Customer Reviews: Grand Theft Auto IV
Amazon Vehicles Oct16 Amazon Fashion nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 $25 Back with $50 Purchase Cozy Knits Book 2 or More Hours of House Cleaning on Amazon fin fin fin  All-New Echo Dot Starting at $89.99 All-New Kindle Oasis hhnsweeps Shop Now

Format: Video Game|Change
Price:$6.26 - $500.00
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

I adore the GTA series and have been looking forward to the release of GTA IV for a *long* time. The developers know that a very high bar would be set for this one, and you can see the time and effort they poured into every last detail from the very first moment of the opening credits. It is more like a movie than a game. This "immersive movie" quality stays with you through every moment of gameplay.

You walk down the street and the shadows dapple through the overhead bridge grid. Dusk begins to fall and the sky gets that orange golden glow, the shadows lessen.

Voices show the same attention to detail. You've got a variety of languages thrown in, plus accents galore. There's the Long Island drawl, the Rastafarian's lilt, and of course the hard edge of eastern Europe.

Your main character is Nico, fresh off the boat and coming in to Liberty City (i.e. New York City) to see his cousin Roman. They are eastern European and rather poor. This of course is going to change soon, as Nico moves his way up in the world.

My boyfriend's from New York City so we were amused at how they kept the landscapes identical but renamed Brooklyn to Broker, Manhattan to Algonquin and so on. There was one time we were walking down the streets and had lost track of where we were. "Looks like the Bronx" he commented off-handedly. We zoomed out. Sure enough!

I do have to say that the people on the streets of this game swear far more than the average people we pass in the real NYC though!

Which brings up an important point. GTA IV went straight for the "Mature" rating with this one. This is clearly meant for mature gamers ages 17 and over. There are strip clubs. There are violent battles. There is more swearing than pretty much any other game out there. Adults love this as they love the Sopranos and Scarface - but any parent getting this for a minor should know what they're getting into.

But that being said, as a game for adults, this is *awesome*. There are just so many little touches that shine. You can play bowling games with your date. You can make choices between alternate choices which affect how people feel about you. When you get near a railing, you can side jump over it, smoothly. You carry a cell phone and gather contacts for use. You can visit internet cafes. You have a variety of radio stations to listen to, plus TV stations to watch.

This is easily a game you can play for hundreds of hours - then go back and start over again and get another new experience by making different choices.

I can't get over how gorgeous the game is, and how smoothly it plays. You grab a knife from an enemy and use it to take him down. You drive along the Hudson and watch the lights of the carnival shine. You listen to your favorite songs on the radio while the neon lights of the city drift by. You really begin to relate to the characters, to understand their personalities, to connect with them. It makes the choices you make have meaning and emotion.

As much as I adore many other games - Halo, Mass Effect, etc. - I really think this is the first game that makes you feel that you are in a movie. The graphics draw you in. The voices are amazingly well done and varied. The plot draws you in, having you wonder who to trust, having you wonder what is going on with the characters.

Highly recommended. I'm doing a full walkthrough for the game so feel free to ask any questions you wish!

I want to add a note - some players are having trouble with understanding the dialogue. I watch a ton of international films so I didn't have any issues. However, if some of the language is too accented for you, there is a subtitles option. Just turn that on and you'll always know what they are saying.
2626 comments| 219 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 30, 2008

When Grand Theft Auto III came out(the reason i got a PS2 way back in 2001), i knew something great was in the mix. it was a sign of change in the gaming industry. it showed us there could be more to games than levels, more than high scores, and more than even a good story. it showed us a virtual world you could become totally engulfed in(outside of RPG's). a world where you could go anywhere and do anything(although that was just mostly stealing cars and shooting pedestrians in those days). over the years they've made some serious improvements, from the bikes and helicopters of vice city, to the jets and ability to duck and roll/ manually aim in san andreas(finally!) and now their first venture onto this generation has finally arrived, and its a great day in the gaming world

the series continues to awe with this installment, even in this day and age in video games. Graphically speaking, it is simply beautiful. its amazing how much attention went into every aspect of this world. theres cracks and pot holes ranging in depth in the road, and varying curb heights. vehicle damage is very impressive, from dents and scratches to a hole for each bullet that hits. the lighting system is amazing, with day/night cycles and a rotating sun throughout the day. naturally the game doesnt have the detail of say Call of Duty 4, but you could fit like 50 Call of Duty 4 maps in this city! its that huge. you have to take the size of a game into consideration when rating the graphics, thats been a given for how long now?? just to clear things up for the clowns complaining the graphics.

when you walk out the door theres so much to be done you might want to keep a checklist for the days. although what you actually choose to do is up to you. causing chaos is always an option. you can go bowling, play pool, play darts, get drunk, go to a srip club, get some food, check out the in game internet, and tons more. you could always just surf the channels on your TV.

