Enough options already. Back to the action. I find Lenny on a train platform (you'll be able to use trains to get around Liberty City if you don't like driving). My mini-map, via a black arrow, showed he was positioned above me. After climbing stairs (Niko can only jog up stairs, not sprint) I trigger a short cutscene where Lenny and his goons start blabbering after I tell him I'm here to kill him. Like a foolish beginner I haven't equipped my Uzi in anticipation of things kicking off. Lenny and his goons dispatch me like the noob I am. I respawn at a nearby hospital, more determined than ever.
Searching for a car to nick I discover a little more about how Niko will interact with the people of Liberty City. Press B while walking in a crowd for an Assassin's Creed style push. But don't expect people to just take your aggressiveness - a push is counted as a violent act, and they will fight back. Start a fight with some randoms on the street and, if a cop spots you, they will try to arrest you.
Time to try and kill Lenny again. This time I remember to equip my Uzi before I trigger the cutscene - I take care of his goons and Lenny makes a run for it, jumping in a car and speeding off. I nick the closest car available and speed off in pursuit, wildly firing from the car window. A few lucky shots later and Lenny slumps forward, his car slowly grinding to a halt - I've hit him through the rear window and in the back of the head. Nice.
I now skip further forward to the fourth and final mission of my hands-on. This mission, called Harbouring a Grudge, begins in Dukes and ends in a dock in Algonquin. Niko has befriended a man nicknamed Packie (Patrick McReary) - one of a family of Irish thugs. We're in a car together, on our way to a job. I pass a TWAT - Totally Wireless @ internet cafe - Liberty City's chain of Internet cafes. I ask about how they will work. There will be plenty of websites on it, from news reporting on the chaos you're causing to more general stuff. There will be email access too - for one mission which requires you to go to an interview with a lawyer you'll need to submit your CV via email in TWAT. I'm told that GTA 4's Internet will look a lot like Rockstar's very own real life GTA 4 website, and will have an effect on gameplay. But I'm also told that TWAT will mainly be of interest for completists, suggesting you won't have to spend time surfing a fake version of the web if you don't want to.
I drive Packie to the Algonquin docks. Packie is very chatty, offering lots of life advice - most missions in GTA 4 are explained by accomplices as you drive to the job, keeping pad down time to a minimum. I'm told that if you repeat the game's missions the dialogue changes each time (there's about four dialogue versions for each mission). But repeat too many times and Packie, for example, will say he's bored of talking and asks if he can listen to the radio. It's a nice touch, and should help to keep things fresh, especially during repeated attempts of the more difficult missions.
Turns out that Ray, the Italian mafia guy we talked about in our GTA 4 first look, has tipped Packie off that the Triads are expecting a boat to arrive at the Algonquin docks with some interesting cargo. Ray wants him to wait for the Triads to load the cargo into a truck, steal the truck then get it to a safe house. In exchange he'll split the profits and, as you'd expect, help Niko raise some much-needed cash.
Packie advises you get to high ground in order to provide sniper support. It's here that I discover some elements of Ubisoft's own assassination sandbox Assassin's Creed have made their way into GTA 4. Niko can climb with X, shimmy left and right with the left stick, jump up with another press of X and drop with Y. Right now Niko's legs look terrible as he inches towards a fire escape that will enable him to get up on a roof top. But I'm reassured that Rockstar North is hard at work redoing this animation so it looks much more realistic when the game is released.
In position, the boat arrives with what Packie reveals are meds. As I wait for the transfer, I notice the graphical quality of the water - reflections are impressive and it ripples realistically. It looks like Liberty City's lakes and rivers will be one of GTA 4's most impressive graphical accomplishments.