Review: Grand Theft Auto 4

So the other day I was in town and I see this new game being advertised. Remembering some reviewers giving it perfect scores I pick myself a copy up. This’ll be good for the games page I think. So here goes my attempt at cracking into the colossus that is Grand Theft Auto IV.

Normally I hate hyped up games as they are filled with flaws yet fanboys will defend them with their lives. So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see GTA IV lives up to the hype. What makes it so good? The realism.

Realistic graphics coupled with ragdoll physics results in a game that immerses you into its fictional representation of New York. You feel every crash, you feel a sense of impending doom after killing important people, you even feel a slight sense of guilt when you run someone over and they roll off your bonnet. When a game can make you feel for NPCs then it’s obviously doing its job.

It makes you call the shots by giving you decisions that alter what happens in the future. This ranges from choosing to go on a date with your girlfriend to deciding on whether to kill someone or let them go. Sometimes it can be hard to juggle your personal life with your work.

Killing has been vastly improved as well (much to the dismay of Jack Thompson). Previous GTA instalments lacked any variety or complexity in the combat with every weapon requiring extensive hammering of the ‘kill’ button. Here though combo moves have been added to fist-fighting and with guns it’s much easier to free aim at vital parts of the enemy i.e the head. Once again added realism makes you now feel like a hired gun instead of an enraged chimp.

The little things that have been added or tweaked also cumulate into creating this virtual world. For instance mobile phones have now become a major game mechanic allowing you to do numerous things from ordering guns to prank-calling the police.

All this close attention to detail is brilliant. For once I’m glad that GTA was released later as there are very few flaws with its integral gameplay.
The few flaws I found are just examples of me being a cynical bastard. GPS can be annoying as it takes the fun out of exploring but then again it can be ignored like in real life. And that’s about it for flaws.

Rockstar have shown how they can make a legendary game that sticks a finger up to society. Its blend of satire with realistic violence is the perfect cure to rival dross sandbox games that stylise violence. Here you’re killing for the sake of survival and any game that can realistically reflect the hardships and struggles of life surely deserves all the praise it can get.

Score – Five Stars out of Five


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