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Grand Theft Auto IV

28 April 2008
Xbox 360, PS3
Rockstar Games

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Grand Theft Auto IV

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Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
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

I knew this would be groundbreaking

If this game was a film it would be incredibly long but with the amazing voice acting and suberb storytelling, it would be awesome. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ricorodrigeuz at 09:42, 02 May 2008 | Report This Post


Am i the only one who thinks this game is rubbish!!!! JUST KIDDING it rocks the most perfect game to hit the shelves in years i love it and between GTA IV and the wii fit im struggling to find time to feed my 3 children, gotta go they are screaming for food! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waynemac76 at 18:04, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

Escape From San Andreas

Whether it be negoiating your drunken way out of a dangerous irish pub for the 1st time or the subsequent police dodging "drive" home and my niave tactic to happily abandon the rules of the road and discover the new found ability to see the effictiveness of a seatbelt which works better than any goverment sponsered advent. It truely is the simple things in life (be it virtual or not) that bring joy and laughter to an old gamer who remembers the birds-eyed view gta origins. How can one ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by farley9 at 17:45, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

Buy or Die!

Just wanted to give my five stars. Done. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RoboMan24 at 17:00, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

Get smashed...literally!

What fun! I went to a titty bar with my cousin, got trashed, staggered and fell all over the garden of the bar, beat up a cab driver and caused a 6 car pile up! Then i got home and started playing GTA4!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the_equalizer at 15:30, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

amazing game

you need to play for a while just to realize how deep this game is... i just found out now that u can phone 911 on ur mobile phone and call in the paramedics, the police or the fire dept. !!! you can also call every number u see in the game - on tv, on posters etc...i found this one service which tells u the name of the song u are listening to in ur car!!!!!! now THAT is what i call attention to detail....Oh and multiplayer is draining my social life ;) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by claudemg at 15:23, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

OMFG!!!!! I love this GAME!!!!!!!

One of my fave things was how Niko smashes the car windows, and hotwires the motor before tearing away. Also couldn't believe when I saw Ricky Gervais on the in-game TV. Laughed my ass off! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 09:10, 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Unbelieveable

I've played it for 6 hours so far, i had to stop last night as i was nodding off and crashing into things and i was late for work this morning because i was playing it again aven't found any bad points, some of the cars are shite, but i like that they aren't all the same, it's just frustrating that i keep picking the wrong car to use. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by samthemanc at 10:30, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post


only got it yesterday and have played about 2 hours already and i already know its gonna be the best gta ever.There is so many small things they have picked up on to improve the game immensly which the last few have failed to do.The realism is fuckin unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by markryan 086 at 10:15, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Oh well.... mine on pre-order. Not everyone will be as jammy as you though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 11:38, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post


Picked up a copy at Woolwolrths this morning and didn't pre-order. They had loads. Didn't see any flying pigs though? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carmbler at 11:15, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post

Official Xbox Magazine score:

10/10. But then was there EVER any doubt? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 10:43, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post

im extremely excited about this game. It's had the best critical reception any game has had since I first started gaming. Everyone is giving it perfect scores! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jomo999 at 08:52, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post


I hear alot of peeps say "na I won't pre-order it, i'll get it on the day". Ummm..hate to dissapoint you, but, you won't. If you do, check the sky to see if there is a blue moon with pigs flying past. This game will rock, and if you want it to rock you on the 29th.....well I think you know. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 13:21, 28 April 2008 | Report This Post

I can't wait for this either... and was all geared up- my partners away next weekend and I was looking forward to 3 uninterupped days and nights of this game... then my 360 gave me the RROD on Saturday morning!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by raclements at 10:54, 28 April 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Grand Theft Auto IV

Printed magazines yes, as they have publishing deadlines to adhere to, but find me a review online right now. ... More

Posted by Gartt at 16:08, 25 April 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Grand Theft Auto IV

Doubt it - it wasn't exactly overly negative, and a fair few magazines have published reviews...seems very strange to take it down...  ... More

Posted by Olaf at 20:46, 24 April 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Grand Theft Auto IV

probably got a notice from rockstar to take it down. ... More

Posted by Gartt at 18:13, 23 April 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Grand Theft Auto IV

Where is the review?  It's mentioned on Wikipedia, but the link doesn't work.  Also I can't find it in the Empire |reviews Centre! ... More

Posted by monkfishjoe at 13:46, 23 April 2008 | Report This Post

cant wait

double post! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Clarence_Worley at 19:15, 21 April 2008 | Report This Post

I absolutely cannot wait for this. Haven't pre-ordered but im sure i will get a copy at Game at the 12 am opening. Bloody love the GTA games, and this review did seem pretty harsh on its predecessors, but this does look to blow the others out of the water. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Clarence_Worley at 19:01, 21 April 2008 | Report This Post

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