After years of waiting, tons of hype, DLC fuss and even more hype, Grand Theft Auto 4 is out.As the first next generation GTA game, expectations were high and unfortunately, I myself was left a bit underwhelmed by an albeit very good game.
First let's talk graphics.I don't have much to say here, except that the city is fantastically modeled, the character models are excellent and so is the lighting, but there is something I've noticed, and that's the excessive post-processing.Everything is blurred out you kind of have to squint to see afar.The Euphoria technology exists but isn't quite fully used, though it still adds even more realism to the world of GTA IV.
The gameplay has been refined, a very efficient cover system has been introduced, on the PS3 we also have SIXAXIS support.Another brilliant addition is a fully-fledged cellphone from which you can call buddies and be called by them, send/receive text messages and so on.Side activities have been a disappointment for me, I was expecting much more from Rockstar since San Andreas practically featured 30 different games in one if you counted the minigames.GTA IV, on the other hand, offers us a buddy system, thus you can go out with your friends and even have a girlfriend, but it doesn't quite replace the awesome minigames.What has also remained intact is the freedom of Liberty City which can be exploited in many ways.Airplanes have been removed though, for "realism's same", so you can't skydive anymore or crash virtual planes into virtual skyscrapers.Taxis are a new and fantastic adition, since they can take you anywhere around the city.Now you just have to find one.
The multiplayer aspect is something new for GTA games, and while I find it to be a great addition, I still can't say it's as good as it gets.The matchmaking's cumbersome, to access multiplayer you have to use your phone and if you drop out of a game you have to use you cellphone again to find another, but the overall experience is a very solid and entertaining one.
The bottom line is that Grand Theft Auto IV mostly satisfies, but doesn't wow as it was promised to.For 360 owners, the oncoming DLC might add some incentive to the game, and a trophy patch has already been launched for the PS3, but the game still doesn't have the long-term appeal of previous games.