GTA 4 Another Popular GTA Series

You may or may not be a gamer, but I’m pretty sure you have heard about Grand Theft Auto. The series is as famous for controversial content in its titles as it is for the stunning, open and free world, do-what-you-want type of game play. And because the franchise is such a cult-classic, we are sure you have heard the buzz surrounding the latest installment in this classic sandbox series: Grand Theft Auto 4.

Dubbed as the most anticipated game of the year by many gaming websites and magazines, Grand Theft Auto 4 had generated enough hype even before its release to guarantee record breaking sales. Being hardcore GTA fans ourselves, we were in a state of shock when our Xbox 360 copy arrived. The packaging was ripped open and it was war in the Test Center as we all fought to play it first. I was in for some very exciting times ahead.

The thing that makes GTA stand out is the attention to detail. Rock star North knows gamers and knows how to take care of them. Maybe that’s why they included a highly detailed map of Liberty City, which shows all the landmarks, hotels, bars etc. This was very helpful, the map is still pinned up over our game station. Now, let’s dive into the finer points of the masterpiece that is GTA 4.

Liberty City

In GTA 4 you return to Liberty City, which was the setting in GTA 3. This is one reason, apart from the name obviously, why GTA 4 is considered as a direct sequel to GTA 3 completely putting aside GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas. Your character is a certain Niko Bellic, whose origins are never really clear although numerous references are made to him being Russian, Eastern European or Balkan. Niko is lured to the thrilling world of Liberty City by his cousin Roman, who lives in a dream world of luxury. For Niko, Liberty City is just another way to escape the demons from his past as an angry, young soldier from the Yugoslav wars. But how long can one stay away from crime in

Liberty City? Not long, as you find out just minutes into the game. Liberty City, inspired by both San Francisco and New York is a living, breathing, open world. Even when you are standing still in one corner of the city, everything else around you is moving. NPC’s carry on with their daily lives in front of you-talking on mobile phones about possible business relationships, catching cabs, reading newspapers and even sipping coffee from takeaway cups. While walking down a street, you may also encounter cops arresting criminals at gunpoint-which is like a sign that you do not influence the game world. Cops will also pull over other vehicles and check their trunks while owners wait patiently.

However, one small feature of the game impressed us a lot, and it is something which we won’t ever forget. While crusing down a highway connecting two parts of the city, we came across a toll-station. The interesting thing was that we actually had to pull over and pay the toll of $5, or risk grabbing the attention of cops! Instances like these made us feel like a part of Liberty City.

The Game

Like every other GTA title, even GTA 4 involves a variety of missions that you may choose to complete During the course of the game, you can make many friends, who in turn give you major or minor missions. Of course, if you don’t feel like progressing with the actual story then you can just choose to roam around the city, take your friends out for food or some other activity, or even go online and check your mail or hook up with people on the net and then take them out for dates. You can also visit the many clothing shops in the city to change your style of fashion. This comes in handy when taking somebody out on a date-each girl has her own tastes in your style of clothing, and choice of vehicles. Some girls like going to bars, but beware, drink too much and you will actually feel the buzz, with the camera spinning and random vibrations on your game pad. You may choose to drive under the influence, but a warning will immediately pop up asking you to prefer taking a cab instead. A nicemove by Rock star indeed! Your daily life is organized by your mobile phone, you can use it to take pictures, call and message people or set reminders for tasks. It is due to fine detail like this that you might just start thinking of Liberty City as a real place after hours of playing this game. The missions are well crafted, and they too bring a sense of realism to the game.

Unlike Vice City, GTA 4 does not have any childish missions like carrying bombs in toy helicopters. Here, the missions are more of snipe this target, watch over that drug deal, and choose to let somebody live, or die. While there are a few complaints of the missions being repetitive, we actually found no problem in that area. The game looks stunning on the Xbox 360, especially when you play in high definition. The shadows, heat ripples, and dynamic lighting makes GTA 4 stand out in the technical area. Something tells me the PC version (whenever it comes out, if at all) will be heavy on the system!

Closing Thoughts

Any doubts I had about this game being over hyped were squashed just minutes into playing. GTA 4 deserves every bit of praise that is thrown on it. With a HUGE map to explore and tons and tons of missions, not to forget multi player capabilities for up to 16 players on line means you have more than 20 straight hours of immersive game play. After a long time a game has managed to keep me hooked, for about three weeks, non-stop. Is it a contender for best game of the year? Perhaps not. But we say it is the hands-down winner in its class.

Pros:

Absolutely everything.

Cons:

Can lead to a general lack of interest in members of the opposite sex and obesity from lack of physical movement.

Rating: 9.9/10

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