Grand Theft Auto IV Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Grand Theft Auto IV box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Rockstar North 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Rockstar Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 29, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (16 Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Historically, GTA has always been thought of as a single-player experience. While the single-player experience is quite important, and really well done, the multiplayer aspect of GTA IV is downright shocking. You will be able to play with up to sixteen people online in a plethora of different online modes. There are around twenty different modes to choose from, and there is definitely something for every kind of player. You will get to compete in traditional car races, deathmatches, fight over turf, complete random tasks, protect a specific character, plant bombs, steal cars, and much more.

Grand Theft Auto IV screenshot

There are honestly too many options to list, but all work rather well and add a significant amount of replayability not typically found in a GTA game. My only real concern with all of these modes is that it seemed incredibly difficult to get a full (16 players) game in any of the modes. At least this is the case for all except the free for all mode. This mode basically just puts 16 players into the city with no objectives other than to have fun. If you want to jack a car and run over pedestrians, go right ahead. Want to find a rocket launcher and shoot at cars, no one will stop you. The real fun of this mode is just the freedom it gives you to do whatever you want with 15 other people doing the same.

Visually, this game is stunning. With all of the details in both the characters and the environments in the game, this is easily one of the most beautiful games that is currently available. Gorgeous cars show realistic damage from collisions, dramatic lighting effects will cast warm light and shadows on the world, and realistic facial expressions make every person in the game feel like a real human being with feelings. You can even have Niko sit on the couch and watch some of Liberty City's fine television programming. All of the specially produced shows were done in-engine and look excellent. There is very little pop-up, although you will occasionally notice some, but it is only at a great distance and has absolutely no affect on the gameplay.

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While your eyes are being delighted by the game's amazing visuals, your ears will be in ecstasy as well. There are tons of great sound effects in the game that further aid the realism of Liberty City. Whether it is overhearing random passerby's conversations or distant sirens, the orchestra of sounds that would normally permeate cities are always present. However, if that sort of noise pollution bothers you, just crank up the radio to drown it out. Since GTA IV isn't era specific, like the last two GTA games, there is a wide variety of music from multiple eras in almost every genre. With over 200 songs, there is a ton of great music in this game that should suit just about anyone's tastes. While listening to the radio, you will also be treated to the same humor that we have come to expect from the various ads and radio personalities from the previous GTA titles.

Grand Theft Auto IV screenshot

Simply put, GTA IV improves upon the GTA formula in just about every way imaginable. Almost anything that I can think of that frustrated me about the previous titles in the series has been fixed or completely reworked, leaving only an amazing experience in its stead. With one of the most compelling stories ever told by a video game, an extremely likeable main character, an insane amount of online modes, and virtually no flaws to be detected, GTA IV is even more than it was expected to be by fans. This is honestly a must own title for anyone who is of age and owns a PS3 or Xbox 360. The original kings of sandbox gameplay have clearly made this a game that will not likely be dethroned easily, if at all. But as with GTA 3, it is likely to spawn several sub-par imitations from other companies that try to recapture the same magic for years to come.

By Adam Brown
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.9
Graphics
This game is stunningly beautiful, only a very slight amount of distant pop-in detracts from otherwise amazing visuals.
4.8
Control
The controls work better than they ever have before, but there is a slight learning curve associated with many of the adjustments.
4.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Amazing sound effects coupled with great music and voice acting make this game a gift for the ears as well as the eyes.
5.0
Play Value
With one of the best single player experiences in recent memory, a ton of optional "side-missions" and secrets to uncover, and a bevy of great online modes; this game will keep you interested and playing for quite some time.
4.9
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The Plot - Grand Theft Auto IV is a brand new adventure in the GTA universe following the experiences of Nikolai "Niko" Bellic, a new immigrant from an undisclosed eastern European country whose troubled past and the persuasion of his cousin Roman have brought him to the fictional Liberty City. Unfortunately, Niko's search for the American Dream and a much needed fresh start, hits an immediate snag when the rags to riches story Roman spun to pique Niko's interest is exposed as not only a complete fabrication, but a ploy to enlist Niko's well-known skills as a tough guy against the ample list of enemies clamoring for Roman's debt-ridden blood. Because Roman is the only person Niko knows in Liberty City he begrudgingly accepts his role as Roman's protector despite the deception. But as time goes on Niko comes into his own, and his experience on the wrong side of the tracks proves more valuable than he could have ever imagined as he fights for survival and later supremacy on the crime ridden streets of Liberty City.
  • Game Environments - Based on several of the boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey, Liberty City, familiar to players of previous games in the series, has been entirely redesigned for GTA IV. Players can expect visible detail down to the weeds growing in the cracks in the sidewalk, cars and buildings of visibly different ages and a much greater level if verticality in the buildings and bridges that they are able to explore as Niko moves through the city streets. In addition, pedestrians in GTA IV are much more realistic. No longer simply moving cardboard cutouts, these NPCs are intelligent, modern, human representations that laugh, cry, eat, drink, use cell phones and As, and talking amongst themselves regardless of Niko's interaction with them.
  • Gameplay - Historically GTA games have focused heavily on mission-based play, requiring successful completion of fixed tasks in order for players to progress through the game, but this has changed to a great extent in GTA IV. Players will experience an entirely new and exciting emphasis centered on the blending of on-mission and off-mission play, resulting not only in an increased sense of realism, but more interesting and unrestricted gameplay.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
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