Grand Theft Auto IVGrand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North in the United Kingdom, and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 29 April 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, and on 2 December 2008 on Microsoft Windows. It is the eleventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004. As the first title in the series to be released for the seventh generation of video game consoles, Grand Theft Auto IV was highly anticipated preceding its release.
Grand Theft Auto IV is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within the fictional state of Liberty City, which is heavily based on New York City. The single-player story follows Niko Bellic, a veteran of an unnamed war in Eastern Europe who comes to the United States in search of someone important, but quickly becomes entangled in a world of gangs, crime, and corruption. An online multiplayer mode is included with the game, allowing up to 16 players to engage in both co-operative and competitive gameplay in a recreation of the single-player setting. Two expansion packs were later released as downloadable content for the game, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, which both feature new plots that are interconnected with the main Grand Theft Auto IV storyline, and follow new protagonists.
Development began shortly following the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Upon its release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised its story missions, setting, and updates from previous games in the series. A commercial success, Grand Theft Auto IV broke industry sales records by earning US $500 million in the first week of its release.
Its successor, Grand Theft Auto V, was released on 17 September 2013, and has also received universal critical acclaim.
Grand Theft Auto IV PlotIn Liberty City, Niko Bellic, an Eastern European, arrives to meet his cousin Roman. Niko comes to Liberty City to pursue the American Dream, and to search for the man who betrayed his unit in a war fifteen years prior. After his arrival, however, Niko quickly learns that Roman's tales of riches and luxury were lies concealing struggles with gambling debts and loansharks, and that Roman lives in a dirty apartment rather than a mansion.
Niko defends Roman from his loansharks several times, eventually killing Vlad Glebov, Roman's Russian loanshark. Niko was forced to work for Vlad due to Roman's debts but Niko killed Vlad because he found out that Vlad slept with Roman's girlfriend, Mallory. After Vlad's murder, Niko and Roman are kidnapped by members of the Liberty City Bratva on order of Mikhail Faustin and his associate, Dimitri Rascalov. Faustin, not bothered by the murder of Vlad, hires Niko. Niko quickly learns that Faustin is a psychopath when he orders him to kill the son of Kenny Petrović, the most powerful man in the Liberty City Bratva. Dimitri then orders Niko to assassinate Faustin, and when Niko meets with Dimitri to collect on the assassination, Dimitri betrays him. When Niko meets Dimitri, Dimitri brings his friend Bulgarin who claims that Niko stole from him. Niko denies the allegation saying that a cargo ship that he was transporting for Bulgarin sank and that he nearly drowned while swimming to shore.
Immediately afterwards, Niko and Roman are forced to escape to Bohan when their apartment and taxi company are destroyed in arson attacks by Dimitri's men. However, things go poorly in Bohan: one of the drug deals that Niko works on turns out to be a sting and another is busted. After the latter incident, Niko's current girlfriend Michelle then reveals that she works for a government agency and entraps Niko into working for her agency, known only by its cover: United Liberty Paper. Niko kills several known or suspected terrorists for the agency in exchange for the file of the numerous crimes the police have on him and the promise of assistance in finding the traitor of his unit.
With the assistance of United Liberty Paper, Niko eventually tracks down the man responsible for his unit's betrayal: Darko Brevic; the player chooses Darko's fate. Having dealt with his past, Niko is summoned by Jimmy Pegorino, who demands one final favour after many favours: to help with an extremely lucrative deal on heroin in collusion with Dimitri Rascalov.
The story then features two possible endings depending on the choice made by the player at this point in the game: to strike a Deal with Dimitri or exact Revenge on him. If the player chooses to go through with the Deal, Niko soon finds out that Dimitri took the heroin for himself, which endangers and angers Niko. Later, Roman is set to marry Mallory. At the wedding, an assassin sent by Dimitri kills Roman with a stray bullet as Niko disarms and kills him. A devastated and vengeful Niko later tracks down Dimitri and Pegorino, witnesses the former kill the latter, before chasing and killing Dimitri.
If the player chooses to extract Revenge, Niko ambushes Dimitri and executes him. In the aftermath, Roman's wedding takes place, but Pegorino, furious after Niko's betrayal, commits a drive-by shooting outside the church. He targets Niko, but ends up killing Niko's girlfriend Kate. Niko soon tracks down, chases, and kills Pegorino, who had become hated and targeted by the entire underworld of Liberty City.
