Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open worldaction-adventurevideo game developed by Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 29 April 2008 for the PlayStation 3 andXbox 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.[note 1] 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.[note 2] 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.
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Its successor, Grand Theft Auto V, was released on 17 September 2013, and has also received universal critical acclaim.
There's An Outside chance that you've heard of Grand Theft Auto IV already. A little-known game from an obscure Scottish developer, it sold a paltry 631,000 copies on its first day of release in the UK, breaking the record for the roundest number of things ever sold in a 24-hour period.
GTA IV is big news of course, a giant of a game whose shocking popularity on consoles is so graciously matched by its stratospheric quality.
A city based on New York acts as a backdrop to a complex freeform game, a story spanning well over 10 hours, and the best acting, action and humour you'll find this side of movies and TV.
Rockstar invented open-world gaming, and with GTA IV they filled that open world with detail and nourishing choice. It's a game where you're never at a loss for something to see or do, or someone to shag or murder. It's a masterpiece.
The PC version is something we've spent many a breakfast time worrying about. 'Firstly,' we'd muse as we waved our spoons, 'does it even exist?' It does, I've played it. 'Secondly,' we'd ask, muesli flying in the air, 'how long will we have to wait?' Just a short while, it's here in November. 'Thirdly,' we'd enquire, making stabbing motions with a butter knife, 'how will it play?'
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Well, stick a 360 pad into your USB port and it's almost impossible to tell the difference between the PC and the console version. Besides the obvious improvements in resolution, draw distance and some texture qualities, it is take-for-take a carbon copy, as flawless a port as you could hope for.
Being published under the Games for Windows LIVE umbrella means perfect gamepad support right out of the box too, as well as online support similar to Xbox LIVE's. Achievements, the ability to jump into and out of online games without needing to move to your keyboard to switch servers - it's probably the first time you can begin to appreciate the usefulness of Microsoft's clunky online service. Combine that with the fact that Gold membership is now free, and we could be ready to get off our high, anti-Microsoft horses.
Back To The Pad
Downing the pad and taking to a more traditional keyboard and mouse setup throws out a few concerns however. These range from niggling things such as motion blur as the camera whips about your character (perfectly acceptable on a smoothly panning analogue stick, not so much on a twitchy mouse) to more pressing problems such as camera controls while driving.A jaunt through the options menu will no doubt remedy the former, but the latter seems to be trickier to fix.
Players of the console version will be aware of the camera's tendency to lag as you take sharp corners, compelling you to make liberal use of the right tluimbstick. A similar tactic when using a mouse requires not a minute gesture of the thumb, but dramatic, theatrical sweeping movements.Even on-foot shooting sections play out better on the pad, such is the effort Rockstar have put into getting it right on console. Unbelievably, locking on to enemies and flicking the left thumbstick up to snap out a headshot feels far more satisfying than the precision offered by a mouse.
And get this: there was no custom radio station in the preview build we saw. Whether this feature, which allows you to play your own music through the radios of Liberty City's cars, boats, helicopters etc, will appear in the final release is unknown, but if we can't listen to our Stephen Fry podcasts while reversing over hookers' faces, we'll be unaroused.
This points to the PC version of GTA IV having an inseparable bond with its console roots. And that's no bad thing as long as you're prepared to pick up a 360 pad, which you really should be by now. Keyboard and mouse controls stumble on a few counts, mostly through no fault of Rockstar's, but instead because analogue controls benefit GTAIV in almost every aspect. It's a world with the sort of believability that'll make you want to walk at a certain pace, drive at a certain speed and corner in a certain way. A keyboard's digital input is a barrier to that. So we should all get 360 pads. Sigh.