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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Grand Theft Auto IV

GAME DETAILS
Released
28 April 2008
Format
Xbox 360, PS3
Developer
Rockstar Games

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Grand Theft Auto IV


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Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Review
Let's get one thing straight: GTA IV doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. The much-anticipated next-gen incarnation boasts the same mission-based structure as its predecessors, is crammed with a similar cache of challenges and sees no need to retool the freeform, sandbox adventure pioneered by the series back in 1998. What GTA IV does do is polish every facet of the franchise to perfection – from the bustling streets and cinematic presentation, to the brutal gunplay and dizzying car chases – in turn creating the ultimate GTA, a game that will delight the hardcore and newbies alike, and a title virtually guaranteed to be 2008’s biggest videogame.

Ditching the series’ over-the-top badasses in favour of a realistic, downtrodden anti-hero, GTA IV adopts a more mature and less frivolous approach to its murderous plot, a move that will be welcomed by fans who’ll see how the series is growing with them. But while this restrained take allows for a grittier, more believable atmosphere, it’s the little things that make GTA IV an unfettered joy.

From the new GPS that uses coloured lines to guide you through the busy streets – allowing players to focus on the action with the GPS in their peripheral vision, rather than constantly taking your eye off the road to squint at the tiny map – to the stripped-down displays that remove clutter from the screen, GTA IV feels friendlier and more accomplished than its predecessors. Moreover, while the developers introduced clumsy RPG elements in GTA: San Andreas that often brought the action crashing to a standstill, GTA IV’s more streamlined action means players can get straight down to business, gratification coming from seeing their character juggle relationships with key members of the criminal underworld, rather than buffing them out by pounding tedious gym machines for hours.

Other clever tweaks – including the ability to restart missions, rather than trailing across the map to resume challenges – remove the niggling frustrations that hampered previous editions, but where GTA IV really shines is in its combat: unlike the ham-fisted shooting of old, which relied as much on luck as skill, the gunplay is sharp and instinctive, allowing players to lock on targets, nudge the reticule to take head- or leg-shots, or even duck behind cover and engage in tense shootouts. And with improved controls that allow for stylish drive-by shootings, wielding weapons in this latest GTA is more rewarding than ever.

In terms of presentation, GTA IV is also spot on, thrusting players into a colossal city where the wrong side of town is squalid, threatening and has smacked-up hopheads aimlessly wandering the streets, areas in marked contrast to the rich residential districts where the stench of affluence hangs in the air. New ‘ragdoll physics’ – which allow the bodies of virtual humans to react like their floppy, real-world counterparts – also makes the game feel more earthy, and will be an endless source of amusement for sickos as they drive through crowds of bystanders to see their wobbly bodies bouncing off the hood of their ride.

A wealth of new music, cars that handle like real-life vehicles and new multiplayer duels also help make GTA IV the most engaging release so far this year. And while it might have been interesting to see the developers experimenting with a new approach to the carnage, as an evolution of the world’s best-loved gangster game, GTA IV is damn-near perfect.


Reviewed by David McComb

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Grand Theft Auto IV
Empire Star Rating

What's so great about it?

What is so great about GTA IV? Well, the answer is nothing. All you get to do is run around, kill pedestrians, cops, go too strip clubs, have a lap dance and get jerked off in your car (not to mention when your not doing anything wrong the cops come after you, and when you surrender they shoot at you, no wonder cops don't like this game, it makes them look bad) Overall a sucky game. Screw you, Rockstar. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 03:53, 30 September 2013 | Report This Post


Lawbreaking's Never Been So Much Fun

Grand Theft Auto IV is basically the Grand Theft Auto you know and love, just done with better graphics and new characters. Gameplay is well developed with a useful Gears Of War-esque cover system. Exploring Liberty City is a wonderful experience, and one that one doesn't tire of easily. Graphics aren't without flaws, but for the most part, textures and landscapes look gorgeous. Character's don't always look lifelike and there is a rather lot of pop-in, but this really only occurs when in buildi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 15:38, 25 January 2012 | Report This Post


gta

oh yes......its that good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 04:52, 05 December 2011 | Report This Post


Grand Theft Auto IV... The Best GTA Game Ever And The Best Xbox 360 Game Out There, Well In My Opinion Anyway.

Grand Theft Auto IV, GTA IV For Short, Is The Best GTA Game Of All Time, If Not, The Best Xbox 360 Game Of All Time, For Sure. It Is Amazing. Even Better Than San Andreas. Now That Was A Good Game, Seeing As It Was Full Of Loads Of Things To Do, Such As, Flying Airplanes, Gambling And Even Dancing. Rockstar Had To Do Much Better Than That To Win Our Hearts Again. The Plot: You Play As Niko Bellic, Who Has Literally Come Off The Boat From East Europe. You Meet His Cousin, Roman Bellic, Who Ha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 23mike95 at 20:01, 04 May 2009 | Report This Post


ok

the gaming at first was good and simple however like all games it got more difficult, so difficult im finding it very hard to complete the game now, however the online experience is amazing one of the best online games apart from COD4 ofcourse. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bernardben at 16:30, 15 September 2008 | Report This Post


An easy to complete game that was fun. But I did get bored half way through and got pretty sick of it after a month or 2. But all in all OK! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by malrey06 at 00:09, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


Monkfishjoe (Bottom of the page) is gay!! Ha

Loved it. Easily best game of the century. Truly incredible. Amazing graphics, cars, guns, everything. Packie's the coolest character. Also anyone who thinks otherwise will die.....slooow! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CD Empire at 20:28, 24 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: WOW!!!