your cell phone is a pivotal part of the game. you can call friends and girlfriends for various activities(some are listed above), and if you neglect them for long enough, they'll call you. you can also call potential employers for jobs.

theres the standard "go kill this guy" and "go get this" but they have been very entertaining anyway so far. theres much more depth to many missions, including stealth. one example is having to steal a cop car, then proceed to pull over different shipping trucks until you find the one full of TV's.

gameplay is vastly improved. the cover system is great, allowing you to quickly roll and protect yourself behind random cars, trash cans, and basically anything else thats big enough.

the game has a much more realistic feel than previous entries. you'll find yourself making sure theres no cops around before committing crimes. the star system is still here, but this time your wanted level is radius based, and if you can get far enough away from all cops, or at leased out of sight, your wanted level will go down. its honestly genius. i narrowly escaped one by jumping the guard rail and running down a steep hill, only to see another driving my way in the distance. quickly ducking into the alley behind a dumpster, i watched him roll by and waited for my stars to begin to fade. some cars are locked and you'll need to break a window to get in and proceed to hotwire it.

-for all you parents out there, the content is more mature than previous entries. you get a pretty good look at the in-car action with the street workers.. hehe.. and "coarse" language is used every couple minutes(at leased). the violence and blood looks more realistic now too. thats usually not what you guys worry about so much though.

my only real complaints are the hand to hand combat(its the most solid of the series but San Andreas seemed to have more move depth), and the fact that you cant go into more buildings. dont get me wrong, theres TONS of places to go and things to do, but i was hoping for even more. there have been waaay too many things that made San Andreas great and were simply missing here. no car customization, less clothes, less weapons, no property to buy, and more.. in some ways its one step forward and two steps back.

i wont elaborate on the story much, as its already been done heavily. basically your an illegal immigrant from eastern europe. your cousin convinced you to come to America with his stories of mansions and sports cars. when you arrive things arent quite as described. you start in the darkest, grittiest part of Liberty City. a pocket full of change and a head full or dreams. what happens next is in your hands..
0Comment| 50 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2009
Before I start ranting, I just want to say that GTA4, as a game of its own, is actually quite good, but as a GTA game, it has shortcomings. So Let's kick this review off right.

Graphics: GTA4 has rather well defined graphics. It is definitely much better from it's predecessors. Among many of the improvements graphically; people in the car actually move as they speak, blood stains actually appear on your car if you hit people, hitting newspaper stands actually cause newspapers to go flying everywhere, and some of the text on those flying newspapers is actually legible. So, suffice it to say, GTA is graphically a good game. Is it as good as all the other games out there, not really, but it is an open ended gameplay where you can go anywhere, and as far as that goes, it is pretty great.

Glitches: The game has quite a few glitches, as most of them do, which cause random events from a car to start flying in circles to your legs falling through the floor. It is expected in most games of this style I suppose, but is worth mentioning that these are no fewer than any previous GTA Game.

Setting: Taking place in a new liberty city similar to New York, the game offers little in the ways of variety. You go from tight closed off streets with big buildings to tight closed off streets with really big buildings. It is a bit claustrophobic, giving you very little room to just drive and speed up to top speed. San Andreas was expansive, giving you three cities completely different in appearance, numerous small towns, mountains, forests, and deserts. 4 gives you one city, nothing else.

Car Gameplay: The cars in this game seem much more difficult to control, was this done for realism sake, I am not sure. However, sometimes, some cars have incredibly poor traction and put you into terrible accidents when you think you have plenty of time to stop. It is hard to tell which cars are better, as appearance doesn't always suggest driving style. A couple of added things kind of make the gameplay funner. Most park cars are locked now, so you actually break the window, unlock the car, then actually hotwire it, You can speed up hotwiring, but it usually doesn't take more than a couple seconds anyway. Also, you can receive damage, fly out the window shield, die in fatal accidents, drive drunk (which always gets a cop on your tail) and even have a car die and won't start up again. However, many of these events seem random, and you can ram a building at 50 miles an hour and recieve no damage, or hit a fence and 25 miles an hour, fly our your window shield, and have you car land on you. So that kind of sucks.

Person Gameplay: On a surplus, you can now use cover and hide behind stuff, also peaking out from behind cover to shoot an opponent. You also have a new melee system, which includes kick, punch, and block combos. It isn't much better than the original system, but it does give you a bit more control over what you are doing to your opponent. However, once you get a couple guns, this becomes almost irrelevant anyway. Everything else is just about the same from previous games.

