameplay now, and this has also had a slight makeover. Probably one of the main things that has been added, is the phone. In other GTAs you carried around a phone, but you had no control over it. People phoned you up, you answered, that was it. Now you have much more control over it, you can choose who to phone, and for what reason. For example if you want to phone Roman to go play bowling, you go into your phonebook, choose Roman, then bowling. And all this is implemented seamlessly into gameplay, no pause screen, then choosing it, its as simple as pressing up on the d-pad. Another big addition to gameplay is that you can take cover now, Gears Of War style. This is essential since you can't take half as many hits as you could in other GTAs, a few short SMG bursts and you're back to hospital. So its lucky that taking cover is simple, you can even slide or roll into cover if its a low wall or similar, if you press RB while running towards it. No longer will you have to chicken out and jerkily stand around a corner and try to lay a few shots on someone.

Sound, is definitely one of the strong points for me. There's a decent amount of stations with different music played on each, and two which are mostly the much loved talk radio stations. I read someone else's review, who said that most of the stations are rap, this, to be quite honest is a lie. There is 1 rap station and 1 hip hop station, which is borderline rap, that's it. The rest, of the top of my head are: Electro, a soul/funk kinda station, a hardcore rock station, a classic rock station, an ambient station, a station which is mainly new stuff that in my opinion only pretentious morons with crotch killing jeans listen to, and that's all I can remember, I'm fairly sure that there are more but those are the main ones I can think of.

Another great part of the sound, is the overall voice work. The acting is great, combined with the realistic nature of the faces showcasing their expressions, and the great voice work, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a scene in a blockbuster movie. But not only are the cut scenes enthusiastically voiced, so are the things you hear in the street, just random lines you hear from the everyday man or woman on the street can make you laugh out loud, for example, I was having a hand to hand fight with a civilian, when I lay down the final punch, a man that was observing said "YEAH! Right in the fucking face!" which is pretty amazing.

For the first time ever, GTA goes online, which I'm happy to say, is mostly great. Me and my friends have often wished that we could all get in a car, cause a riot with the police before making a fast getaway, with the people in the back, keeping the cops back with heavy gunfire. But if that's not you're thing, Rockstar have generously added a few unique modes for you to play. Cops and Crooks is an interesting one, one group of people start of as the crooks and the others, the cops, obviously. The lucky bunch of people starting as the cops get to begin the game in a police car, with a nice SMG. The crooks however start of on foot, with a basic pistol. The idea is to get the crook boss, to a boat with a few other crooks, and drive off. The cops have to stop this, by either killing all the crooks, or cutting to the chase and killing the boss first. It can be an exciting match if you've got the right people playing, but other times it can resort to the cops diving out the car straight away and running to the nearest rocket launcher. There are several modes such as your basic deathmatch and team deathmatch, race, and GTA race, which allows and even encourages you to get out/off your vehicle, look for weapons, and make camp and wait till someone crosses your path.

There are other things that just add even more to this brilliant game, such as the TV, which has a few programs that you can watch, which are of course, once again hilarious. There's an ingame internet, which is surprisingly in depth and detailed. You can customise your phone with new wallpapers and ringtones, which you can get off the in game internet. There are a fair few amount of side missions and other things to pass the time, such as hunting down the top 10 most wanted criminals in Liberty City. Another final great thing in this game are the achievements, for the point whores out there, there's a few to keep you busy like making you roll over in a car an amount of times, performing 10 melee counters in a short time, and beating the developers of the game on the online section of the game (or someone who beat someone who beat them). It'd take you a while to get all 1000 points.

The Bad
There are few things I didn't like about GTA, but the things that weren't too hot, didn't ruin the game one bit.

At a few points, the game will crash, this has happened only twice to me, and that was after playing for over 3 hours straight, but it can be annoying when you've just completed that bastard hard mission, and you're on your way to save. Although the phone is a great addition, your friends will phone you up to play darts at the most inopportune times, such as when I'm about to start a mission, Roman rings me up and expects me to cross 2 islands back in one game hour, to go to a strip club, maybe later Roman? The only other main con would be the glitches, they don't spoil the game, but falling through the floor into a dark abyss for no reason is likely to test a saint's patience.

The Bottom Line
GTA IV is a must have for anyone with a 360 or PS3, with a captivating story, fun online, great new gameplay additions and amazing detail, it'd be a crime to not have this in your collection.

Xbox 360 · by Fluxxed (8) · 2008

It's good and you should buy it. No question.

