Coming up on three yeast since GTA IV was released, and folks.... this game is still the most relevant, deep, and satisfying game world ever created.
RELEVENT: Since GTA III, this franchise has always been about pinpointing the feeling of an era while remaining current and relevent. GTA IV is more so than ever. Liberty City, like all American cities, is a post 9/11 world. There is obvious parody which is fine, and other games do parody, but GTA IV does the best kind of parody, it innundates you with an entire world of quality parody. Of course, the usually radio system is in full form, but the addition of television and internet systems add multiple outlets for Rockstars parody of a perfect pitch. There is no more relevent game in the market today than GTA IV.
DEEP: GTA San Andreas was an amazing game in its own right, but Rockstar took a different approach to GTA IV. Instead expanding the game world further, they shrunk it, and made it deaper. There are elements of GTA III in almost every game made today; not just in open-world games either. If Super Mario 64 showed developers how to use the 3rd demension, GTA III showed them how to make living 3d environments. Rockstar has taken the next natural step with GTA IV and created an imperfect & lived-in 3d world. When you drive through the world you will eather, 1) Take it for granted, or 2) be in awe of it's complexity and functionality.
SATISFYING: PLEASE do not overlook the world of GTA IV by trying to make it through the story. If you do that you are missing the point and should be playing Gears of War or a similar such game. Instead, take your time with it, play slowly, make friends, watch some tv, go to a show, get drunk... Listen, if you play GTA IV like a game, you will completely miss it's greatest strengths. If, however, you try your best to live in Liberty City for a while, you will see how astonishing this game really is, which is soooo satisfying.
In conclusion... do not play this game if you are an impatient pleasure junkie who prefers firey explosions (even though the firey explosions are great) to creative explosions. GTA IV is a creative explosion. If you grew up in the era < or = to n64, this game is a revelation on the scale of Ocarina of Time. Live in it and enjoy! Thanks for listening.