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Review – Grand Theft Auto IV **

posted on April 29th, 2008 by tony

Grand Theft Auto IV is the greatest game in the history of electronics. No game since GTAIII has revolutionized digital entertainment this awesomely (ok — maybe since Halo 3). I bought my copy the night it launched and have already put in over forty hours of play, merely enough to scratch the surface of this diamond in the rough.

For those of you who don’t know, GTAIV was made by Rockstar Games, a company made exclusively of the “who’s who” of game developers. Everything they touch turns to solid gold and the innovation they bring to the table is easily enough to drive dozens of smaller developing studios. I think their true brilliance lies in the fact that they’ve managed to keep all of that innovation from leaking out and diluting their unique IPs. But enough about them, let’s get to the game!

Classy yet bitchin’!

From the moment I saw the box art while waiting in line at my local FYE I knew I was in for a life-changing experience. The art style is so visceral, yet it still holds that aura of mystery and light-heartedness you’d expect from an Ubisoft game — without the childishness. The box itself was pretty much like other games, but knowing the prize that waited for me inside somehow made the packaging better than anything I’ve ever seen. I have to confess, I opened it in the parking lot elevator on the way back to my car … I just couldn’t wait until I got back to my frat house. The whole experience was just surreal.

The world of Liberty City has never looked better. Graphically the game is close to perfect. The city is alive and teeming with sights and sounds that draw you in and hold you captive. People on the street walk around, sometimes even mumbling bits of colorful dialogue. Cars will move around the streets and follow traffic signs and patterns. Further adding to the realism, the sky will actually darken and lighten depending on the time of day, and lights inside buildings will come on at appropriate moments. The sheer size of the game is breathtaking, and on more than one occasion I found myself stealing a helicopter just so I could fly above the hustle and bustle and simply enjoy the peaceful views. It really captures what I think life in a big city must surely be like. And it does all of this at a blistering 30 frames per second.

The story is totally Oscar-worthy. I’m going to go on the record now and say that I wouldn’t be surprised if another Academy Award category was added for incredible writing in videogames … all five nominees being GTAIV! The voice acting is top-notch with a few famous voices that I’m pretty sure I’ve heard before. You play as Niko, an eastern-European immigrant who’s looking to make it big in the land of opportunity. You meet up with your cousin when your boat arrives in Liberty City and soon learn that his claims of living the high life as a gangster/business man were a bit exaggerated. I don’t want to ruin it so I won’t mention how you get there, but this will eventually lead to you running around the city boosting cars, running over pedestrians, and capping fools … all the while weaving in and out of the phenomenal and well-delivered plot. It’s really like playing a part in an awesome movie, which is what makes the whole experience so unique and genre-bending.

Apparently there’s the ability to play with other people online, something I don’t usually do. You and some friends can run around town and boost cars, run over pedestrians and cap fools, or you could be on separate teams who try to boost the most cars, run over the most pedestrians or cap the most fools. This sort of play has never been tried before I was told, because other game developers haven’t had the ability. But Rockstar yet again proves they’re the best at what they do — which in the case of GTAIV is everything!

Michael Bay would totally do the hell out of this scene.

All in all, GTAIV is the best game ever. If more games were like this I think videogames would be taken a lot more seriously. Rockstar has shown that games can be exciting and action-packed, but still have that polish associated with top-notch motion pictures, like the ones made by Michael Bay. The unique plot and professional scope of the game would easily translate to a kick-ass movie. Wait a minute, that’s a great idea! I think I’ll also go on the record and say that a GTAIV movie helmed by Michael Bay will see release in the next two years. Anyway, you should buy this game because there’s no way you’ll play anything this good ever again. 10/10.

** NOTE: The reviewer has not yet played Grand Theft Auto IV. But really, what difference does it make because it’s the best game ever made.


  1. Golden Jew said on April 29, 2008:

    I had a response that was intelligent but the cynicism in this review was so great that it literally exploded my brain and I spent the past half hour trolling every message board I could find.

    In all seriousness, any official reviews of this game will be useless, so what does everyone anticipate for real? Initially, I was uninterested in the game, but the multiplayer looks vaguely intriguing and could be a chance to game with some of my friends who are more into action games than RPGs.

  2. christian said on April 29, 2008:

    I look forward to two months from now when the dust settles and all the flaws appear. It happened with Halo 3, it happened with Bioshock and Mass Effect.

    Thankfully, this is exactly when we’ll land our official VL review 😉

  3. Shota said on April 29, 2008:

    After the first paragraph my breath caught in my throat and a red anger started to well up inside of me at the possibility of a positive review for ANY GTA game. By the end i could not stop laughing. Nicely done Tony!

  4. Christian said on April 29, 2008:

    Shota – you haven’t read my Liberty City Stories review I take it?

  5. Shota said on April 29, 2008:

    Well, I just did Christian and even though you seem to ultimately like the series the review seemed objective enough not to make me blue in the face from rage. I object to open ended sandbox games in general and don’t like where they are driving the industry but i will write/rant more about that as a response to someones inevitable positive review of GTA4.

    Oh, and of course you can bum a smoke, man.

  6. bruce said on April 30, 2008:

    Best review ever. 10/10

    Note : I haven’t read the review yet.

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