Grand Theft Auto IV GameplayQuite like its predecessors, Grand Theft Auto IV allows the player to intervene on a large open world environment. On foot, the player character can walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and perform basic hand-to-hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, helicopters, and motorcycles. Grand Theft Auto IV takes advantage of Natural Motion's Euphoria engine, which combines artificial intelligence, bio-mechanics and physics to make open, non-linear environments that allow players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although completing most of the storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain content and parts of the city, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not attempting a storyline mission, players can free-roam, giving them the ability to do activities. Some side missions include locating and destroying criminals in the police car database, or participating in street races. The player can also swim, a feature that was introduced in San Andreas, but missing from prior titles.
It is possible to have several active missions running at one time, as some missions run over the course of several days and require the player to wait for further instructions or events. The player can also attempt a variety of optional side missions. Grand Theft Auto IV also contains morality choices at points throughout the game, which alter the storyline appropriately depending on the player's choice. Which of the game's two different endings occurs is determined by one of these choices.
ReceptionGrand Theft Auto IV has received universal acclaim from video game critics. The review aggregator Metacritic rates its as the best PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game of all time, as well as being the second highest-rated video game on the website, tying with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and SoulCalibur, and falling behind only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Grand Theft Auto IV is the fourth highest rated game on GameRankings. Ahead of its worldwide release, most publications were not sent copies of the game. Instead, reviewers had to play the game on Rockstar premises or in booked hotel rooms.
The May 2008 issue of Official Xbox Magazine (UK) published the first Grand Theft Auto IV review, giving the game the maximum score of 10/10. The magazine also stated that the game has an "amazingly realistic world; stunning action set pieces; genuinely engrossing storyline; hugely entertaining multiplayer;" and that it is "vast in every respect." PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) also gave the game 10/10 in their May 2008 issue, describing the game as "a masterpiece that improves on all GTA's best bits." Xbox World 360 gave the game a 98% rating, the highest it has ever given to any game, mentioning the game was "everything we were entitled to expect, and yet somehow impossibly more." GameSpot gave the game a perfect 10 on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, making it the first game since 2001 that GameSpot had rated perfect. The review called the game "compelling", with a "plethora of online multiplayer features" and stated that Grand Theft Auto IV is "undoubtedly the best Grand Theft Auto yet."
Hilary Goldstein of IGN gave the game a 10/10 score, with the game earning 10/10 in each individual category: presentation, sound, graphics, gameplay, and lasting appeal. It is the first game in the publication's history to receive straight-10 subscores across the board. Goldstein called the game "just as big a leap forward as Grand Theft Auto III, albeit in subtler ways", and said it "sets a new benchmark for open-world games", with "no one major weak aspect". Goldstein's only serious criticism was for "the occasional flaw in the cover system", but the review concluded with the statement that "We don't give 10s often—just to games that merit the score".
The British newspaper Daily Star gave it a positive review, saying: "This could be a console defining title, one that in years to come people will remember as the stand-out of the era". The New York Times also wrote a favourable review, calling it a "violent, intelligent, profane, endearing, obnoxious, sly, richly textured and thoroughly compelling work of cultural satire disguised as fun". The film magazine Empire gave the game a perfect 5/5 in its game reviews section, calling it "damn-near perfect".
Despite the almost unanimous praise given to Grand Theft Auto IV, the game has received some criticism. A review in Ars Technica states that the game "... not perfect. It does not deserve unquestioned, unadulterated praise. In many ways, the slight regression of the series from San Andreas is surprising: there are fewer vehicles, weapons, and story missions, less character customisation, and even the size of the city itself is smaller". GameSpot noted that there are occasional problems with friendly AI and avoiding the police being "a little too easy". There were some minor complaints with the game's cover system, which reviewers noted, stumbled in box-filled environments and the stickiness of cover points being an issue. The occasional presence of noticeable pop-in was also criticised. Lastly GameSpot has regarded the Windows port as inferior to the console versions due to "noticeable performance issues even on rigs that far exceed the unreasonably high recommended system specifications".
In 2010, the game was included as one of the titles in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
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