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

sweden's Avatar
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sweden

OMG its so cool! I'm gonna play nonstop 50hrs!!!!
Posted 16:57 on 15 March 2008
ColbsDawg's Avatar
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ColbsDawg

this game is going to be so cool. ive been counting down the days to April 29 for over a week now, it feels like a year tho.
After what Saints Row stole from this game GTAIV can steal their throwing grenades out windows, and their dirty cars.
I think that GTA4 will be way better than SR1, but the graphics ive seen in SR2 are better.
graphics arent everything tho so im gonna wait for both games to get released before saying which is better.
Im getting both anyway. GTAIV and SR2 rule!!!!!
Posted 06:19 on 12 March 2008
mr boston's Avatar
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mr boston

gta4 is gona blow halo 3 outa the water, with sales. lets make a game that only last 8-10 hours then return it, halo 3, wow its must of been worth tha wait.
Posted 17:31 on 11 March 2008
boston dave's Avatar
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boston dave

As the eagle-eyed amongst you may already have picked up, GTA4 will feature strip clubs. The game will however, also feature comedy clubs to give you something else to spend your hard earned cash on, no doubt. These comedy clubs are "enough to make your head spin" according to the article, however Edge magazine weren't allowed to say any more than that.
You'll see plenty of jets and aeroplanes taking off and landing at the airport. Edge Magazine's play tester drove alongside these jets, and pilots could be seen inside the cockpit of the planes. A warning however... Getting this close to the aeroplanes gave him an instant 4 star wanted level!
Slight multiplayer details include Sam Houser saying that you will be able to get together in-game online with no other objective than sitting in a car, listening to music and driving around the city as you please. Will the full city be unlocked for multiplayer free roam? We can only hope.
You can tell if a car is new or not by it's paintjob. Brand spanking new cars will have a gleaming paint job, while older cars will be dirty and rusty.
Bullet holes are permanent on cars, as is dirt, so be careful what you're doing with your prized vehicles.
You can rip chunks of plaster out of interior walls with gunfire
Posted 17:20 on 10 March 2008
cav's Avatar
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cav

wow so cant wait it will be awsome lets face it gta always is, sad to here you cant buy property and design your own outfits bummer that but it will still be so cool bring on the sleepless nights!!!!!!
Posted 21:45 on 09 March 2008
Hates Consoles's Avatar
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Hates Consoles

They better make it for PC, because if it onlly comes out for consoles I will be really upset with Rockstar. I can't stand consoles for too many reasons and I have bought every single Rockstar game for PC. Often when I play on consoles I am very disapointed with the games, the controls, and the AI interaction.

Great review anyways! Very interesting and entertaining!
Posted 20:27 on 07 March 2008
Always right's Avatar
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Always right

this game is gonna beat down all other games I assure you, but don't hype yourselves up too much over this because if you do it could be very disappointing
Posted 16:02 on 07 March 2008
JayB's Avatar
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JayB

gta2 been out for years u muppet lol
Posted 03:31 on 05 March 2008
dave's Avatar
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dave

ya i cant wait till gta2 comes out
Posted 20:07 on 04 March 2008
...'s Avatar
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...

"an you fly planes in this??if not its no san andreas" - no you twat, read more than 1 preview. No one cares that there are no planes in it, **** off.
Posted 17:37 on 03 March 2008
srinik790i's Avatar

srinik790i

gta4 map is biger then san andreas ?
Posted 16:39 on 03 March 2008
Adam's Avatar
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Adam

Is this Xbox 360 or PS3 hands-on?
Posted 00:39 on 03 March 2008
Sunny's Avatar
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Sunny

YEAAA COMIN SOOOONNNN....CANT WAIT.....I AM PRO AT GTA...BEAT EVERYONE!!
BETTER THE EVERRYYYONNE
Posted 23:18 on 02 March 2008
gromy's Avatar

gromy

can you fly planes in this??if not its no san andreas
Posted 21:26 on 02 March 2008
srinik790i's Avatar

srinik790i

super game

gta4 is always 1st and best game
Posted 09:04 on 02 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: 227
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