Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV Preview for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC
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10Out of 10
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The truck is loaded and I let rip, zooming in and out with up and down on the left thumb stick. Just for fun I switch to the rocket launcher and blind fire from within cover - the rockets spiral realistically, sometimes missing their target considerably. But I did manage to land one missile plum in the middle of a bunch of Triads guarding the truck - resulting in a hugely satisfying, ear-bursting explosion, with flying bodies, lots of blood and the odd burning corpse. Savage. With Packie in tow and the Triads safely disposed of, I drive the meds to the safe house and Ray - he says hi. This, I'm told, is the first time Niko meets a Mafia contact.

From my short time with the game I know that the combat in GTA 4 is the best of any GTA game. With the implementation of cover, full control of the targeting reticule and destructible environments, Rockstar has dragged the series kicking and screaming into the next-generation. It feels more satisfying, more tactical and more like the games we've loved playing over the last few years. With elements of Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas and Assassin's Creed, GTA 4 positively reeks of next-genness.

Some fans of the series will no doubt complain that these changes weren't needed, or make the game worse than its predecessors. But I disagree. A combat overhaul was, in my opinion, absolutely essential in order to keep the franchise relevant. The increased realism is welcome. But none of these changes have ruined what has stood the series in such good stead down the years - the freedom to do what you want, and have a blast at the same time.

There are still many unanswered questions - there's only so much info you can glean out of a couple of hours with a game. We know next to nothing about how the multiplayer works, for example. I'm assured info isn't far off though. The multiplayer will, of course, be an essential component in the overall GTA 4 experience, and it's absolutely imperative that Rockstar nails it.

We also know little about relationship building, which will also be extremely important in the game. Sure Niko can take women out on dates, and even get them in the sack, but what benefit will it bring? We know that improving relationships with certain people, like Roman and Little Jacob, will result in assistance (keep taking Roman out for drinks and he'll eventually offer you a completely free Liberty City wide taxi service, keep Little Jacob sweet and he'll give you weapons for nothing), but what can women like Michelle offer apart from questionably animated swinging hips?

Still, I've seen enough to know that GTA 4 is sure to blow the socks off anyone who's played GTA in the past. Indeed, I'm going to make a tentative claim and say it's shaping up to be the best in the series. But I still have some reservations. Liberty City does indeed feel more like a living, breathing place than ever before, but dig deep and you'll find that it's emptier than you might think. You can't enter most of the game's buildings or talk to 90% of the people you see. If you witness a crime you can stop and watch the event unfold, and even follow it through to an arrest - police will push the perpetrator's head down and bundle them into the back of cop car. While there are tonnes of people simply getting on with their lives, doing things like withdrawing money from cash machines and discussing the burning issues affecting the citizens of Liberty City, at the end of the day they act like the soulless automatons they truly are.

Does it matter? As I've said, this is GTA, not the latest JRPG. You can still nick a car, run over 50 pedestrians, climb a drainpipe, jump onto a train platform, slide into cover, blind-fire a rocket launcher, blow everything up and escape from the cops while throwing Molotov cocktails out of a sports car. Who needs levelling up when you've got this?

I leave Rockstar's London HQ gagging for more and I can't wait to blow the final version of the game open in one weekend-long blitz. Am I excited for GTA 4? Hell yeah. And you should be too.

GTA 4 will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on April 29 2008.

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Anonymous

Im getting it today horray!!! AT LAST!
Posted 00:26 on 18 July 2008
hihihihihihihi's Avatar
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hihihihihihihi

gta 4 rules!
Posted 23:59 on 17 July 2008
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canz

it really good you should play it
Posted 16:06 on 23 June 2008
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FIN_90

I wonder.. now when GTA4 is released, do u people have a life at all or do u spend all your time playing this ? Im sure its a good game but, c'mon guys.
Posted 21:32 on 20 May 2008
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dre

yo i mad i beat the game in 3 1/2 day but still fun after hit me up for tips o yea at the end kill dimitir
Posted 23:06 on 13 May 2008
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Krishna Kant

Dude, your review is rockinga nd filling me up to play this game now. what a crap, I don't have any X-box 360 or PS3. May i translate your review in Hindi, on my site?
Posted 20:10 on 12 May 2008
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Awesome

11 hours left sh*t!!
Posted 23:08 on 28 April 2008
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Anonymous

4 hours to go til the the local game store opens
Posted 18:51 on 28 April 2008
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ps dude

well atleast theres helcopters in gtaIII there was only a crappy dodo that only fluw for 2 secs and in liberty city stories nothing
Posted 08:11 on 28 April 2008
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ray

omg this game is so awsome only bad part is less buildings to go in and no talking to pepole
Posted 08:08 on 28 April 2008
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GTA player

lame, you dumbass whore dont you ever talk bad about any GTA ever again. you must be a freaking moron not to like GTA. thus shutting you up.
Posted 06:00 on 28 April 2008
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hydra

it wont be a dissapointment
Posted 23:02 on 24 April 2008
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hydra

why dont u guys read the article instead of asking us. the artilce tells u whether there is planes or not and what not.
but yea ive read jsut bout al there is to it. its gonna be unreal.
been counting down for months. not a lie.
o yea its got like 100 hours of gameplay b4 u beat it. so ill be playin it for longer than a month sparkky. it took me a year to beat gta III b/c i kept takin breaks from it and ive beaten san andreas 3 times. gta never gets old unless ur a diehard for rockstar games.
Posted 23:01 on 24 April 2008
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Jaded

I was hoping you would have stats you could spend points in ala The Godfather...oh well. And what's with Rockstar not wanting to push the envelope further with nudity? I'd kind of like to see an uncensored version, like they do with new movie releases, where you can buy either the toned down version or the x-rated version. Movie studios do this, why not gaming studios?
Posted 23:33 on 23 April 2008
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poo

cool
Posted 23:20 on 22 April 2008

Game Stats

Release Date: 29/04/2008
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 440
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