Does a game like Grand Theft Auto IV really need any introduction? You would literally need to be living in a cave with no contact with the outside world whatsoever to not know that Grand Theft Auto IV was being released to stores. With a game that has gotten such press over the years, both positive and negative, there is no wonder so much attention is being given to Rockstar’s first attempt at bringing the key franchise to the next generation of console. Without further ado, here is our review of Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360.
More than anything, Grand Theft Auto IV was going to sell big, whether my review, or anyone else in the industry said otherwise. However with that being said, giving this recap of my thoughts on the game also allows those who may be on the fence about the game to have somewhere to turn to see if the game would be a worthwhile investment.
Grand Theft Auto IV is one of the few "AAA" titles that has come out in the past five or ten years that actually makes good on all of the hype and publicity that the game has received. You play as Niko one of the most likable and complex characters ever brought into a video game. This is all brought to life by what I think is one of the best voice acted games around to date. Niko is the kind of character that its hard not to like, especially given some of his witty humor and rather complex background. Niko is fresh off the boat, after hearing his cousins stories of the great America, needless to say his cousin extended the truth just a bit.
So you get through the opening cinematic, which are fantastically rendered, and the world of Grand Theft Auto IV opens up. To say this game is massive is an understatement, as traveling throughout the city can really take quite a while. What is so impressive about the game is the amount of detail that is placed in throughout the environment. One of the concerns with the Xbox 360 version of the game was the disc capacity which developers have started to hint at being a bit tight for these full fledged games, but it looks to me like the developers did a fantastic job of fitting everything into the package. The amount of detail in throughout Liberty City far surpasses any previous game by an extreme margin.
One of the strongest new features in GTA IV is the new cover and targeting system, always the achilles heal for past GTA games. The targeting, although still not 100% perfected in this game, still gives off such a better feel then previous games. What compliments the targeting system is the cover system, which brings in a small Gears of War flair to the game. The cover system however isn’t as forced, it works extremely well, but you can still for the most part run and gun if covering isn’t what you want to do.
The single player portion of the game will last around 30 hours of completion, but if you’re like me you will take a lot longer than that, with all the distractions of Liberty City and such. The single player portion alone would have sold me on the experience and given this game at least a 9/10 if not a perfect score. But Rockstar decided to "one up" themselves by including 16 player online multiplayer into the experience.
The online play consists of a ton of different modes including deathmatch, cops and robbers and all sorts of great variety to choose from. It would take me another few paragraphs to go through it all, but instead I will summarize. The online play allows you to live the whole world of Liberty City open for your enjoyment, and that means you can have some pretty spread out and intense games. After playing online, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have imagined a better integration of multiplayer into a GTA game then what was released here. Having all of Liberty City at your fingertips is quite the experience.
Visually Grand Theft Auto IV is a stunning game to look at, especially when you take into account how it compares to other sandbox style games on the Xbox 360. GTA IV puts those games to shame. However at the same token there was still some graphical issues to be had in the experience, including some weird glitches and pop-in artifacts that occur a bit throughout the game. On the positive side however, the game has a gorgeous artistic flair, and manages to keep a solid frame-rate even in some of the more intense action sequences.
What is great about any GTA title, including this one, is that they still encourage you to go off the beaten path and do your own thing. This means if you want to get the cops on you, go for it. If you want to just go around taking out random people that is your option, the game really keeps the world as open as possible. The inclusion of a relationship system in the game is an interesting twist and allows Niko really to test his luck with the ladies. There are so many small details in GTA IV that really allows you to choose the experience you want and just enjoy it, and that is exactly what I did throughout the countless hours of playing this game.
I would never have thought that GTA IV was going to be as good as what is given in this package. Grand Theft Auto IV is by far the most complete package I have seen in the last five to ten years. If you’re a Grand Theft Auto don’t walk, but run out and get this game now you will not be disappointed.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.