Story: The story is OK. I can't say I feel too passionate about the protagonist, who just doesn't appeal to me as much as the GTA3 + characters, who were frequently hilarious and likable. Niko revenge story does not seem as passionate as GTA3, and that guy was a mute. He lacks the ambition of VC character, and SA did a better job of displaying that protagonists goals and ideals(protecting his home and family). Besides that, it seems less humorous and more serious of a story. It still has all the jokes from the previous GTAs, I can't really put my finger on it, but everything in this one just seems more serious. One reviewer believes that this is GTA with a conscious, which I kind of agree with, maybe groups put pressure on Rockstar to make them show the consequences of your actions, since it seems like you're constantly being reminded that killing, drunk driving, and prostitution are bad.

The Extras: This is where I feel the game fell. Had this game been the direct sequel from GTA III, I probably would have been a lot easier on it, but VC and SA existed, and this game almost seems to have forgotten that fact. This game almost seems like a stripped version of it's predecessors. No gang wars, no gambling, no owning businesses, no car collections. Flying has almost been cut out of this game, although I can't imagine why, it was such a successful feature. Fighting on a flying plane, then para shooting out was the coolest thing ever, not to mention stealing a harrier jet from a battleship. The girlfriend thing from SA was added to, making normal friends too. This is worse, as you now have to maintain relationships with not only your gfs, but any friend you make as well. I also believe the "sex scenes" you get at the end of the date are toned down a bit. I dislike where Rockstar is going with this game, it almost as if they want to take the open part out of open game. They keep you caught up with their characters with frequent cellphone calls, rather than letting you initiate your own sidequests by setting in the right vehicle or shiny circle.

Sum it Up: So in general, this game is a worthy sequel to GTA III... as long as you pretend SA and VC did not exist. It cuts out way too much content added in the last two (what do you call them, expansion packs?). Why they felt the need to cut so much? Or did they feel they had to to make room for more graphics? If so, I would pick side missions and content over graphics any day.

One more beef that bugged me endlessly, they cut out hidden packages and replaced it with flying rats that you can shoot. That was a good idea, but the thing is, you don't get anything unless you shoot all 200, which gets you an achievement (big whoop) and a pop up for just about the only flying thing in the game (helicopter). I always depended on those items that pop up have 10, 30, 50 packages. Just knowing that if I got arrested or used up my ammo, that I always had a store at my place was great. This just bites, what horrible thing happened to Rockstar, whom created a nearly perfect game with San Andreas, feel they needed to take a chainsaw to the game and cut out all of its charm. Oh well, I hope that answers your questions and helps your decision in getting GTA 4.
1515 comments| 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 1, 2008
Here's what I don't think many people touch on in their reviews, or maybe I just don't read enough of them. This game is Grand Theft Auto, it's not anything else so don't expect it to be, much like I did.

That said, yes I was a little disappointed when I first started playing GTA IV after several very long, anxious days at work before its release. The reason being that I was spoiled by games like Saints Row etc.. and forgot how the GTA series played. Yeah Saints Row is a rip-off in many respects but it is not the same game at all.

With this new installment I expected the GTA series to evolve, but it didn't, it upgraded. Yes the graphics are better, the characters are more real, the physics engine is pretty darn awesome, the combat is more fun, the list goes on but ultimately the game is what it is. If no one told you this game was GTA before you played it, you would be able to tell by the way NPCs move and act, the way you learn things with on-screen dialog, the way the character controls, and just the general feel of the game. Certain aspects have been the exact same for years, ever since GTA III.

If you found some of these aspects annoying, (like not being able to simply move a foot in one direction to get closer to a rack of clothing without passing it up entirely because there is no fine movement at all) it is irritating and quite frankly makes the game actually feel very dated.

Instead of droning on... If you expect this to be an improved version of Grand Theft Auto, you're going to love it. (with some possible exceptions like the driving mechanics). Everything you yearned for from previous GTA's is back and better than ever. However, if you wanted the next-gen evolution of a sandbox, do whatever the hell you feel like it game with mind-blowing innovations and new things to learn about and do, you will most likely be disappointed.

After coming to this realization I found the game much more enjoyable and that's why I gave it five stars. As a GTA game, that's what it deserves.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 2, 2008
I have read too many reviews saying how "GTA IV is going to redefine games...GTA IV one of the best games ever made...etc." I finally decided I should share an objective view of GTA IV to those of us who aren't GTA fanatics.

Before I get slammed for my views, I would like to mention that I have played all the GTA games (from original GTA for PS thru GTA San Andreas).

Is GTA IV a great game? Yes.
Is GTA IV game redefining or revolutionary? No.
Is GTA IV worthy of a next-gen tag? Probably.

Was GTA IV worth the hype? Not really.

