GTA 4 Review (the story)
Every three to five years a video game comes out that just totally wins everyone over. Games that are universal in their appeal to everybody and if It not, is so perfect in its niche that it wins over those who don’t even like that style of game. Grand Theft Auto IV takes the gameplay of the legendary third installment (that was so famously released on the PlayStation 2) and makes leaps and bounds graphically and in terms of gameplay depth.
But what really touches the user and creates this amazing gaming experience goes to those players who really invest their time in this game’s story mode. Niko Bellic (picture above) is such an amazing protagonist and feels like such a real person that you actually become conflicted with decisions that need to be made in the game. Twice there was a choice on who to kill, with each decision drastically changing the game’s storyline and your wallet. Both times I had to pause the game, and actually think or drive around one of the islands of Liberty City to just weight it over. That is why this game easily gets the easiest 10 out of 10 I have ever given and experienced.
This review is just going to focus on the story (campaign) of the game. Tom will be writing a review in the hopefully not so distant future on the city and more in depth with the multiplayer/online modes.
The story begins with possibly the coolest intro to a video game ever made. First off, it looks like a movie. Not in terms of graphics quality, but in terms of music choice and the creation of an atmosphere. The story begins with you, Niko Bellic, coming from his homeland (still unknown, best guesses are Bosnia or Serbia) and coming to Liberty (New York) City to live temporarily with his cousin Roman. At first you just assume he was going to visit to see how America was and to experience some reuniting with his cousin but after the first couple of encounters you begin to realize there is more to Niko’s trip.
You also start to realize that Roman’s tales of gorgeous women, and his accounts of how great his life is in America, start to wash away and you see the true life Roman leads. Niko goes on the fast track of meeting the who’s who of Liberty City crime families. You start working for European gangsters, running some odd jobs for people who you begin to know through a ‘friend of a friend’. The creativity behind how you must complete these missions are amazing, at one point you have to post an ad on a gay matchmaker’s website to kill a gay dude who is ratting on the mob to the police. In another, you have to send an application to a law firm for an interview so that you can gain access to his building and assassinate him.
As the game goes on and on you discover more and more about the history Niko. You learn disturbing events that occurred to Niko and Roman and the village that they lived in. You find out that Niko has a vendetta against a specific individual in his life and has an undying urge for revenge. But Niko is not just a silent hit man who takes orders to kill anyone and everyone. You get to make more decisions, in what can be compared to a ‘Choose your own fate’ style video game, it allows Niko to come off as very ‘human’.
When it was all said and done, I had invested 28 hours into the main story line and the occasional side mission. 94 missions never felt more like a novel or film, and the last 3 hours worth of story line was so addicting that I almost considered calling off of work to finish the game to see what the hell was going to happen. At the end, you have a choice of either killing someone or working with them. That choice ends up costing the life of one of two people, and let me tell you. If i had the option, I would have gone back and changed my choice.
This story line is amazing and something that doesn’t need to be adapted into a movie, because this is a movie. This has the linear beginning to end, but at the same point doesn’t get monotonous or generic. You think you know where the game is going but it takes a turn and you’re left catching up.
Right off the bat you get to experience the controls of the game. Most notably the new driving physics, which are great and realistic but incredibly frustrating. If it starts to rain just park and wait for it to pass over. After awhile you acquire a cell phone which becomes your life line in the game. You use the phone to call for cabs, call for jobs or races, learn of when an employer wants you to do something, or even take pix messages. The newest combat feature though would be the cover system. Its a so called bare bones ‘Gears of War’ -esque, where u can cling to a wall and peer around the corner. It enables you so just don’t run into a room and get shot up like crazy.
The usual culprits of cars are there, you still have your no name cars that completely resemble real life cars. Your Porsche, Mustang (Banshee), they all still exist. There are still boats but there is no plane in this version, however they do have helicopters (which is an extremely fun time). The new interaction that was incorporated into the game was dating. Through the game you meet more and more women, and you met them online and depending on where you take them, your odds of being ‘invited inside’ grows.
The GPS device definately helps you go from mission to mission and helps you navigate through a surprisingly complex series of streets, bridges, and alley ways. The new ’star’ system shows you a set circle of where you need to go to get out of the the police’s radar. You see a flashing blue and red circle and once you drive out of that area and chill the police get lost. When there is one or two stars its pretty easy. But the difficulty curve jumps rather high when you get to 3+ stars.
- The greatest story I’ve experienced in a game that I’ve ever played
- The deepest city I’ve seen, not the biggest but the most ‘full’
- Niko is an awesome character, but there are at least 3-5 other characters who are either hysterical or you hate them, but either way they suck you into the story
- The graphics are not the best in the industry, but the city looks perfect
- Radio stations are better then ever
- I became connected to Niko and wanted to do more and more and without even worrying about money
- Perfect amount of achievements that are really hard and really easy and more put towards progression of the game and not just ‘gimmicky’
- Occasionally the frame rate drops off and it gets alittle blurry
- The problems with PS3 versions (and some X box) causes freezing and is really lame for a game that cost 100 million to produce.
- Made me not have a life for approximately 10 days