Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV Preview for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
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 brake 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

RaZoR_GTX's Avatar

RaZoR_GTX

I think it still has helicopters! Well i hope so, imagine you and your buddy's joy riding in them! lol Fly by's here we come :excited: :laugh:
Posted 11:52 on 18 April 2008
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Jeton

GTA IV MIGHT NOT HAVE PLANES BUT IT HAS THE GRAPHICS AND THE FUN IT HAD IN OTHER GTA TITLES
Posted 20:35 on 17 April 2008
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jETON

ITS A XBOX 360 HANDS ON AND ITS GOING TO BE WICKED
Posted 20:34 on 17 April 2008
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la_dee_da

no tanks just loke COD4 - but it wasnt necessary - the game made up for it in other ways.. nice unbiased review ty
Posted 15:27 on 15 April 2008
RaZoR_GTX's Avatar

RaZoR_GTX

AARGH! 15 days too gooo! You know what i find amazing.....there has been NO gameplay videos leaked on youtube or anywhere else! OMG :| ! The suspense is killing me!:scared: :excited: :drool:
Posted 18:12 on 14 April 2008
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appleby

carnt wait ill b der 2 hours early
Posted 18:04 on 14 April 2008
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Rico

Sparkky I actually do know a game i was hyped about. Call of Duty 4 & Halo 3. I still play both a lot and its been more than a month. I can tell you that they will still be played even with GTA:IV out. Just after I'm done beating it :]]

Top Three games in order: GTA:IV. Call Of Duty: 4, & Halo 3

GT: Integra R 2001 add it if you wanna play online on the 29th cause thats where ill be :]]
Posted 03:45 on 14 April 2008
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you

Sunny, you should work on being a pro at spelling son. Lol, you suck.
Posted 22:05 on 12 April 2008
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sparkky

why do u guys get so hyped? you know when you get it, no matter how good it is, your gonna hate it in a month. can you think of a game you were this hyped for in the past and now you couldnt care about. i can. just chill, let it get here and then play it, hype it up too much, and you gonna be dissapointed.
Posted 18:25 on 12 April 2008
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Moslem Electro

o my my my... i so cant wait for this! i really wish i had a ps3:( if anyone out there has one for me it would be a pleasure to take it from u. so let me know k:) anyway i love gta... i remba my first gta, i stole the disk from my homie at school when i was grage 6 hahahaha... i love gta! it ****n rocks my sox out of a freakn box yeah! im so inlove with gta...
Posted 08:46 on 09 April 2008
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bob

to my head and my dad and my mom thay canit get it beacuse im 9 years old cry i wish i can get it i now all about it i look at it on tv
Posted 19:08 on 06 April 2008
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bob

no you cant fly plane
Posted 19:04 on 06 April 2008
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DJ DEF CON

I'm getting the SE pack of GTA IV and I've already paid for it,
I really cant wait for this game to come out it looks wicked
Posted 03:46 on 06 April 2008
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jon_melon

Can't wait! O my god!
Posted 16:13 on 26 March 2008
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Chuck

add me at PS3 nick: Swe_Cutlass
Posted 17:03 on 16 March 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 29/04/2008
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 205 12
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