REViEWERS DETAiLS
Review by The Advocator
Based on 65 Hours of Playing

System
Platform PC
- Intel i7-860 CPU
- Gigabyte P55A-UD5 Motherboard
- 4GB (DDR3) 1600 Patriot Viper2 RAM
- ATI Radeon 1GB 5770 Video Card
- Seasonic M12D 850watt PSU
- Thermaltake V9 Case
- Corsair HD50 Water cooling
- Zalman ZM-MFC3 Controller
- 3 x 120mm Thermaltake ISGC Fans
      (thermal dynamic bearing)
- 1 x 230mm Fan
- 24" BenQ V2400eco LED Monitor
- Logitech G9 Mouse (3200dpi)
- Windows 7 Ultimate (32bit) OS

Created On : 10th of January, 2011
Modified On : 10th of January, 2011
 
RATiNG
This GAME Scored:
Graphics
  7/10
Game Play
  7/10
Game Design
  8/10
Plot/Story
  8/10
Level Design
  9/10
SFX
  9/10
Music
10/10
Config
  8/10
Navigation
  7/10
Secrets / Rewards
  8/10

FINAL RATING
79.75 %
B+
( 8.0 / 10 )
 
POSSiBLE iMPROVEMENTS
Here is a list of some key areas that this GAME could be improved.

  • Better Cops that chase you for speeding
  • Option to fix camera in chase mode when driving
  • Better handling of cars at safe house when saving
  • Stop the random car starting position.
  • Spawned cars disappear when you turn around.
  • Time moves too fast. ETA for dates becomes too short.
 
 

Shooting - Shooter third person

A Realistic Review of GRAND THEFT AUTO IV

ROCKSTAR
Grand Theft Auto IV
( GTAIV )
Grand Theft Auto has always been a bit of a fun style game. This latest release has seen a few of the good old features removed but has also added an assortment of new ideas. The basic concept of the game is a 3rd person shooter, where you play a newly arrive immigrant looking for work. Your cousin sets you up with a job, but as you have "special talents" you soon get noticed by local gangsters who wish to hire you. Thus begins your roller coaster ride of illegal activities paid for by the highest bidder.

Conclusion
Without a doubt this is a fun game to play. There are many side missions and other tasks you can perform at your leisure, or simply just drive around stirring up trouble for the cops. There are a few annoying aspects of the game, such as your mobile phone just won't stop ringing and the scripting aspect of the game which controls this is quite remedial. You could be in the middle of a job and the phone will ring about another job. The phone is a good idea, but I just wish they would give you the option to turn the darn thing off if you wanted to (ie you're on a date), or you just want to do a bit of free driving, or hunt down some secondary missions.

ROCKSTAR Grand Theft Auto IV GTAIV
AVAILABLE PiCTURES
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PiCTURE DESCRiPTiON
 



A More Indepth Analysis of each Section.
Click on each "Tab" to read about that section.

Graphics
Game Play
Game Design
Plot/Story
Level Design
SFX
Music
Config
Navigation
Secrets / Rewards

(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Graphics

The Good

The 3d modeling of the cars and the buildings look very good, even down to seeing the tread on the tyres. The textures are also good, however the whole atmosphere of the game is not very clean. Nothing is highly polished and it looks as if everything is very dusty some how.

As this is a sand box game you have reasonably free roam ability around the city. This comes with the added bonus of time. There is night and day in the game, plus some cool weather effects, so the visuals at dusk and dawn look pretty good. The days are a bit short though.

Different camera angles are available and while driving a car you have numerous view modes, plus a few chase camera settings at different distances. You can also have full pan mode of the camera, assigned to the mouse, so while driving you can easily look left / right, up / down to any angle you want (within reason). There is also the ability to assign a key to look behind..

Animations are ok, such as when Niko's phone rings you see him looking down at it etc.

What is nice is the damage modeling for your car. So you see bullet holes, broken windows, damaged fenders, missing bonnets and blown tyres etc. As the level of damage increases so does the level of smoke coming from your car, or sparks radiating off the rim as you've blown a tire.

Everyone that plays this game must get in a car and drive flat out and crash into a wall, or head on to another car. The windscreen driver launch is ABSOLUTE AWESOME. It's even more awesome if the car coming the other way is a cop car and you slam head first into it and the cop gets launched through the windscreen.

The Bad

Everything appears as if you're viewing through rose coloured glassed. At times it's difficult to identify who's who in the game, is that friend or foe.

Being a 3rd person style game it's quite often that your vision will be blocked by the scenery. This is most evident when you go indoors and when in a gun battle in a corridor it's quite often you'll be shot by someone you simply can't see due to a door, a wall or simply because of furniture in the room.




(This Section equates to 20% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Game Play

The Good

It's very difficult to be bored in this game, there's quite a lot to do. There are numerous missions and sub missions which you can get from people around the city, plus you can also get missions from people on the street, or from your mobile phone.

Quite a few funny aspects have been added to the game such as the online dating service and the advertisements you see on the computer when you logon to the internet from an internet cafe.