The Good
I've never been a fan of the GTA franchise. Ever. I got sucked up into the hype of GTA IV, however, and sort of just went along for the ride.

I picked the game up on launch day and upon tossing it into the Xbox 360, I was immediately bombarded with game invites. I wasn't even allowed to watch the opening intro or credits. I joined a group (10-14 people) of folks and started off in a Cops 'n Crooks battle.

It was a blast. In my first two hours of play, there were at least five "holy crap" moments. Here's one that I remember:

Uncle Chase driving a pick-up truck straight at me, without wavering. I took my AK47 and popped two bursts into the driver's head, without locking on. He died and the truck kept coming. As gravity would have it, trucks don't stop moving just because the driver dies. I got squished.

I've spent about 15 hours or so in-game, and it's been nothing short of "very good." I can see the possibility of boredom from the game, but am impressed by the vast amount of things to do that keep it fresh.

I'll be playing this game for a while.

The Bad
The "good" section above was written 15 hours into the game. I haven't played it since that point, due to the level of boredom that set in after the flair of multiplayer ran out. Fans of the franchise will love it, but those of us that are used to non-stop action (a la COD4) will be left wondering what's next.

The Bottom Line
Presentation: Nice. The game is laid out as good as it can be, the UI is flawless, and the cell phone menu controls are a nice touch for immersion.

Gameplay: Nicer. The cover system is really well-implemented and the combat itself works nicely. Driving is realistic and once you become a master of the handbrake turn, you're in there like swim-wear.

Graphics/Sound: Nice. The graphics are decently strong and push the hardware quite a bit. I noticed a bit of popping and vehicle glitching, but only about 30 minutes into huge free play, multiplayer games. The audio is as good as any game, ever. It's one of the things that the franchise is know for. The radio is so good that it hurts.

Value Factor: Nicest. The multiplayer is surprisingly strong and when combined with a true open-world experience, there is incredible freedom and replayability in the game.

Xbox 360 · by Brandon Tabbert (17) · 2008

One of the biggest disappointments ever

The Good
At the core of it, GTA is basically an okay game, as far as gameplay design goes. A huge city with places to see and people to be in, decorated with some of the finest graphics ever. Lots and lots to do, and an illusion of choice to gamers. Others can concentrate on the mission tree, others can release their inner psychopath and wreak havoc around Liberty City.

The game's world is entertaining, not really because of the story but because of the characters. With great writing and voice acting, especially characters like Brucie and Dwayne, feel interesting and three-dimensional. There is a lot of humor and sharp dialogue in the game, and the hilarious radio advertisements and great soundtrack add up to the experience.

The Bad
As far as the GTA series go, though, GTA IV might just be the worst, and it is weird to see how Rockstar just ignores all criticism their games have faced over the years. The shooting is still awkward, but for different reasons. The fact that almost every mission involves shooting hundreds of nameless criminals makes the shooting segments feel really dull.

The mission design isn't too great, either. It seems that every mission is either shooting a bunch of criminals or chasing a criminal through the city. And, of course, if you die or just otherwise fail the mission, you have to start all over again, which is infuriating because the game and the missions are too scripted. Sometimes the car you're supposed to chase is immune to all damage until you reach a certain point, but there's no way to know that.

The hand-to-hand combat is even worse due to the way our "hero" Niko moves - even trucks are more agile than him. Just walking on the street might cause you to take damage if you trip on something, due to the game's physics engine.

The biggest flaw of the game is that Rockstar, for some reason, tries to inject "realism" in the GTA word, which is an exercise in futility. The story is "darker" and "grittier" and the creative insanity from the earlier GTA titles is almost gone. Of course, there is a ton of funny moments, but a lot of time, the "edgy" humor feels forced. The game feels way too cynical and joyless from time to time, like you're playing the video game equivalent to Family Guy our South Park.

And then there's the "friend system" just about everyone seems to hate, and for good reason. For the last time, Roman, I don't want to go bowling with you! You're the most annoying character in the game!

The Bottom Line
Even if you're into GTA, you might have to think twice before deciding to get GTA IV. The game feels like a chore more often that it should, and while the production values of the game might be high, they mostly just succeed in hiding the fact that the gameplay is very underwhelming.

Xbox 360 · by Zokolov (49) · 2012

For every step back Rockstar takes, they make giant leaps forward.