GTA IV is a great game. That's it. End of story. It is not going to challenge the way future games are made. It's not going to raise the bar. This is basic GTA formula, but prettier, more dialogue, and a cell phone. There is a tremendous amount of detail that has been put into this game in terms of graphic and sound, however, that doesn't mean it brings anything new to the table. GTA III was a truly revolutionary game and redefined what 3D action games could do and should do when it was first released on the PS2. On the other hand, GTA IV is basically a rehash of the same formula from GTA III thru San Andreas. Sure, there's a cellphone and the physics have been revamped in this game, but that's not enough to say it's one of the greatest games ever made. I ask those who've played GTA III to think back to how original and innovative that game was and how it fundamentally changed all future games that came out after it. In my opinion, you could probably take GTA IV, dumb down the graphics and cut out some dialogue, and it would probably be playable on PS2. Some call this a next-generation game, but what defines a next-gen game? If you base it on graphics and gameplay, GTA IV does not meet those requirements. There are numerous games out now that look better than GTA IV and the gameplay is the same since GTA III. Not even the misssions types are different! Also, I have major gripes with the camera while you are driving; frankly, it is all over the place. However, the sheer size of Liberty City and the scope of presentation definitely puts the game beyond what the PS2 or XBOX were capable of.

Now beyond that, if you are a GTA fanatic, you will love GTA IV. It will give you everything you love and 1,000 times more! But, if you've played previous GTA games and found they may be too repetitive or they weren't your cup of tea, then don't worry. You're not missing out on much if you don't play GTA IV. Although I haven't beaten the game, I'm about 5 hours into the game, and so far, I haven't had any of those "WOW!" type moments that truly memorable and historically classic games give you. GTA IV will go down in the history books for shipping units, but it definitely won't go down in history as one of the most top 10 influential games. GTA III still holds that crown.

I gave GTA IV 4 stars because it is still a fantastic game, however, not worth the ridiculous hype it is recieving and extraordinarily high reviews it is recieving in gaming magazines and websites. This is definitely not a 10/10 game. There are way too many issues with it to be labeled "PERFECT."
11 comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon May 17, 2008
GTA 4's story centers around a sarcastic Eastern European immigrant come to America to get a fresh start away from the corruption and violence of his home country. Whoops. Critics have often harangued the violence and the criminal aspect of GTA, but what flies over their heads is that satire is the premise of the series and always has been. And frankly, the violence here pales in comparison to Gears Of War or Condemned 2: Bloodshot just to name two. GTA's immense popularity is not because of the degeneration of our society (we've got reality television for that), it's because the series is constantly innovating and offering fun spot-on gameplay, brilliant humor, and is a game made by and for an adult audience. So if your child is playing this game, blame yourself for giving your child the means to get it or for not paying attention to what they are doing with their time, not Rockstar for making top-of-the-line entertainment meant for adults (see the markings on the box?).

GTA 4 seperates itself from the past iterations in several ways. First, the arcade feel is largely gone. While the controls are vintage GTA, the overall feel has changed. In previous games, I never got into the story because I would get sidetracked rampaging with katanas and molotov cocktails or hunting for a tank. Now a lot of the distractions like crazy weapons and vehicles and building up your character stats are gone and the story behind the madness is a truly engaging one for the first time. The city is more alive than ever and there is more to do. The characters you meet are all brilliant and interacting with them is seriously fun. Take your girl out to a bar and watch her serious issues surface as she stumbles around slurring curses about "that fu#*ing whore" she thought you were checking out. Or challenge your buddies to bowling, pool, or a friendly game of darts. You ca even head to the comedy club to check out actual routines from Ricky Gervais or Katt Williams. The dialogue during these bonding activities is varied and reveals much about your Liberty City aquaintances, many of whom have special services to offer you should you become close. The entire game is so well-written that one often gets the impression that they are playing a Tarantino flick. Oh yeah, it's that good. The multiplayer aspect is also fun and varied allowing you to battle stangers for Liberty City dominance or just drive around with your friends wreaking havoc. Taking into account the amazing single-player game this really wasn't necessary, but the fact that it is even included just makes this game that much more awesome.

Now all of that is well and good, but what makes GTA 4 the second work I'm upgrading from mere video game status to an official work of interactive fiction (the first was Mass Effect) is the sheer depth of the world in which you exist. So far I have spent multiple hours just surfing the game's internet. That's right, there is a virtual worldwide web in-game complete with dating sites, a Craig's List parody, advertisements, personal blogs complete with flame wars, email, and much more. Hell, you can even download custom ringtones and themes for your cell phone! That is nuts. Do you know how ridiculous it feels to spend that amount of time in a video game surfing a fake internet? There are also several satirical television shows you can watch in your apartment (go Republican Space Rangers!), and naturally there's the radio; the sweet, sweet, sounds of GTA radio stations. There's a rock station featuring Iggy freakin' Pop as the foul-mouthed DJ, classic hip-hop and R&B, smooth jazz, techno, LCHC (Liberty City HardCore), and even an all Bob Marley station just to name a few. Then there's the thinly-veiled talk radio parody station Weazel News featuring the funniest Rush Limbaugh impersonator you're ever likely to hear. You even hear news reports about incidents you were personally involved in as you drive. This game is DEEP.

