Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV Features for PC

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10Out of 10
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Grand Theft Auto 5 screenshot
Grand Theft Auto 5 screenshot

Since the day it was released, GTA 4 has had to contend with allegations that it simply isn't fun. Or, As Fun As It Used To Be. Gone were the jetpacks and dildos. In was bowling and keeping up relationships. No planes, no parachutes, no shenanigans.

It makes sense in the context of the game - Rockstar was trying to tell a far more restrained tale than in previous efforts. While we're happy that GTA 5 might be getting more outrageous, there's one element of part 4's more serious approach that should be kept the same: the handling of the cars.

In previous GTA games, navigating corners was simple - you pretty much just pressed left or right at the intersection, swinging round with minimal fuss. In GTA 4, it felt closer to a racing game: under and oversteer were big(ger) considerations; angle of approach, speed and deceleration were all important. It had to be learned.

This, obviously, did not go down well with many, as years of muscle memory worked against players, causing frustration and the sort of swearing that would make Malcolm Tucker proud (I can't wait to see the comments section later).

The fact is that, in the long run, being skilled at driving (or having a skilled driver) made for some outstanding chases in the the single-player. In multiplayer, it elevated what could have been a cool side feature into something else entirely.

The most obvious example is the excellent Cops 'n' Crooks mode, which pits one team as escaping mobsters, the other as chasing cops. A semi-random extraction point is set, and all the don's men had to do was get away.

Which was easier said than done. Choosing the right vehicle was all-important - the crooks start on foot, with the ever-closing sounds of sirens indicating how close the cops were getting. It's risk/reward, and at first seems horribly skewed towards the police.

Get a good driver, however, and it turns into one of the best multiplayer experiences of this generation. Weaving in and out of rush hour traffic while three passengers fire indiscriminately at the cops on their tail is better than pretty much any mission in the main game, and correctly picking your route to extraction - or failure - with another player setting the waypoints is still addictive to this day. It's an overused comparison, but this really was as close to that scene in Heat as you were going to get.

Grand Theft Auto 5 screenshot

One escape point is set in a house that belongs to a character from the main story. There's a helipad in the garden of his Alderney-based property: to get there, however, you need to make a call. Take the quicker, yet more dangerous subway, or power up through the highway and enter from the north? Or, if you were a true show-off, navigate the traffic - and construction work - of downtown and the financial district?

Either way, it led to a series of - shudder - emergent stories, as escapes were thwarted at the last, choppers tore into the night sky carrying barely rescued crooks, and cars piled up in the streets. What made those successes and failures so thrilling was that you had to fight for them.

This is why it would be such a shame if Rockstar chose to reduce the level of skill needed to successfully throw one of these things around a corner. Adjustments are fine, of course - certain cars did feel like they were turning akin to a boat.

But to reduce it to a level where it's too easy to navigate Los Santos' streets would be a huge disappointment. So many excellent multiplayer moments have been born out of the need to put a bit of effort into driving the cars - anything else would feel too basic in comparison.

With GTA 5 featuring a far bigger - and more diverse - play area, the handling will be of even more importance in those multiplayer matches. Liberty City was a marvel, but its topography doesn't really change, aside from the odd ill-advised jaunt onto grass.

Los Santos, with its urban and rural areas, is going to be a lot trickier - and as such more rewarding - to blaze across. I'm already looking forward to racing out of the city, up to the top of a mountain, before flinging my car off the top. Cops 'n' Crooks is already excellent: by keeping the handling model broadly as it is it will only get better in GTA 5.

That is, if Rockstar brings it back at all. We'll find out more in the coming months, as Rockstar unveils its suite of online modes.

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User Comments

SavageKidd72's Avatar


Grand Theft Auto 5 will feature vehicle custimisation which means you will most likely be able to adjust the handling yourself.It is confirmed that you can tune your engine,modify your brake, and small things like paint,rims,and body kits.Also there will be an impound where you can dind the cars you left on the street,BUT for a fee.There will also be no Pay'n'Spray it has been replaced with Los Santos Customs where all vehicle modifications will take place.

Posted 15:34 on 01 August 2013
jerkassstore's Avatar


GT4 car control felt like you were on ice. NOT GOOD obviously.
Posted 08:33 on 27 July 2013
Banks123's Avatar


Gta 4 is incredibly fun you obviously lack imagination to what you do when playing it.
Posted 13:41 on 17 July 2013
JimB22's Avatar

JimB22@ sharky

or at speed a slight bump in the road would mean an almost certain complete total, still i supposed it added to the thrill, the one main thing that pissed me off, is when you look in front of you and no traffic, look to the left or right for a split second and BAM!! 15 CARS SPAWNED AHEAD OF YOU!!! pissed me off so much,
Posted 16:40 on 11 July 2013
TenBensons's Avatar


So after watching the gameplay vid it looks like the driving is more rigid, which is a shame as the new driving model was one of the things I liked the most about GTA IV.
Posted 16:13 on 09 July 2013
dazzadavie's Avatar


I love the driving and loved the online racing. You had to break for corners you couldn't just fling the car round, you also had to take note of what you were driving. under-steer, over-steer, front wheel drive or rear wheel you had to know these things to get any where.
Posted 08:07 on 08 July 2013
AdesteFideles's Avatar

AdesteFideles@ Vwood


I stand by everything I said: GTA4 is vastly over rated.