The Good
The GTA series has always been somewhat of an experiment. The first game in the series was a flawed gem, fun and unique but had many problems, yet it had extreme ambition and the premise of being let loose in a big city was unique at the time. GTA 2 didn't go too far forward, but was still fun (Also the first game I got for my dreamcast.) but it was clear that Rockstar had intentions of going even further. They pushed the envelope with the third entry, and created an excellent trilogy that continued to tweak GTA III's groundwork. They slowly pushed the base framework, but didn't really try to change it massively, experimenting on how to improve on GTA III's formula, which was perfected in San Andreas.

Yet GTA IV is a leap ahead of its predecessors in more than just a tech generation. While some of the variety in weaponry and character alteration in San Andreas is reduced in IV, Rockstar makes up by perfecting the concept of a living breathing city. Many other recent sandbox games such as Prototype and Infamous have used an NYC setting, their game worlds felt incomplete. The city didn't feel complete or unique, let alone alive. Those games are great, but their cities still feel like a simple game map. GTA IV's liberty city, which recreates NYC so well that its downright creepy, feels like a real place. Everything feels alive and real. This gives the game a great immersion value. Rockstar has crafted the best sandbox locale ever, and it boggles the mind how they are going to improve.

The story is also incredible. Although its not quite as great as Silent Hill 2's story, it is easily the second greatest story ever told in a video game. Niko Bellic is an excellent character, you feel for him and grow attached. Despite what he gets reluctantly involved in, he's not a criminal or a villain. His story of redemption and finding a new life in the most corrupt city on the planet feels epic and it will tug on every emotion possible. This is quite possibly the only game next to Silent Hill 2 that had me in tears at the end.

The core gameplay is still here and better than ever. The cover system works great and makes the combat more intense while also eases it up a bit from previous games. The targeting system is also improved, while still a bit fidgety at times, you can now aim with true precision and weapons feel better in your hands then they did in the past. They all feel unique and have kick, they sound great too. Combat is satisfying and packs a punch.

The graphics are superb. Liberty City looks awesome, and character models are detailed and have expressive body and facial animations. The animations are further enhanced by the Euphoria engine, an engine that uses realistic ragdoll/collision modeling even when a human is still alive. This basically means that they will never clip through walls, and the models will bend, animate, and interact realistically with the world. They can be knocked over realistically, and this applies to your character too. This also makes combat more satisfying, shoot a specific limb and it will temporarily cripple them as they realistically react and wince in pain. Sometimes if your foe is near a flight of stairs, shooting them will stumble them and they will fall down the stairs and hurt themselves more before getting up. It is impressive and eerily realistic.

The soundtrack is great, the various stations mean that no matter what music you like, there will be a station that plays something to your taste. Except classical. Why the hell is there no classical station? :( But each station has great tracks that will scratch your itch. I love classic rock and jazz, so Liberty Rock Radio and JNR give me good tunes. My wife likes rap and disco, and they have stations for those too, and so many more. The tracks are all good ones as well, I have yet to hear a stinker on my two stations. The talk radios are also funny.

The cell phone system, while it has its cons, works well and is a great communication hub. You can also meet girlfriends and friends and schedule dates and stuff where you can do minigames. While the bowling minigame is atrocious, others are actually kinda fun. I like doing darts and billiards, and there's a rather funny minigame where you go get drunk with a friend or girlfriend and stumble around. The animations are hilarious, the drunken stumbling is enhanced by euphoria and funny and of course it obscures your ability to drive, which leads to a funny yet challenging cop chase. The characters that count as friends all have different perks for hanging out with them and making them happy, and you will want to hang out with some of them because they are genuinely likable characters. I love playing pool with Little Jacob. Little Jacob is awesome and one of my favourite characters.

The missions are standard fare, but usually of a high quality. There are several standout missions, and several where your choices affect the game and ultimately affect the outcome. These decisions truly carry weight and force you to think. One mission you are hired by a corrupt cop to assassinate his drug addicted brother, but his drug addicted brother wants you to assassinate the corrupt cop. Both characters played a big part and became real, who do you kill? You really think over their roles in your life. There are several moments like this where you are given a choice of life or death for certain characters, and both life and death have different and unique outcomes. The best mission in the entire game though is without a doubt, Four Leaf Clover. Have you ever seen "Heat?" Remember how cool the robbery was? Well, Four Leaf Clover is just about as awesome, but you are in control.