Honestly, if you like video games or digital entertainment of any kind then this as good as it gets. And if you don't like those things, do your best to hide your ignorance and don't go spouting off about things you don't know anything about. GTA 4 is a brilliant satire full of jabs (and a few haymakers) at American politics and any violence is incidental in comparison to the brilliantly crafted story and interactivity of the in-game world that Rockstar has created. I'll say it again: this is not just a video game, this is interactive fiction on par with some of the great works of modern storytelling. If you own a video game system and you think you can handle some naughty language without getting all hysterical, buy it. It's that simple.
2121 comments| 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 6, 2015
I am actually not much of a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. I actually haven't played one since Grand Theft Auto 3. I always enjoyed Saint's Row more because of the more humorous take on the criminal element.

But something about GTA4 drew me in when I was watching a friend play it. The main character is a criminal, but he's legitimately a likable guy. His cousin keeps calling to hang out, even at the most inopportune times, but hey, what's family for if not bugging you when you're busy? And despite my occasional annoyance with him, I actually liked hanging out with Roman.

I liked hanging out with the NPCs, I liked Nico, I liked the way the cars handled and I liked taking the police on a 2 hour chase while Nico was drunk and the camera wouldn't hold still.

10/10 I'll call you and we can go bowling.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 11, 2015
Even though I have GTA V now, I love this game.
I would recommend it to anyone who likes dramatic story and cars, even if you don't think you'll like it its only like $13 so it won't put a big hole in your pocket if you end up not liking it.
This was the first game I got for my 360 when I bought it because I tried this game at my friends house.
Its story is better than GTA V (Don't get me wrong, V has an interesting story but IV has a much more dramatic and realistic story line)
I bought 3 copies of this game
I gave one to a friend, I used one, and I wrapped the other up in packaging in case anything happens to my disk copy.
(I then later bought the game from the xbox marketplace for download and gave my disk copy to another friend, and kept the one I had package in the package)
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 10, 2008
Now, everyone will have you believing that Grand Theft Auto IV is the single greatest game ever made, or that it's hands down Gane of the Year, or that Rockstar has reinvented the wheel with GTA 4, here. Well, as a HUGE San Andreas fan and an owner of most Rockstar games out there (except for Manhunt), I'm here to tell you that Grand Theft Auto IV is about 90% overrated hype and about 10% gameplay. No, GTAIV isn't outright bad or anything. It's just not what it used to be. Mostly, I mean, fun. At face value, this is Grand Theft Auto on the new gen systems. But besides that, it's a more-realistic, but less fun GTA.

I guess, that's the biggest problem with GTA IV. Set in an alternate universe New York City, Rockstar strives to make GTA about as real as an experience as it can be, but in reality, it's not. Really, what it is, is a better looking version of GTA with a bunch of new "more realistic" features. I'll start with the positives, first. GTA looks very, very good. Not even close to Photo-realistic, but good. The graphics and lighting and weather effects are good enough to warrant being on the 360 or PS3. Now, while I was expecting "Gran Turismo" style realism here, that's not what I got, but still, the game looks nice. But now, for everything else.

There are many "improvements" to the game that supposedly enhances the experience, but they really only suck the fun out of the game as I mentioned earlier. Just about everything is "enhanced" to have the realism effect, but it only makes the game frustrating. Breaking into cars is a pain and now takes almost as much time as it would in real-life. You have to break open the window, unlock the door, climb inside, and hotwire the car from the inside to get it going. While I was surprised to find this task quicker than I expected, it still hurts you in desperate situations when you need a car right away, which are in many missions. I hated the "system" so much, I never bothered to steal a parked car more than once in this game. The system is actually more of a theft deterent than anything!

Next, we come to the driving. Good God, the driving is probably the most *frustrating* thing EVER! Acceleration is simple enough, especially on the 360 controller. But just about everything else is horrible! Driving in this game, I can say honestly, is MUCH harder than actually driving in real life. The brakes are crazy and I don't know just how long it takes the average player to get used to driving, but I'm still struggling not to crash into people and walls and stuff! I have to drive like an old lady just to avoid bumping into the police cars which are quite literally on every other block in the game.