The police are quite adapt at chasing after you, however if you have a car with the slightest bit of power and some driving talent, then you can evade them reasonably easily. Their path finding is quite good and if cops are on the street they will attempt to commandeer civilian cars in order to give chase which is a nice touch.

Car handling and dynamics are good, so for anyone that likes driving you'll find driving these cars quite fun. Handling characteristics are different between the assortment of cars available. You also have the option of taking the subway / train. This was a surprise as the level of complexity in the subway system was totally unexpected. Especially considering this is grand theft AUTO. You can also drive through the subway system, although I would suggest using a motorbike and not a car. There are also stunts you can do by driving off ramps, construction equipment and building roofs etc. All quite fun and you're shown a slow motion action camera of your car where you can control the slow motion speed, which is a nice touch.

Car damage modeling is great and the handling of your car changes considerably when you have a blow out (or 4). Tyres can be damaged by things like gun fire and excessive burnouts. As your vehicle sustains more damage it's more prone to stalling and eventually it will catch fire, so then it's time to bail out and look for an alternative car. You can steal any car visible in the game.

You have numerous opportunity to enter stores and buy items such as clothes and food. Each thing you buy has a particular benefit. If you are going on a date then buy new clothes. Depending on the woman you are taking out, will determine what you wear as each woman likes different style of clothes and cars. That makes it much more interesting to play, as you'll want to return to a safe house in order to change clothes before picking up your date.

The Bad

The Cops are quite stupid. Now it feels as this has been done on purpose (as a joke and indeed they say some funny things while chasing after you), however I would have like them to also be a bit smarter. Sure once your threat assessment goes up then they are very tough, but the average cop doesn't even attempt to arrest you for speeding or wreck less driving. In previous GTA releases if you sped past a cop or you hit another car / pedestrian they gave change. In this game you virtually have to fire your gun in front of them, steal a car infront of them or crash into their car before they give chase. That spoils the atmosphere of the game a bit for me.

Cops taking control of civilian cars is good however the way the game is designed when you have cars you want to save you can only park them within yellow boxes outside of your safe house. Previous GTA titles you actually had a garage you could drive in to. The reason the garage is better is clear in this game. In GTA IV if the cops are chasing you and they are on foot outside your safe house they will steal your cars. ARGHH. Also if there is any sort of traffic crash in which they get hit, that can cause them to be knocked outside of the yellow box, so on your next save (from a different safe house) you could / will lose those cars.

The game has this annoying aspect of limiting the number of types of vehicles that are visible. It appears that the vehicle you're driving becomes the primary vehicle you'll see parked on the side of the road or driving on the road. This means the prospect of you wanting to upgrade to a faster/better car are limited. So it's always better to get the best car you can because then you'll have better options available to you if/when your car is no longer drivable, or you parked it upside down and on fire in someones backyard, after attempting a stunt jump from the top of a 8 story car park near by.. I suspect that this feature has been done to reduce the amount of resources required. Maybe the cars are grouped into packs and only a specific number of packs are loaded into memory at the one time. I'm not sure but the range and diversity of vehicles being shown is definitely less than the range of cars actually in the game. Rarely do you ever seen an Infernus or a Super GT. It's hard enough finding a Banshee, yet one of the fastest cars the Turismo can be found in many locations. I would rather drive an Infernus, Super GT or a Banshee though as they are much more fun to drive. I can't work out why the game wants to hide those cars?

Some cars seem to be completely random, and the best cars (most exotic) seem to be quite difficult to find. In previous GTA releases you could always goto a certain location to find a certain type of vehicle. In this game there is only one exotic car which has two primarily locations it can be found at all times. Even though that is one of the fastest cars in the game, there are other cars which are much more fun to drive which seem to have no fixed starting position.

Time moves too fast. You might get a call from your girlfriend about going out, she'll give you 1 hour to get to her place. But if you have to return to a safe house to change clothes, or even just to drive to her place as you are, may take longer than the 1 hour of game time. This gets a bit annoying as there's no way of knowing who will be ringing asking for a date and where you'll be when they ring. I would have liked a little more leniency in this respect.




(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Game Design

The Good

There are many interesting aspects in this game and the mobile phone is one of them. Being able to receive new missions, text messages for new missions (such as steal the car from this location but not giving you any directions is good) and phoning anyone you need, including your girlfriend(s) is good. Yes I said girlfriends you can be seeing numerous women at once.

There is a plethora of statistics that the game keeps track of which makes for some interesting reading, plus it will also detail the like and respect percentages you have with each primary character in the game. This is interesting because the higher respect and like percentage you have the more missions they are likely to give you.

Inventory. You have the ability to carry a few weapons and objects like grenades and armor. You can find some weapons and armor scattered throughout the maps, or you can visit shops to purchase equipment. Depending on how far you are through the game will depend on what items are available for sale. There is one weapon dealer per region, with a total of 3 main regions in the game. You have a limited number of bullets you can carry for each weapon.

You have access to a very good map which shows you suburb locations, plus locations of major stores and your safe houses. You can also zoom in/out.

The Bad

The whole friend / respect thing gets annoying after a while because in order to keep those percentages high means you have to constantly go out with these people to social functions such as for a drink, play darts, play snooker, go bowling, get a meal or goto a show. Now each of these activities in itself is quite fun and the mini games are all good, but after you've played the game for many hours having to constantly do these activities in order to keep your percentages up high with so many different characters just becomes a chore..

THE PHONE. The darn thing seems to never stop ringing, and if you don't answer it the caller instantly lowers their like / respect for you. It's not quite as bad if you reject their offer but still results in negative. Also though when the phone rings Niko looks down at it, preventing you from running / shooting or entering a vehicle. That's all well and good, but what if you were running (from the cops) when the phone rings you now stop and just walk instead! Oh dear. Just really bad timing, but as I end up spending most of my time in this game being wanted by the cops, I found the phone to be an annoying object.

The non fixed camera angle is good if you want to pan around an look while driving, however on that same aspect while driving it would be nice if the camera could be locked onto the rear of the car (like chase mode) because when you do a handbrake turn, or a 180 degree turn the camera doesn't pan with the car, so now you're looking at the front of the car instead of the rear. So when you accelerate you have no idea what is infront of the car. You have to manually rotate the camera to the back of the car, or double tap the look behind key to reset the camera..

The Map is good, but with so many things in the game it would have been nice if you had the ability to mark your own locations or points of interest on the map. For future reference, or to help you remember where you found a specific car for example.




(This Section equates to 12.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Plot/Story

The Good

There is an interesting story / plot with lots of conversations that you will have with numerous characters. Each main character will provide you with missions and each of their campaigns will be based on a certain theme. One could be blackmailing you, another could be helping you in finding evidence, or another could be helping you track down someone.

There is an underlying goal for your character to achieve which isn't revealed until mid way during the game. During some missions you will have choices to make with respect to killing or saving people and as such these choices will have an influence on future missions.

Also you will find yourself confronted with choices about main characters that double cross each other, so who will you side with.

Overall there is quite a lot of thought put into the campaigns offered by each main character.

The Bad

Nothing really bad to note, other than the whole aspect of your cousin becomes quite annoying as the game progresses.



(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Level Design

The Good

This is a sandbox game, so levels are a little harder to implement compared to a linear game. This game you are presented with life on an island. This island is made up of 3 parts all of which are connected by bridges. The bridges to the other sections are blocked off until you have completed the required number of missions on the previous / current section of the island. If you attempt to cross the bridges you get an instant 6 star wanted level (which is the maximum) so expect to be running for your life. Luckily you do receive a warning first.

The city environment is quite complex and you will find many areas you can explore inside and outside. Many buildings you can enter and some are multistory with access the roof. There are loads of backyards and shops that you can visit, including clothing stores, restaurants, internet cafes and theaters. Most of which you can interact with further such as buying items such as clothes or meals..

There are quite a few mini games that can be found, such as darts, bowling and shooting pool. Each mini game is interesting and challenging in its own way. All quite well done.

The missions you go on are mostly interesting and some have a few twists in them. Not too much repetition, so overall good fun.

Other things you can do are the numerous stunt jumps that are scattered through the levels. With these you can launch your car off the end of unfinished bridges, piles of dirt at construction sites, or from ramps and embankments.

The Bad

With so much to explore it's difficult to keep track of where everything is, and there's no ability in this game to add your own points of interest to the map.



(This Section equates to 10% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about SFX

The Good

All quite good. Everything sounds as I would expect, with most sounds being quite realistic. Engine sounds, tyre squeeling, police sirens etc all fitting in well with the game.
The Bad

Nothing worth mentioning



(This Section equates to 5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Music

The Good

You have a range of radio stations to choose from while driving, that I'm sure everyone will find something to their taste. The talk back radio stations are darn funny and worthy of a special mention.
The Bad

Nothing overly bad. If you don't like a song you simply jump to another radio station.



(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Config

The Good

The configuration screens are good and the keyboard configuration screen is quite long, with the ability to bind different keys for all the different vehicle types (car, boat, helicopter etc).
The Bad

Nothing overly bad, but due to the amount of configuration options you'll find yourself scrolling through a few pages.



(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Navigation

No issues to report. The game fully supports the mouse and uses the mouse for camera control while in the game. The menus are easy to navigate and so is everything in the game. Using the mobile phone feels a little cumbersome but they also feel that way in real life, so I can't knock the game for being realistic now can I.

Some of the intro sequences are not skipable and there are a few instances where pressing enter is required, but nothing that was annoying at all.




(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Secrets / Rewards

There are so many things to do in this game, so many weapons and objects to collect and so many sub missions that you are really rewarded for your exploration that it is hard to consider what is an easter egg and what is simply another sub mission. But as all of those sub missions are not related to the primary plot that I think they could be classified as easter eggs. So in this respect there are quite a lot.

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This Review was Last Modified on : 10th of January, 2011