Multiplayer! Yay! The multiplayer is great. Its been a long time coming, but we finally have it. There are several very fun modes, my favourite being GTA race where you race around the city but are given the use of picking up weapons off the road and doing drive by's. Bomb Da Base is very fun, and the games excellent combat system makes deathmatch fun and there is also freemode which allows you and your buds to run around doing whatever you want in Liberty City without restraints or goals which can be fun. Me and my wife love to knife fight on the top of high buildings and see who falls off.

The voice acting is awesome, every character has a unique and distinct voice and they all give great performances. Rockstar has done an outstanding job with the voices, and the acting only enhances the great story. Witty banter is here too, and is funny.

Speaking of funny... RICKY GERVAIS! YAY! Yes, you can go see a Ricky Gervais performance :3 If you don't like him you won't like his part in GTA IV, but I freakin' love Ricky Gervais and his show here is hilarious.

The Bad
As good as the graphics are, they have flaws. Namely in the framerate, which takes a dive at random moments, usually during large explosions or if there is a lot of action happening in the water. The game will be very choppy until the action simmers down, and it can be annoying because sometimes this means you don't get to see all of the action. The draw distance, while high, is still annoying and pop up does happen, especially in high speed cars.

Although the car controls have been improved from previous GTA games, they still are annoying as hell. Cars drive clunkily, and its damn near impossible to turn corners, let alone hang a corner. Car control is sluggish and it feels like you are trying to push around a big cart full of rocks. Even worse are the helicopter controls. Air-to-air battles and strafing runs are fun... if you can control the friggen' helicopter. These are THE worst helicopter controls ever. You constantly have to fidget with the height and joystick, it gets confusing because if you don't constantly take your finger on and off the altitude button then you will either go too high or you will sing, and to move the helicopter you have to tilt it a certain direction but they are too sensitive and you will head down and spin out even just barely trying to turn and aiming in a helicopter is nigh impossible.

The cellphone system, while unique, CAN be annoying. Sometimes constant callers will get on your nerves, and even though the girlfriend/friends system can be fun and interesting at times, its annoying when a friend calls you in the middle of a mission and then gets pissed when you decline going out. Also, the bowling minigame is atrocious. I don't know how Rockstar managed to do this since Bowling is pretty straight forward and easy to recreate for just about any form of control, but bowling in GTA IV is about as easy and intuitive as solving the worlds largest Rubiks cube with one hand tied behind your back, one eye closed and the other one with dirt in it, and a 1 minute time limit. Friends often seem to like to go to strip clubs too, which isn't terribly exciting since I'm not turned on by video game girls.

The multiplayer, while incredibly fun, is full of loud mouthed idiots and punks that can ruin your fun. It also sometimes gets laggy and finding games can take a ridiculously long time.

There's no Pink Floyd on the classic rock station, which blows chunks since Pink Floyd is the best band ever. Comon' Rockstar, at least give us "Time" or "Money." Hell, I'll even take "Learning to Fly." Pweease Rockstar? I'll gladly pay more money for at least one Floyd track. Speaking of music, what happened to the MP3/Custom Track player? My 360 has a 120 gb harddrive and plenty of music, and GTA3/VC/SA all had the ability to play tracks from your harddrive, so why not in GTA IV?

While the weapons all have a kick and are fun to shoot, they have been cut down considerably. You won't dual wield anything, you can't use impromptu weapons like machetes, pool cues, golf clubs, etc. even if you see them lying around. I miss the Chainsaw too. Surely there's SOME place in Liberty where you can find a chainsaw?

The helicopter is the only vehicle you can fly. You can't hop into jets or planes anymore, which sucks because I would love to fly around liberty city. Flying is fun, I don't think anyone will disagree. I loved flying around in San Andreas, and there IS an airport with plenty of small jets that are impossible to use, and there is no excuse for that.

The gang AI is somewhat sloppy, and is only marginally improved from before.

Replay value isn't as high as Saints Row 2, but that is a different review.

Not enough Lazlo :(

The Bottom Line
Overall, GTA IV is a masterpiece. While it may take some steps back from San Andreas, it makes up by taking giant leaps forward. Couple the great gameplay with the second best story ever told in a video game, and you have an incredible package. Liberty City is technically arresting and will suck you in, and combat is fun and fast paced. One can only wonder how Rockstar will improve the new generation of GTA, but there is no questioning that they will.

