Grand Theft Auto IV - Best Game to Date?

By: Dan Teesdale

Grand Theft Auto IV is receiving 10's like hot cakes from a whole variety of gaming websites. They admit a 10 does not mean it is a perfect game, instead it means it is a game that has set the bar very high for games to come. If this is the merit of a 10 rating, I would have to agree. All aspects of the game have improved from the previous versions.

The graphics are unprecedented for a game that is so interactive. Games that are less interactive have more leeway to pump up their eye candy. For an example of this, I don't believe Gears of War has been beat graphically yet on the Xbox 360. Being a limited shooter, Gears of War does not compare to the scope of Grand Theft Auto IV. That aside, Grand Theft Auto IV is truly a beautiful game. The character models are very detailed, and the cut scenes use the game engine so you can gander at them up close. The cars look realistic - like their counterparts - and their impending damage also looks realistic enough. The water textures are groundbreaking; you can see the sun reflect off of each subtle motion of the ocean up close (you can swim in this version). Not to forget explosions. The realistic explosions turn artistic when you stand next to a car on fire or over a grenade. All of a sudden your screen goes black and white and you witness your character flying into the air in slow motion, only to fall down later (dead) with impressive ragdoll physics.

The game play has also been improved dramatically. First of all, the storyline is compelling. This appears to be a pleasant change from the other Grand Theft Auto's. You play as an immigrant named Niko Bellic whose sole drive is to garner more money. You first meet and do jobs for your cousin and slowly start to expand in both connections and power. Each person has their own distinct personality that can actually be particularly interesting. The story has some twists and turns and does plenty to keep you interested through the tens of hours you will spend doing the storyline. What else is there? Well the Grand Theft Auto series is notorious for the sandbox game play that is offered. This sandbox play is meticulously expanded in Grand Theft Auto IV. You can quite literally sit down on a couch and watch the in-game television for as long as you desire. And the television channels are actually quite interesting. The sense of humor by the creators is spot-on. You will find yourself laughing at the in-game television possibly more than what you would with real television. If the television doesn't hold your interest you can do an assortment of other activities such as playing pool, bowling, drinking, driving, dating, text messaging, prank calling the cops & many other activities including the ever popular pointless rampage.

Online play has never been established before for a sandbox game such as Grand Theft Auto IV. This implementation really did satisfy the dreams of gamers that have played the preceding games. It has always been a common thought: "What if we could play this game online - what fun!" Finally, it is here. There is a multitude of game types that can be selected, or you can just wander around the city with a few friends.

The audio is also magnificent. Rockstar has really managed to include a wide assortment of music for the car radios. Honestly, my favorite is Liberty Rock, so I cannot tell you how the other stations are. But whenever I borrow cars from Liberty City residents I'm usually hearing a different tune from a different station. Rockstar appears to have outdone themselves in this department. The sound effects are also top notch, from the childish whining of people that remain in the car after you jack it, to the booming explosions found throughout the game.

In conclusion this game does expand the genre and sets the bar higher than anyone has ever done so before. This is very exciting in that future developers will be pressed to put similar extravagancies in their games - improving them and making them that much more enjoyable. While I am not quick to label any game as "Best", overall I would agree with most gaming sites out there and give this game a 10/10. Bravo Rockstar.

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