Grand Theft Auto IV: Exceeds Every Expectation

I love a rainy night

Liberty City does for contemporary cities what Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion did for medieval fantasyscapes. Between the city's poshest gated communities and grimiest industrial haunts, though, it's really the little things that stand out. It's the guy standing on the corner who hands you a Ben Franklin while coked out of his mind and sharing like a socialist. It's pulling 100 miles an hour down Shoreside Lift Bridge with Pete Townshend and company stomping out "The Seeker" on LRR 97.8 Liberty Rock Radio. It's cruising police scanners in stolen cop cars for info on potential targets -- even yourself. And it's the way the camera lens beads up when you pull it south in a downpour, and your field of view fishbowls as if to reach out and embrace the panoramic skyline. Since we're talking a smidgen about visuals, I know that some of you won't sleep without a verdict on versions, so here's mine: Pick the Xbox 360 for crisper edges and less saturated colours, but choose the PS3 version for an overall smoother and more colour-rich (but noticeably blurrier) look. Also, Microsoft wants you to think that the 360 version is getting content that the PS3 won't, but my guess is that Sony has its own expanded-content plans waiting quietly in the wings -- so be wary about picking a version on that basis alone.

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