Xbox 360 · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2009

The best game so far

The Good
Grand Theft Auto IV is of much better quality when compared to its predecessors. It has better graphics, better sound, and better character designs. When you kill somebody, they turn into a ragdoll rather than there being a prerendered animation. In other words, running over someone in this game looks a lot like running over someone in real life. Another thing that I liked was that the car damage is more realistic. For example, if you ran into another car from behind in a previous Grand Theft Auto game, the whole back end would be effected. However, in GTA IV, only the specific spot that you hit would be effected. If you run over a person in GTA IV, their blood will be on your car (another feature not found in other games). Another good aspect that I noticed was the greatly improved character animation. For example, in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, there was only one facial animation. If a character was angry, their facial expression would stay the same. GTA IV actually gives the characters the ability to change their expression, as well as spread their fingers apart.

The Bad
My only complaint about this game is that no characters from previous games returned (with the exception of Lazlow, but he's on the radio so he doesn't really count). Although it's true that many of them died, there were a few that didn't such as Phil Cassidy, Wu Zi Mu, or Claude Speed.

The Bottom Line
Overall, I would say that the game is nearly flawless. Longtime fans like me, as well as newcomers would enjoy it. Since it's a whole new story, newcomers could play it without getting confused.

Xbox 360 · by J.D. Majors (14) · 2009

A game of movie like proportions.

The Good
Were to begin?! In terms of story, GTA IV has got to have the best ever in a game, truly able to match anything Hollywood could churn out. What makes it even better is that it probably has one of THE best ensemble cast's of any game. Ever. And while the graphic's are not the complete bee's knee's, it certainly performs it jobs admirably.

And if the story can't keep you completely entertained, the radio station's do a brilliant job of helping out.Iggy Pop on Liberty Rock Radio alone is a hoot that will give you more than a few smiles. The other delight of the radio is the ever funny Weazel News segments. Real life parody at it's best!

The Bad
BIKES! ARRRRGGH!!! Who ever designed the handling of them deserves a punch, it is just so awful. All they do is remind you why bikes DON'T belong in games like this. Helicopters are slightly better, but I still dislike them.

The only other complaint that I would have us that adjusting the camera view while walking is a irritant. especially in combat.

The Bottom Line
In spite of a few niggling problems, this is just about one of the best game's out there that you can buy.

Xbox 360 · by Starbuck the Third (22654) · 2009

Everything wrong with video games can be found in GTA IV

The Good
It comes in a box, so when you are thoroughly finished with it, you can pack it all back up and throw it in the trash! Convenient!

It all honesty the production values of Rockstar have always been very high. My gripe is that you can polish a turd to a smoky brown gleam, but it's still first and foremost a turd. I like a little more focus on artistic interpretation, rather than always pushing the envelope as to representing the real world on your TV screen verbatim. I mean, if I want crystal clear graphics I can walk around outside. Do I really want to experience a grim urban setting with the utmost clarity though? No thank you. I get enough bland and boring scenes without turning on an SBoss.

The Bad
Where to begin?

Essentially, the magic of video games from the mid-90s has given way to the silliness of GTA and its peers. Instead of artful design, we have pedestrian gunmanship. Instead of the wonder and intrigue of the SNES, we have grotesque urban landscapes, peopled by drug lords, pimps, and loudmouths.

There is nothing inherently wrong with all this, but quite frankly, I play video games as an alternative to the real world, not as an extension of it.

The Bottom Line
Just a waste of time and money. The dour sensibilities of grim Scotsmen have made their mark on video gaming, and it comes under the banner of Grand Theft Auto. What a terrible way for the once-glorious institution of gaming to go. Now practically every marquee title is either a GTA or a Call of Duty clone. Close as I can figure, originality in game design pretty well ended in 2001, with the release of Halo and the demise of EverQuest. Now, it's just a sad little exercise for 18 year old boys and their kin to pop off their allowance for this crud. For shame!

Still, who doesn't hate young men? Even they hate themselves. So it makes total sense that I'd hate the games they amuse themselves with.

Xbox 360 · by Chris Wright (85) · 2010

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Wizo, Big John WV, chirinea, Tim Janssen, Flu, Jacob Gens, Picard, vicrabb, COBRA-COBRETTI, Stephan Wolschon, Joakim Kihlman, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Vishal Goswami, Alsy, vedder, beetle120, Jeanne, Solid Flamingo, Alaka, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), jaXen, Patrick Bregger, Georg Schweiger, Cantillon, Cavalary, Yearman, coenak, Rent Hero, CalaisianMindthief, VVP, Mark Langdahl, Caelestis, Klaster_1, firefang9212, Joel Segerbäck, John Cheney, Jess T, Bjorn Holine, Paolo Richetti.