And when you DO get in trouble... oh man! GTA IV has a slight improvement on the old system in which you can now evade the police by simply outrunning them, even if you are beyond one star. In the old games, you could outrun the police with one star, but not with anything higher. In GTA IV, you have a circumference area that the cops chase you in. Drive out of their circumference, and you escape them. But it sounds simpler than it is. The more wanted levels you get, the larger the area the cops chase you in. And with simply two stars, the "area of pursuit" becomes hard to get out of. By a full-on six, the circumference is literally the size of an entire Liberty City borough! I found this out when I tried to sneak into Algonquin (Manhattan). They have Pay N' Sprays still, but they're virtually useless now. The time you'll need them most, you won't be able to use them cause if the cops see you enter one, it's effect becomes null and void. And over two stars will have police swarming on you. And make no mistake, Liberty City's finest are three times as vicious as those San Andreas donut-munchers. The police are vicious on you, and their A.I. is quite enhanced and far more intelligent than before. Heck, a cop will shoot you even if you're unarmed and only have one star! To make matters worse, your car no longer provides you with adequate protection. Cops and other enemies can shoot you THROUGH your windshield! Before, your car just got damaged some. Now, you can quite easily die even in your car, and there's no real way to duck for cover inside, either. This is what I mean when I say the fun is sucked out of the game in favor for "realism."

The controls of the game are often needlessly complicated, even with all things not involving cars. Doing a simple thing like running while trying to keep the camera fixed on you involve all your available fingers. The shooting is supposedly "improved" but it's not. I actually never found issue with GTA: San Andreas' shooting and targeting system, but many people did. Either way, the auto-targeting in GTA IV is flawed, at best, and as you'd expect, the targeting itself has no idea who you actually want to target. It's more like you targeting whoever *IT* makes you target! Yeah, it's a problem. What's worse is how much stronger the enemies are now. It takes a minimum of six shots with a pistol to take down ONE guy! And it's not like you get a lot of ammo with that pistol! You can't afford to waste a single bullet. What's worse is, limb-specific damage seems to be gone, entirely. Whether you aim center mass, or go for the head execution style, it'll still take the same number of bullets to take down a guy. Well, doesn't that just suck?

Now, some more things about the game. The story, itself, is pretty subjective. You'll either get into it, or like me, become quickly bored with it. It's like the same old GTA-style story missions, only it's more "Been there, done that", which is disapointing considering the use of the foreigner Niko Bellic opened up a lot of storyline possibilites. But about your first hour into the game, you'll already be playing guard dog to a bunch of people you just met. Your cousin, Roman, is a pain in the butt, but everyone else is even worse. Why do I have to take orders from all these people I barely know? I expected more out of GTA IV, but this is the same old crap, man. What's worse is, the main story seriously ruins all of the "free roaming" fun you used to have in GTA! Because of your new, stupid cell phone (with the questionable gray background and black text color scheme which makes it hard enough just to read messages) you'll constantly be getting calls from people and will have to drop everything to help out in vital missions that are important to the story. You'd think a guy with no real job would have more free time. The only real side quest you'll get to have in the beginning is dating the cute and lonely Michelle. If only nice-looking women were this desperate and easy to please in real life. The dates have been upgraded a little bit, giving you the control in what to do, which includes fine dining, playing games like bowling and pool, the arts & theater, going drinking, and other activities. Sadly, the dates are pretty boring and have a "what's the point?" feel to them. As much as I like Michelle, even "Warm Coffee" isn't worth driving all around Broker all day long boring myself to death.

The size of Liberty City is about maybe half or one-third the size of San Andreas. But considering Liberty is all city, it's pretty impressive. Like I said, you'll often be so busy helping random people, you won't have to much time to explore around (without purposely avoiding missions because you know you aren't going to save anything.) You start off in crappy Broker (Brooklyn) and will have to earn your way to Algonquin and the rest of Liberty City, just like before. That sucks though, because I expected this time to be different, and I wanted to explore everything right away. Rockstar before had said they were taking out all bikes and air vehicles from the game, but I guess, have changed their mind since then. There are a few number of bikes, one speedboat, and the rare, single helicopter in GTA IV. There are also lots of cars in the new Liberty City as well, but quite honestly, most the vehicles have very little relevance in this game and they take a backside to the story. The feeling you had in San Andreas of "Ooh! I like that car! Lemme go steal that and add it to my collection!" is gone entirely from this game. Anything you drive is about as equally important/unimportant. Maybe it's because you don't have any garages to put them in? Or any money to afford really modding them, if that's even possible in this game? Or maybe it's because trying to get them is such a pain, even if you manage to avoid the police catching you? At least, they have talking GPS in them, but (and I can't believe I'm defending THIS game, but) I personally like the GPS system in Saint's Row better.

