Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV Preview for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC
Review Verdict Read Review
10Out of 10
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"Where's the best place for putting my foot down?" I ask my Rockstar guide, a smirk creeping across my face. "Probably Algonquin," he replies. Algonquin, Liberty City's version of Manhattan, it is then. And so I slowly work my way towards the Three Boroughs Bridge, trying desperately to avoid attention. I don't want to so much as nick this baby, it's just too damn sexy to ruin.

I pass through the toll station, slowing down by the barrier like a good citizen. Niko reaches out and pops a couple of dollars into the machine. The barrier comes up, I travel through, and I'm there. Algonquin is densely packed, with spiralling skyscrapers, imposing government offices, heavy traffic and plenty of people enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather. But up North the population starts to thin, the roads start to empty and my finger starts to twitch. I'm in the Banshee - GTA 4's coolest, baddest, shiniest, fastest car. I jacked it from some loser back in Dukes (Queen's) as soon as Mr Rockstar spied it. So now, with some lovely, clear, wide open road in front of me, I put my foot down.

It's fast. Super fast. And incredibly hard to control. I press B (I'm playing the Xbox 360 version of the game) to check out the Banshee from cool cinematic angles. I need to break absolutely ages before I take a corner. Turning feels like trying to move a metal mountain. This baby needs care, clearly, and no small amount of skill. It's not long before I've bust it up pretty bad - showing off the real-time vehicle damage in all its glory. Soon it's dragging to the right, and slowing down. For shame. I've ruined GTA 4's most glorious car. Ah well. I'm sure another one isn't too far away.

Anti-climactic speeding notwithstanding, my lack of driving skill has highlighted perhaps the most important point Rockstar North is trying to make with 2008's most hyped game - that GTA 4 will be the most realistic GTA ever.

I could see glimpses of the fact during my trip to Rockstar's London HQ to get a first-look at the game back in January. But seeing it is different to feeling it. Now, finally, I have my grubby mitts on an Xbox 360 pad and I'm moving Niko about, causing havoc and tearing up Liberty City all by myself. And it feels great.

You can see the added realism in every digital inch of Liberty City, eking out like virtual sweat. Crash into a lamp post and it will tear concrete from the pavement, sparks flying and wires dancing in incredibly realistic detail. Driving around Broker (Brooklyn) with the weed-smoking Rastafarian gangster Little Jacob in the passenger seat might draw unwanted attention, especially if the car windows have been smashed from a particularly rough car chase. Explore any of the city's many hospitals (where you'll respawn if you're killed) and you'll come across water coolers. Fire at these and water will spill out of the holes you've made in the plastic. The "fantasy" vehicles have all been removed. Gone are the tanks, aeroplanes, parachutes, jet packs and bicycles. Cars, choppers, motorbikes and boats survive the chop. Vehicle damage is detailed and has a real impact on the handling of your car. If your tyres are shot out sparks will fly and you'll slowly grind to a halt. If you smash up the front of the car it will start to die. Ram from the side and it will drag left or right. Vehicles won't explode automatically when they're upturned either. If you're cornered by the cops you can try to run away, Police, Camera, Action!-style after you've put your hands in the air. All this and we haven't even got to talking about relationship building, one of GTA 4's gameplay cornerstones.

Still though, GTA 4 is no Holodeck. During my few hours of hands-on time I experienced plenty "oh yeah, this is still a game" moments that reminded me that, despite Rockstar North's efforts, Liberty City still plays by virtual rules.

Pull a gun on a random bystander, perhaps someone casually walking down a street, or withdrawing money from a cash machine, or sitting on a bench reading a newspaper, and they'll either run away or cower - and that's it. Cause death-filled carnage in an area, drive the cops absolutely crazy, escape their line of sight and search radius (visible in the mini-map in the bottom left hand corner of the screen) and then return to that area, and everything will be returned to normal. Fail a mission and you'll be sent a text message offering you the chance to reset and retry. I'm not criticising the game here. I'm just saying that you shouldn't expect a virtual world simulation. Liberty City is quick to react, but it has a hard time remembering.

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User Comments

Anonymous's Avatar
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Im getting it today horray!!! AT LAST!
Posted 00:26 on 18 July 2008
hihihihihihihi's Avatar
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gta 4 rules!
Posted 23:59 on 17 July 2008
canz's Avatar
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it really good you should play it
Posted 16:06 on 23 June 2008
FIN_90's Avatar
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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
dre's Avatar
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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
Krishna Kant's Avatar
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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
Awesome's Avatar
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11 hours left sh*t!!
Posted 23:08 on 28 April 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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4 hours to go til the the local game store opens
Posted 18:51 on 28 April 2008
ps dude's Avatar
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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
ray's Avatar
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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
GTA player's Avatar
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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
hydra's Avatar
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it wont be a dissapointment
Posted 23:02 on 24 April 2008
hydra's Avatar
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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
Jaded's Avatar
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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
poo's Avatar
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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: 883 75
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