Review: Grand Theft Auto IV -- Part 2

Filed under: , by: Grundy the Man

The epic 3-part review continues...

Addressing The Critics

Past entries in the GTA III series have been criticized because of their cartoony graphics and physics systems that felt like you were living on the moon. That is definitely not the case with this installment. Every step, altercation, and hairpin turn reacts like you would expect it to happen in the real world.

Speaking of a real world... GTA IV silences all the past complaints that Liberty City being nothing more than non realistic and repetitive environments. They have gone above and beyond in the areas of density, detail and realism. There was such detail put into the city, that you would be hard pressed to find a single art asset that is reused. In a miracle of engineering, these environments stream dynamically from the disc, making load times almost nonexistent.

Taking realism one step further, every randomly generated citizen walking down the street seems unique. There is no cookie cutter character models to be found, even down to the variation in the intonation of their voice. Each person seems to be going about their daily lives, and you are just taking part in it. The bystanders will react to what you are doing, even going as far as to make disparaging comments about your driving, calling 9-1-1 when a crime is occurring, or asking if a person is OK when they are knocked to the ground.

Another issue present in past GTA's was the driving system seemed unrealistic and became monotonous through the course of the game. To combat this, Rockstar Games created a taxi system that is available at any point. This will allow you to get from location to location without ever having to drive. During the taxi ride you get to relax and enjoy the scenery. If a player is willing to pay more money, the entire trip can be skipped, in favor of instantly arriving at their desired location. However, if you do decide to drive you will have the opportunity to once again see the work that has been put into giving life to Liberty City. Rockstar's attention to detail was so high that other drivers will start honking at you if you hold up the flow of traffic.

A last critique that is solved in GTA IV is the combat and shooting mechanics. Prior titles featured a press and pray combat engine. This consisted of pressing the trigger and praying to God that it hit the enemy you were pointing at. More often then not, this system was an utter failure. Skip forward to 2008 and now Niko will take cover, survey the battlefield and shoot down enemies using a gun play system similar to what is seen in Mass Effect or Gears of War. The combat engine has be redesigned from the ground up and is much improved over the past iterations in the series.

Below is the third trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV --
"Move Up, Ladies":

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final installment in this three-part review feature.