Back to the assault on the Mafia. Just before you start shooting 'em up we noticed another of those nice little touches. Depending on your distance from a vehicle, if the radio is playing you'll hear it. Move close and the sound gets louder. Move away and it slowly fades out. And, get this, if you fancy a booming hard rock soundtrack to accompany the on-foot carnage, you can whip out your mobile, tune in to a thrash metal station and have it play on loudspeaker. Nice.
The combat itself looks fluid and fun, and not particularly heavy on the strategy. It's a case of moving from cover to cover, chucking grenades and letting rip with the shotgun at anyone foolish enough to rush you. There's lots of action, lots of goons to take down and plenty of exploding barrels to add to the carnage. The job-based on-foot sections of GTAIV look like being extremely action intensive.
Our demo now skips to a mission late in the game. Niko is with Rey, a Mafia-type character friend of his who has been helping him search for "that special someone". Niko didn't come to Liberty City just because his cousin Roman promised him a better life. Niko has his own, personal motive. He wants to find "that special someone" we're told (Rockstar won't elaborate on this), and Rey has been helping him do it.
He brings Niko to see Phil Bell, a big-cheese Mafia gangster. A cut-scene kicks in which is ripped straight out of the Analyse This script book. "The thing?" "What thing?" "You know the thing, with the thing." "Oh the thing. Yeah what about it." "Badda beep badda boop." Turns out the Triads want to offload some heroin they believe is cursed, and, since Rey has turned down the job, Phil offers it to you. Off you trot.
On the way another nice little touch catches our eye. Cars have sat-navs, as you'd expect, which explains how Niko is able to set waypoints on the main map and have directions appear in the main HUD mini-map. But that's not all. In certain "better" vehicles, if you strain hard enough, you'll be able to hear a sexy female sat-nav voice tell you to turn left, or turn right, in lovely, dulcet tones.
Eventually Niko gets to where he needs to be. It's night now (Rockstar's demo dude was able to change the time of day at will to show off the game's lighting and weather effects). The moon is high in the sky and is casting shadows on the ground. There's what seems like a million stars looming overhead. But Niko hasn't got time for all of that. He's concentrating on stealing a truck filled with heroin from an army of Triads.