Grand Theft Auto IV
- It's the best GTA ever, in all ways. That's not hyperbole, people: it's fact.
- 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.
Any way you slice it, Niko Belic's 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.
Price$ 119.95 (AUD)
Of course, the variety of missions and weaponry speaks to one basic truth: the GTA franchise has always been about choice and empowering the gamer, concepts that GTA IV takes to an entirely new level. The game offers you a lot of freedom and gives you opportunities to make a lot of decisions. Some are trivial — which type of car you decide to take on a mission, for instance — while others have serious implications; I won't ruin any surprises, but let's just say that there will be times when you will have to think long and hard before you take aim and pull the trigger. It's no exaggeration to say that GTA IV provides each gamer with his or her own personal gaming experience.
Thankfully, the game's presentation has received a major upgrade, making your time with the game feel far more intuitive and fluid. A prime example of this is Niko's smartphone, an all-in-one device that acts a telephone, organiser, and text- and picture-messaging device; it delivers pertinent information but never takes you out of the game — you never need to access a submenu or hit pause. Contacts call you, and alternatively, you can call them, to initiate missions. Text messages keep you informed with quick updates and picture messages prove vital to locating specific targets. You can even use the device to replay failed missions, which is a welcome feature. And of course, in typical Rockstar style, the developers allow you to customise the smartphone with new backgrounds and ringtones, both of which can be downloaded through Liberty City's in-game Internet.
The city is alive...
But as interesting as those refinements are, and as interesting a character as Niko is, the true star of this show is undoubtedly Liberty City itself. The thriving metropolis seems to have a life of its own, with crowded streets and incredibly interactive pedestrians. Bump a woman on a sidewalk and she might drop her coffee, as well as a few expletives. Run over a mailbox and a fountain of mail will spew into the wind. Other GTA games have featured memorable locales, but none can match the detail, size and scope of GTA IV's Liberty City. Sure, those patented GTA glitches — clipping, texture pop-in, and the like — still abound, but they can't take away from the majesty and beauty of the metropolis.
There's something interesting waiting around every corner, a feat that no other game has been able to accomplish before. Steal a car and a police officer might attempt to drag you out; but push on the gas and you'll leave the unlucky copper hanging onto the open door for dear life. As you duck and weave around traffic, he'll slowly lose his grip and his body will flail around every turn until he eventually gives up. It's the little details like that that makes GTA IV more than just a great game. In other words, the story and the gameplay are the cake and the little details serve as the delicious frosting.
I get around
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 the 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 18-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.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
- Microsoft's Phantom Dust remaster brings the cult Xbox classic to PCs, for free
- This year's Steam Summer Sale dates have already leaked
- How to play the Quake Champions open beta this weekend
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- CCSharepoint Analyst / DeveloperQLD
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- FTIT Field Services ManagerNSW
- TPETL DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Control Analyst - PMONSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- FTSalesforce ConsultantQLD
- FTTest Analyst - Application TestingACT
- CCInfrastructure Test ManagerNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCC++ DeveloperNSW
- FTTest Manager / Test LeadQLD
- TPProject Manager - SOE / Office 365VIC
- FTSystem Engineer - VMWare, UCS, NetAppVIC
- FTSenior System EngineerNSW
- CCIdentity Access Management - Business AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- FTWEB DesignerQLD
- FT.NET DeveloperNSW
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW