Worth every penny.


I’ve spent about 3 hours exploring the GTA IV version of Liberty City and so far it is amazing. The initial missions are the usual training mode but like the GTA’s before, it doesn’t feel like it. The game does a great job of blending the tutorial between driving, walking, mini-games, shooting and location interaction (the need to eat food to restore health is back and better than ever). All aspects of LC say “come and explore!”

The new targeting system so far is the highlight for me. [LT] locks on the target and you can gently press up on the [RS] for a headshot, quickening the pace in battle. Cover is introduced as well as the [RB] will pull you up against a wall for some protection from the bad guys. Free aim is easy too as a half press on the [LT] or [RT] will let you aim where you want.

The driving is pretty different from GTA:SA but it’s a good thing. The physics are incredible as you run into objects and are more likely to spin out of control if you drive beyond your skill. Turning is more realistic in that you have to brake a little before making a turn at high speeds. The benefit to the physics though, is when you smash into another car and velocity pushes them out of the way and slows you down. It feels like you’ve hit an object. For driving in GTA IV, Rockstar has taken the realism to a whole new level.

The game plays like a great action flick. Only, this time you are in control. As usual the GTA story propels the game forward as you want to find out who the other characters are and what they do in Liberty City. The main character Nikko is fresh of the boat from Eastern Europe and looking for a fresh start. But before he knows it he is thrust into sticky situations with the “help” of his bumbling cousin. Will you help him? Or go to the beach? You decide.

And as we all know, GTA is no stranger to controversy in the past. With the freedom to do almost anything in the playing environment it has been the focus of questions regarding violence and video games. But these views are distorted by so called “reports” by people who have not even played the game. So far I have not been forced to as part of the story to attack law enforcement officers, deal with prostitutes or kill innocent people (although these are things you can do in the game). Perhaps that will change but Rockstar has never pushed the GTA story into those areas in the past. But more importantly, this is a video game. It is not real life, nor is it meant to be viewed as real life. The game simply wouldn’t be as fun if it felt too much like the real world. And more importantly, this game is made to be played by mature players. That doesn’t mean by a certain age (although it says it on the box) it means the person playing it needs to be mature enough to separate reality from fiction.

All that said, GTA IV is everything I’ve hoped it would be. And that’s saying a lot.

MKG out.


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