First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV
Take to the streets of Liberty City
- It's the best GTA ever, in all ways. If you thought the other GTA titles were impressive, just wait until you get your hands on GTA IV. We're serious. In terms of city size, gameplay mechanics, mission types, narrative story and user empowerment, GTA IV is without a doubt the finest distillation of the GTA formula yet. In short, the game succeeds on pretty much every level. That's not hyperbole, people: it's fact.
- There aren't many things wrong with the game. But if we had to nitpick, the story gets weighed down at points by the introduction of too many characters. You practically need a program to keep track of who's who and what's what. The trademark "GTA glitches" also abound. Clipping issues and other wonky behaviour will have you either rolling your eyes or laughing your ass off. But as far as negatives go, that's about it. Even if there are other problems, you'll be too busy having the time of your life to care.
We don't believe you when you say you haven't bought it yet.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
I get around,/h2>
Liberty City is an intricately designed city; normally, this would make it difficult to navigate except for one thing: every car in GTA IV has built-in GPS navigation, which makes getting around the city a snap. It works exceptionally well, accounting even for one-way streets. It also comes in handy when you to evade police detection: a new "wanted level" system eliminates cop bribes of the past. Now, it's all about line of sight. Commit a crime and a flashing circular zone that represents the nearest pursuing officer's zone of sight lights up your radar; escape that area without being seen by another cop and you're golden. If you're on foot, a parked car will sometimes be your only way out, but be warned that you'll need a few seconds to hotwire it, and the nicer the car, the longer it takes to spark up. And of course, in a pinch, running your car through a Pay N' Spray can quickly get you out of a jam.
Cars are as fast and loose as ever, making super jumps and motorcycle wheelies a nice distraction unless, of course, you get stuck behind the wheel of a behemoth like a garbage truck or an eighteen-wheeler. Boats can also provide an easier getaway should you need to get wet to ditch the heat and helicopters offer up a nice aerial view of the city, as well as access to some out of the way places.
Public enemy number one
One other thing I loved about GTA IV: considering the fact that it's been a target of political and media pundits who keep harping on the infamous "Hot Coffee" incident, it's understandable to think that Rockstar might tone down the adult themes in GTA IV. But thankfully, that didn't happen. This is a mature game, and a devilishly good one at that. It never makes concessions in the name of being politically correct, living up to its M-rating with gusto there's tons of swearing, violence and sexual innuendo. You can visit strip clubs and pick up prostitutes there is no nudity from what I could tell, so don't get your hopes up.
As for the game's faults, there aren't many. As I mentioned, the standard GTA glitches like clipping still plague the game. And even though the plot line is simpler than previous GTA games, it still gets cluttered at times, with a glut of characters entering the scene; it can be tough to keep track of exactly why things are happening and to whom. Of course, this is offset by the fact that the game remains entertaining throughout and a new character introduction is usually a precursor to a set of missions that proves to be more fun that the last.
Give me liberty or give me death
I could talk on endlessly about what makes GTA IV such an awesome game, but really, the only way to know is to experience it for yourself. It truly is the product of game design at its finest. In Liberty City, Rockstar has created a gritty yet lifelike atmosphere that is the perfect complement to the fun missions that drive the game. The graphics are on par with the best of this generation and the audio shines with a soundtrack that is arguably better than San Andreas my personal favourite was the reggae station dedicated to Bob Marley. And I didn't even mention the massive multiplayer component which adds a ridiculous amount of value to what is already the must own game of 2008.
Any way you slice it, Niko Belic journey through Liberty City and his quest for answers to his shadowy past is an experience you just cannot afford to miss. Rockstar has created one hell of a vehicle that's driven by a compelling story, memorable characters and amazing gameplay. All you have to do is pick up the controller and enjoy the ride.
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