L: TrailMix GTA is a really great game, but as excited as I was when the game came out, it has kind of wore off on me. I honestly haven't played the game in only a week because I feel like the missions become somewhat monotonous. Basically, its drive to some enemies location, kill that enemy, avoid cops and drive back to safe house. It's still a great game though and I am sure I will start playing again soon. rue. Not even close to being the Best Game of the Year, more like Overhyped Ga... More

Posted by Spectator of Suicide at 01:04, 13 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: GTA 4

I  wonder if this franchise has peaked......i mean how can it better itself?   I wasnt a big fan..........lets hope for a return to the 80's and a much bigger Vice City ... More

Posted by Lang at 00:30, 11 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Still not bored of it

While I love the main game, I find the multiplayr dull, and not very well implemented either. The lobby system is a mess. The Halo and CoD4 lobbies are far superior. I cannot fault the main game though. Top rate stuff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jcthefirst at 18:45, 11 June 2008 | Report This Post


Still not bored of it

I haven't played GTA for a few days and am getting withdrawal symptoms. I loved the bank heist mission and was glad when i died down in the subway as I got to watch the cut scenes again (the acting was ace and you could feel the intensity). The game as a whole is a great experience and although I can appreciate everyone saying its repetitive I personally never got bored the missions. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Burry83 at 16:34, 04 June 2008 | Report This Post


Still not bored of it

I haven't played GTA for a few days and am getting withdrawal symptoms. I loved the bank heist mission and was glad when i died down in the subway as I got to watch the cut scenes again (the acting was ace and you could feel the intensity). The game as a whole is a great experience and although I can appreciate everyone saying its repetitive I personally never got bored the missions. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Burry83 at 16:34, 04 June 2008 | Report This Post


RE: WOW!!!

GTA is a really great game, but as excited as I was when the game came out, it has kind of wore off on me. I honestly haven't played the game in only a week because I feel like the missions become somewhat monotonous. Basically, its drive to some enemies location, kill that enemy, avoid cops and drive back to safe house. It's still a great game though and I am sure I will start playing again soon. ... More

Posted by TrailMix at 19:11, 29 May 2008 | Report This Post


RE: WOW!!!

It lived upto my expectations of being a really good game. Thing I like about GTA series is there is always plenty to do. ... More

Posted by Darkknight0007 at 18:59, 29 May 2008 | Report This Post


WOW!!!

im still getting into the games 2nd chapter, and so far this experience doesn't wear out! and OMG, the graphics on PS3 with a 42inch HD ready TV are blowing my mind right now! got to go, work to be done... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by luke whitticase at 01:37, 29 May 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Ho-hum

One of the best if not the best game on the 360.   I'm 30hrs in at the moment and I've only completed 32%. Not once has it dragged and I reckon I'll still be playing this at Christmas. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Diggler at 19:41, 27 May 2008 | Report This Post


Ho-hum

This was a game I was waiting for, for a long time. The more I read, the more excited i got, starting to believe that this was going to be the truest 'next-gen' title released so far. Well...it is...and it isn't. It's undeniable that the tech behind this game is amazing (though not without it's flaws), but at the end of the day, it's still a GTA game and there's the rub. GTA games are great for about 6 hours. Once the initial rush of exploringthe new city has worn off, it's into the grind of... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by monkfishjoe at 16:38, 21 May 2008 | Report This Post


What a difference a week makes.

I find the novelty rapidly wearing off with this game. My christ is it repetitive! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 09:26, 20 May 2008 | Report This Post


Boring

Queued in a popular s'market chain at midnight last monday (first in line actually) and enjoyed it for all of about 4 hours. yeh it looks pretty great, (although gears on 360 which i also have is visually better over 18 months earlier...go figure) but got bored quickly. ("pick me up nico i need to go here and there, blah blah...drive, avoid cops, shoot someone, blah blah blah...missions all samey). another site compared this to first playing zelda- ocarina of time (best game of all time TM.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by iamevilhomer! at 23:51, 08 May 2008 | Report This Post


Love this game!

Never have I had so much fun on a game. The mission where your rob the bank is INTENSE!!!! It is exactly like the bit in the movie 'Heat' where De Niro and Co. are legging it from the old bill, while stopping to shoot every few seconds. Like I said....INTENSE!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 14:02, 07 May 2008 | Report This Post


Impressive but..

It does for the most part blow your socks off and hats off to Rock Star but there are niggles that frustrate me. I don't think the auto aiming feature works that well. How many times does it try to aim at targets behind obstacles? While a bad guy is right in front. The cars bounce and slide about on the road and it feels far too much of the game plays out at night time when the game doesn't look that special. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gold Digger at 16:00, 06 May 2008 | Report This Post


minted

just minted!!! love the mobile phone interface. you can phone a number from the social club on the GTA IV website and it saves the song your currently listening to onto the website ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tosh at 18:01, 04 May 2008 | Report This Post


Groundbreaking.

A must-play. Perfect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 05:29, 04 May 2008 | Report This Post


Groundbreaking.

A must-play. Perfect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 05:29, 04 May 2008 | Report This Post


Brilliant but sooooooooooooo big!

This is going to take till 2018 to see it all! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Funk at 00:16, 03 May 2008 | Report This Post


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