Liberty City now has a huge amount of radio stations (like, 18, I think), but none of the music is on par with the older GTA's. I guess that's because GTA IV takes place in 2008, and it's hard to know what current songs are guaranteed hits in the present. Or maybe it's because music is such crap, nowadays? So, you have a wide variety of music, but no history of what's "good" or not helping you out, here. To sum it up, the music just isn't that good, but at least, it's very, very diverse. There's everything ranging from the familiar Hip Hop and Rock stations, to Latino Music and International Funk. And yes, the parody Talk Radio stations are back to, but to be honest, there aren't NEARLY as funny as they were on the West Coast in San Andreas. There's also custom TV and Internet sites in the game, as well, but to be honest, I never quite got around to checking them out. I mean, all that extra crap is great, but it's really just a distraction and it's utterly pointless to have in the game. It's not like it helps you DO anything. And just to bring it up, there's almost NOTHING in all of new Liberty City to remind you that this is a Grand Theft Auto game. All of the GTA staples and landmarks are gone. Well, at least they kept Cluckin' Bell around, but other than that, there's no familiar names or chains or shops from the GTA universe. It's like they all started going bankrupt in the 16 years since San Andreas, and went completely out of business in the seven years since GTA III. It makes the new Liberty City that much more unfamiliar, but then again, I guess some people would call that "enhancing the experience" for Niko Bellic, new to Liberty City.

So to recap, GTA IV is a new, more real experience in the GTA world, but that sucks any and all fun and excitement out of the game. No, Rockstar did not reinvent the wheel here, and this is, without a doubt NOT "Game of the Decade" or the "Game of Our Generation." The little 13-year old boys posting reviews on here need to stop saying that! It's not true! Let's just all call this what it is: GTA on the new consoles. It's no greater or better than simply that. Everything they tried to "enhance" for a realer experience just makes the game tedious and tiresome, including your stupid behind cell phone, which I hate! I wish I could just chuck it somewhere! The controls are complicated and confusing, especially for driving. The graphics and interactivity in Liberty City are nice, but not exactly "on the next level" of anything. Free roaming is just about dead due to the story constantly keeping you busy, and the missions are old and familiar, but not in a good way. The weapons system is bad with it's targeting, and even fist fighting is a real pain. Fighting was simple and effective in San Andreas. Here, you're looking at three minute fights just to take down one fat slob. I mean, three minutes??? See, that's TOO realistic! The music is so-so at best, and just about everything in the game feels more like a chore than fun. I think because in older GTA's, the storyline wasn't as relevant, leaving you space to do whatever you felt like inbetween, sort of like the weekend from the work week. But now, it's like, everyday is a work day, and I think it's because Rockstar tries to push the story as being SO important and such a driving force in GTA IV. Yeah, I can tell that it was carefully crafted and polished, but it does NOT rank on the level of The Godfather or Scarface. So, no. This isn't an "interactive movie," as some overzealous fans of the game posting reviews will have you believe. The story's okay for a video game, but it's a video game story. It's not exactly good enough to stand on it's own. I really dislike it.

I SO wanted to believe the hype, but I also knew that not having a GTA game in four years would leave a lot of people expecting and wanting more (and believing they got it with this). All GTA IV is, is Grand Theft Auto: Part Four. It's not the Second Coming of video games, or anything rabid fanboys and fangirls will have you believe. Personally, it's not really worth the four year wait or anything, but it's not like it's a horrible game. It's just not that fun, anymore, and the ones who'll play it days on end, will buy it, no matter what anyone tells them. But if you're on the fence, like I was, I would have no problem at all telling you to wait a few months till it drops down in price. It's not THAT spectactular.

Don't believe the hype and don't drink the GTA Kool Aid. If this game REALLY did have a budget of $100 million, than I'm betting $75 million of that went to advertising, feeding the hype machine, and paying off notable gaming sites for unjust Perfect 10 scores. This ISN'T a Perfect Ten game, and I'd give it a 7 or 8 out of 10, if Amazon had that kind of scale. This is easily the most realistic out of the GTA series, but FAR from the most entertaining, no matter how many fake TV shows and websites arre in the game. The main content is what matters most, and GTA IV fails on all accounts when it comes to this.
11 comment| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 11, 2008
There's no need to discuss the hype behind this game or its commercial success. We all know it was well received by the public, got great reviews and made Rockstar even richer.

So how does it play? Was it worth the wait? Should it have waited even longer? Maybe and absolutely.

The game does an admirable job of representing what is basically New York and having a sympathetic lead who kills, steals and double-crosses to survive. He doesn't like what he does, wishes he didn't have to do it, but in order to fulfill his objective, he has to do these things. (Note that the vast majority of people he kills, steals from and double-crosses aren't even worthy of being called scum.) The game also forces the player to make some hard choices which have long-lasting consequences. And of course, true to form for a GTA game, there's weapons, explosions, sex, car chases, gun fights and profanities aplenty.