It's just my opinion, it doesn't have to be yours or any one else's.

Whats more, I will add support to my view by mentioning the radical changes to story telling that will be brought in by Rockstar for GTA5. If Rockstar didn't think it was broken, they wouldn't be trying to fix it.

And please don't compare Dan Houser's writing to that of Steven Knight. One wrote Dirty Pretty Things and The Detectives, the other, well, didn't.

@snsadan One word replies are worthless in a debate and should be restricted to the schoolyard.
Posted 06:49 on 06 July 2013
Vwood's Avatar

Vwood@ AdesteFideles

You obviously never gave it the time it deserved or invested any effort in the story. One of my favourite parts of the game is when you are fresh off the boat and just doing taxi missions. . Niko comes over trying to make a fresh start but it goes wrong from the beginning (Roman having lied about everything, needing help with the loan sharks etc) . It's a classic story and a theme prevalent in many stories with an immigrant looking for a fresh start. Look at Eastern Promises, the same thing happens to Viggo Mortensen's character.

Get your facts straight before you post rubbish on the internet and moan about a game simply because it wasn't exactly the way you wanted it.
Posted 03:58 on 06 July 2013
snsadan's Avatar

snsadan@ AdesteFideles

Posted 03:31 on 06 July 2013
snsadan's Avatar


I completely agree. However, I would describe the style of driving as simply more realistic. San Andreas was fun but Rockstar has moved on to bigger, better, and more realistic things. It really wouldn't make sense to advertise what kind of cars are going to be in your game without representing them with good physics. I look forward to flying planes and base jumping but hopefully its at least in a somewhat realistic manner. Anyone who disagrees can go play Saints Row
Posted 03:24 on 06 July 2013
AdesteFideles's Avatar


I never had time to complain about GT4's driving. The dreary, over-serious, over-long and turgid mess that was the rest of the game killed any enjoyment at all within a few hours.

Of course, it wasn't helped at all with Niko "Personality Free Zone" Bellic as the protagonist.

The jarring disconnect between story and your actions within the story was never more apparent.

"Nico, why have you come to America?"
"I have come to put the past behind me. To make a new life away from the war torn country of my birth where I witnessed many atrocities that have left me scarred deeply"
"Nico, how will you put this terrible and sorrowful past behind you?"
"I will bang many chicks, do some drug running, join the Russian mafia, murder some guys, murder some more guys, steal some diamonds, murder even more guys. Oh, and kill as many policemen as I can. Did I mention I am really just looking for a better life?"

GTA4 was final proof that the story telling and pacing of the GTA games had come to a grinding halt. At times it felt that Dan Houser was writing the script from the inside of his own anus, sphincter tightly shut to the outside world, cocooned from all oversight and criticism, with only his own ego for company (and by "ego" I mean his own turds).

However, the fact that GTA5 will be a collection of inter-twined smaller stories gives me hope. Especially after the tour-de-force that was the Episodes From Liberty City. The Balled Of Gay Tony is the best thing Rockstar have ever done in the GTA universe.
Posted 00:27 on 06 July 2013
munkee's Avatar


I disagree. They simply weren't fun to drive. Technical, perhaps. But not in a fun way. Dirt 3 is a technical racing game, but accessible , rewarding and acts incredibly well under its own rules of physics at high speed. GTAIV cars were awful on the corners, bouncy on the humps, awkward at speed and the Liberty City map was uninviting for people who wanted some good, high speed chases as it pretty much consisted of right-angled city blocks (much like NYC) littered with dense traffic.

Just as the euphoria physics engine in the pedestrians was unwieldy, the cars didn't feel attached correctly to the environments. I don't think that you were learning an incredibly well designed driving model. I think you we're getting really good at controlling a substandard one.

In fairness I'm not blaming it entirely on the driving mechanic in the cars. I think the city was as much to blame.

Make the cars more playful and let us loose on better roads. San Andreas is a FAR better location for driving fast. It was last generation too.
Posted 00:07 on 06 July 2013


The thing I found worst about GTA IV was that in multiplayer, people had the ability in the lobby to boot the host.

I mean seriously. I quite enjoyed the helicopter races (I quite like flying, didn't you know), so I would start a game for that.
People would join via matchmaking, not want do a helo race and subsequently vote to kick me out of my own damn lobby rather than leaving and searching for another game!
Absolutely mental.
Posted 00:06 on 06 July 2013
sproesser's Avatar


I agree that the handling in GTA 4 was one of it's best qualities. I think the complaints made against it are from gamers who lack patience. I really hope it stays in the realm of simulation style physices. I feel arcade drivers needs better and more challenging physics too. My argument for it is GTA 4. None of the arcade style drivings games that have caome along since are as fun as GTA 4. I also think getting rid of the excessive use of solid barriers in driving games is way over due.
Posted 22:59 on 05 July 2013
sharky's Avatar


that's some pretty controversial ***** steve, but i know it's not trolling because i totally agree. Being a good driver in IV felt earned and definitely showed in mp. I was surprised how many times i would catch the crooks even after a bad start.
It wasn't perfect though like you say with the boatlike cars and the physics were pretty poor since it was way too easy to roll a car off a kerb.
Posted 18:40 on 05 July 2013

Game Stats

System Requirements
Release Date: 21/11/2008
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-32
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 48 7
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