Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest addition in the addictive sandbox genre Rockstar games are best known for. GTA4 represents more than just the next game in the series, it represents Rockstar's first attempt to bring the series to the next gen arena running on the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
GTAIV returns once again to Liberty City and follows the story of an European immigrant who found his way over to America in the hopes of finding fame and fortune. However when he arrives he realizes things aren't that easy...so he returns to the same old story root that GTA has always ran with. New guy in town wants to get rich, commits crimes and gets paid accordingly.
Despite how good you hear GTA4 is, personally i found the game a little disappointing. With the next gen platforms i expected huge leaps to be taken but i couldn't help but feel backward steps were made as well.
First of all Liberty City is no not as large as San Andreas. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing as the game is a lot more dense, it feels like a little bit of freedom was traded off. The lack of jet packs, parachutes and airplanes will be disappointing for fans of san andreas but it doesn't stop the game from being fun.
Another problem with GTA as you accumulate wealth in the city, it gets a little silly when you can't spend it. Old GTA games had you saving up money to buy various property which could net you more money but this was completely left out in the game. At some point in the game, you get about 250k and that is essentially the bulk of your money for the rest of the game.
From a technical standpoint, GTA is also pretty disappointing. While the lighting is superb and the visual style is pretty good, animations could definitely be better, music tracks could be more and there could be more vehicle types. I found very little to show me the next gen leap aside from the graphical enhancements and the freedom from loading. As a next gen game, i wanted more and there was never a single moment in the game that seemed to wow me. The missions are basically same old same old GTA missions from past games but with a different twist or story.
The one thing that really impressed me in this game was the physics engine. The Euphoria engine really shines in this game as everything behaves very realistically. I was generally impressed by ALL the physics interactions including the handling of the cars. However, whenever the physics got too intense, the frame rate seemed to slow down noticeably which got a little annoying after a while.
Improvements to the gameplay include a cover system and a lock on aim which are very welcome additions to the game and both work very nicely. The online portion of the game is also a new addition which helps give the game additional replay value. The online modes are pretty solid and will be fun when gathering a group of friends to play online. T
Overall GTA4 is a pretty good game, with a pretty good story but still falls short of full potential