Which leads me to the first of many letdowns for this game. The missions are so repetitive, so tedious, so monotonous, and so boring that it is literally impossible to truly differentiate one mission from the next. A good 50% of the game, probably more involves shooting endless waves of enemies, many of whom pop up in completely illogical places. It is very easy for one enemy to kill you in a matter of seconds after having done so well up to that point.

Which brings me to my next point: Mission failures. The system Rockstar put in place is by far the worst system in any AAA video game, and budget titles would do well to stay far from this as well. If you fail a mission, you must restart the mission entirely. From the beginning. Every single time. It doesn't matter if the mission is a single chase, a single shootout or if there is more than one part to it. (The final mission has five parts to it.) If something goes wrong, you start back at the beginning and you have to redo the entire thing all over again. There are no mid-mission checkpoints. This is completely inexcusable. Operation Flashpoint came out in 2001, so video games have had checkpoints in them for at least seven years now and probably longer than that. Please don't put in a comment about how I forgot about how X game had them in 199X. I am not interested, I am only using that particular game as an example. That's it. End of discussion.

And yet, when you do restart, you still lose EVERYTHING you used in the mission. Why is that? Why should I have to replenish everything I lost on something that didn't actually happen? I can't think of any game that does this, and I probably wouldn't want to play such a game, mainly because I prefer games that are fun. Is having to restock ammo and armor on a mission that didn't actually just happen fun? No. That's downtime, and downtime isn't fun, especially when it's needless downtime. And Rockstar isn't based in someone's garage. This is a very large company with a huge budget, so these amateurish design decisions are even more inexcusable.

Speaking of inexcusable design decisions that were antiquated long, long ago, let's discuss another aspect of gun fights. For some reason, when Niko is being shot at, his default speed, running or walking is the exact same speed as when nothing is going on. SWAT 3 came out almost NINE YEARS AGO, and that game had a dynamic speed change. In other words, if shots were fired, everyone sped up. Not Niko. No, he'll just wander around unless you actually hit the run button. Which also makes him run just as fast as though nothing is going on. Wouldn't someone who is trying to find cover so they don't get shot move faster than if they aren't in danger? If you'd like a more recent example of what Rockstar should have done, take a look at Mass Effect.

The driving mechanics also have a much higher learning curve than what it needs to be, especially with motorcycles and helicopters. Why Rockstar didn't take more time honing the controls and making them easier to pick up is anyone's guess. Same with ladders. I have a friend who will tap the Y button until his thumb is ready to break and even still Niko will not climb the ladder that is right in front of him. This is usually after swimming a ridiculous distance to it since the game doesn't allow the player to just suicide and spawn at the nearest hospital. No instead we have to swim ridiculously long distances. Talk about fun huh?

Which is about the same as can be said for multiplayer. You just walk or drive around the city. There is nothing to do. Nothing. No activities, no places to go, nothing. There are some missions that can be done but if you just want to free roam with a friend in multiplayer, that's ALL you get to do. A drop-in, drop-out co-op in the story mode would've been much, much better.

Oh, yeah, the story. Well what little there is isn't too bad, when the game actually allows you to see it. Most of the time it's too busy bogging you down with those same repetitive missions I talked about earlier where it always goes the exact same way - a deal that shouldn't have any problems where Niko is just there "as insurance" turns into a battle ground with lots and lots of enemies, then just they're all dead, more spawn in the area that was just cleared, then the fight leads to a car/motorcycle chase which leads to a police chase, lather, rinse, repeat. Almost all of the missions have this exact same format. The only things that change are the goons' clothing and the SET of lines Niko yells out as he kills them (not the actual lines themselves.) So don't worry kids, if you heard him say something in a mission, he will say it again! And again....and again....and again.

And lastly, for some reason even though games have been doing this for years, GTA IV still allows objects that obstruct your view of the player to remain opaque. Every other high quality title I have ever seen that operates in 3rd person forces such obstructions to go transparent.

The characters Niko takes missions from and/or befriends are your stock cardboard cutouts but let's face it, no one plays a GTA game for the character study. That's why we have're those things called, libraries have them....oh well. Anyway, the dialogue is at times rather humorous, especially when Niko is hanging around Brucie. I think we've all known a Brucie at some point in our lives, so to see Niko indirectly poke fun at these guys is a treat. And as usual, GTA IV satirizes many aspects of society and pop-culture that are just begging for it. Celebrities, radio-talk show hosts, gossip magazines, plenty of entertainment venues and the masses that support them all get the healthy shot of parody that has been coming to them for years.

With a whole lot more polish, mid-mission checkpoints and far less repetition, GTA IV would deserve the accolades and commercial success it has enjoyed as of late. As it stands, however, it is yet another proof that hype, a big name label and commercial success do not always mean a great game. It is a good game, but nothing more.
33 comments| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 34 answered questions

Need customer service? Click here