Review: Grand Theft Auto IV -- Part 3

Filed under: , by: Grundy the Man

The never-ending review concludes...

Mission Structure

The process to receive missions remains mainly unchanged from past games. Normally, all you need to do to get a mission is go and meet with one of the many characters shown on your map. In another way of mixing things up a bit, you can receive cell phone calls from people that have "errands" for you to run. Early on, Niko will only have the opportunity to take part in small time drug trafficking and assassinations. As the story progresses he moves onto the more exciting missions like prison breaks and bank robbery.

There is a wide variety of jobs to choose from and moving from mission to mission helps progress the storyline at a steady pace, leaving the playing wanting more. Also worth noting is that there are hundreds of side quests that are available that have no effect on the plot of the game. These tend to be a welcome distraction from the intensely gritty storyline.


With all the things that this game does right, there are areas where the game tends to fall flat. First of all, the production values of the cut scenes seem extremely polished in the beginning, but dwindle as the game goes on. It almost seems like the developers intentionally beefed the graphics up early until the player is grabbed by the plot. Near the end of the game this is especially evident when cut scenes consist of a hyper-detailed Niko and another character that looks like a department store mannequin. The contrast blatantly sticks out and could pull a player out of the experience.

The other main complaint that I have is the supposed branching storyline. On several occasions you get the chance to make a choice over who to kill or whether to let a person live or die. When these decisions are made, they seem to have very little effect on the overall outcome of the game, other than what person appears in the next cut scene. I would have liked to see these decisions have more of a long term effect on the story.

Final Judgment

While it is not necessarily perfect, Grand Theft Auto IV is the most complete package of story, game play and depth available on the market. The amount of thought and detail shines through, as it creates a realistic environment that you actually want to spend time in. I can attest to this, as it took me almost three months and over fifty hours to complete the game. The sense of humor and social commentary within the game kept me coming back for more.

What blows my mind is that while I have finished the campaign, the progress bar says I still have twenty two percent of the game left to complete! There is so much content squeezed on the disc, that it would truly be a feat to achieve one hundred percent completion. Fortunately, for those playing the game on Xbox 360, the story of Niko Bellic is far from over. The Xbox 360 will be receiving two exclusive downloadable content packs over the next year.

Grand Theft Auto IV is one of the few games that not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it. This is a landmark title that should be the cornerstone of every gamers' collection. There couldn't be a better argument for games as a form of art. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Below is the fourth trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV --
"Everyone's A Rat":