Grand Theft Auto is arguably one of the most profitable franchises in the video game market. While I’m not sure what this says about society as a whole, in the end, all the bad press that the game receives seems to follow the “No Press is Bad Press” rule as each title rockets to a record-breaking sales high. But, it’s been a while since a true upgrade to the Grand Theft Auto Series. Ever since GTA3 we’ve seen similar graphics with only a few added gameplay mechanics. San Andreas did go one step further and offer character customization as well as wide-open areas in between the cities, which was really a hit or miss feature. But now, we have it: Grand Theft Auto IV – the next-gen GTA title that’s got euphoria physics and a major graphics overhaul. This game has been hyped endlessly, so let’s just get right in and see what’s going on with it!
The first thing you’ll notice with this game is that the writing has stayed in about the same, comfortable place it’s been all along. You play the story’s “protagonist” (read Murderous Psycho), Niko and you’ve just immigrated to Liberty City. You find out very early on that your cousin’s romantic stories about how well he was doing are not so accurate and you find yourself quite low on the pecking order. Anyone who’s played a previous GTA game above the third one knows that this is how the story slates progression, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Moreover, with GTA 5 USB mod menu, playing GTA has never been this amazing. So if you haven’t tried it yet, you must before it’s too late.
The gameplay in this game is much like you’d expect, but now it’s got some really yummy next-gen graphics. First off, the addition of ragdoll physics to this game was a must. You can’t have a massively open sandbox game and have no ragdoll physics. The physics are powered by the Euphoria motion engine, so they look quite believable and smooth. As you tear across the city you’ll notice a few difficulties, however, to this otherwise almost perfect game. For one, the handling on the vehicles is too prone to break traction. You’ll find yourself correcting constantly as your vehicle breaks traction on the simplest of turns. This does get old, but you also learn to compensate for it. The second thing that’s noticeable is that the blur from speeding around in the game makes it very hard to see what is ahead of you. This is intensely frustrating and can give you a headache over time as you fail to be able to make out what’s in the distance like Niko is far-sighted.
The audio in GTA IV is no less compelling than any of the other GTA series. The sounds of the city fill the air and make everything seem crisp and alive. All of the voice actors in the game are on par with the last few games. Some of the Russian accented English does get kind of weird and feels rather weak over time. Other than that though, you’ll definitely be hearing a lot of high-quality audio as you run through the city.
Overall, this title is most definitely worthy of the GTA IV franchise and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. It’s also important to note that the PC version will be coming out soon, and it will be interesting if they fix any of the outstanding visual or gameplay issues in that, or perhaps upgrade them.