Slideshow

Is GTA IV the Best Video Game of All Time?

We present the case for and against

  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #5: No replays


    Every time you play GTA IV, something incredibly cool and cinematic happens. From accidentally blowing up an entire freeway of traffic to landing your helicopter on top of a moving aeroplane, the potential for random mayhem is practically never-ending. However, despite giving you access to a multi-angle 'cinematic' mode that can be played in slow-motion, the game lacks an action-replay mode. This means you’ll need to set up a VCR or video camera if you want to relive all those gnarly action movie moments. Lame.
  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #1: It’s a controversy magnet

  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #2: It’s too dark!

  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #2: It’s too dark!


    And we don’t mean in a moralistic sense. In a presumed attempt to go for a 'grittier' feel, GTA IV lacks many of the bright, primary-coloured playgrounds that characterised previous games in the series (most notably Grand Theft Auto: Vice City). Instead, the majority of the urban environment is depicted in decayed greys and browns. While this may suit the game’s theme and the nature of its city, it makes the game difficult to play, especially at night. Even with the brightness level on our TV ramped up, we sometimes found it difficult to navigate building interiors and alleyways. Bring back some of those pastels!
  • After months — nay, years — of feverish anticipation, the fourth major instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series has finally arrived in rip-roaring style. As expected, it has sold a phenomenal number of copies, surpassing all-time worldwide entertainment records in its first week on sale. But is it the best video game of all time? Or just a pay-and-spray sequel with a slicker paintjob? In the following slideshow we’ll take a look at some of the things that make GTA IV great, as well as a few things that could do with some improvement.

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #5: Multiplayer mayhem


    GTA IV is the first game in the series to feature online multiplayer modes — and they’re great! There are 15 game modes in all, covering everything from team death matches to car racing. You can even just explore the game world with a posse of online buddies, with no goal other than having fun.
    Collectively, Aussie gamers clocked in a mind-boggling 9,700,000 hours over Xbox Live during the game’s first week on sale (that’s over 1000 years, pointless trivia fans.) Xbox owners will also benefit from exclusive online content in August, including new missions for the single-player campaign.
  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #5: Multiplayer mayhem

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #3: Liberty City

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great # 4: The tunes

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #2: Niko Bellic

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great # 4: The tunes


    The in-game radio stations have always been a major selling point of the Grand Theft Auto series; GTA IV is naturally no exception. In the words of Rockstar Game’s founder and executive producer Sam Houser: "the amount of eclectic music in Grand Theft Auto IV goes above and beyond anything we have been able to do before."
    The number of tracks on offer is truly astounding, with the 18 radio stations covering a wide breadth of musical genres. Featured bands and artists include Aphex Twin, Busta Rhymes, Z.Z. Top, The Smashing Pumpkins, Kanye West, Black Sabbath, The Black Crowes, Jean Michel Jarre, David Bowie, R.E.M. and Queen (and that’s barely scratching the surface).
    You can also download any of the game’s 150 songs from Amazon’s MP3 Store by using Niko’s in-game mobile phone.
  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #2: Niko Bellic

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #3: Liberty City

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #1: It’s GTA!


    The Grand Theft Auto series can only be described as something of a cultural phenomenon. Ever since GTA III steered its way into gamers' hearts, other developers have attempted to cash-in on the open-world crime craze. They’ve all had a shot at building their own virtual sandbox — but most of them are filled with the wrong kind of toys.
    There is something indelibly 'Rockstar' about GTA that’s impossible to replicate. Part of it is the zany sense of humour and fast-but-loose playing style. Another aspect is the sheer variety of missions on offer and the eclectic radio soundtrack. Like the immortals in the film Highlander, there can only be one Grand Theft Auto (appropriately, like the film the development team is based in the Scottish Highlands). Accept no substitutes.
  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #3: Liberty City

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #3: Liberty City

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #5: Multiplayer mayhem

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great # 4: The tunes

  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #1: It’s a controversy magnet


    Ever since the release of Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar Games has gleefully baited controversy at every opportunity. Rockstar is the game industry’s equivalent to Corey Worthington: strutting from one huge scandal to the next while flashing critics the two-fingered salute. Everyone from the OFLC to Senator Hillary Clinton has blamed the moral decay of our youth on a steady diet of Rockstar candy.
    While we disagree strongly with these sentiments, it cannot be denied that GTA IV is occasionally too controversial for its own good. The ability to drive while drunk seems particularly irresponsible, especially in a game aimed primarily at young adults. This can only drag down gaming’s reputation with the public even further.
  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #4: Socialising = The Sims with guns

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great # 4: The tunes

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #2: Niko Bellic

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #5: Multiplayer mayhem

  • Reasons why GTA IV is great #3: Liberty City


    GTA IV features the best depiction of a living, breathing world we have ever seen. In other 'virtual sandbox' worlds, if you leave the controls alone or ignore the story campaign, pretty much nothing happens. GTA IV transcends this. Simply stepping into a cab and watching the city bustle around you is an experience all unto itself. With its pastiche of New York City life (complete with skewed-yet-recognisable landmarks), there is always something new and intriguing to catch the gamer’s eye.
  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #4: Socialising = The Sims with guns


    One of the expanded gameplay elements in GTA IV is the ability to socialise with your in-game girlfriends and buddies. However, if you ignore them or refuse their invitations to go out, the relationship will begin to sour. This is especially annoying if you’re the type of gamer who likes to get perfect scores in every aspect of a game. If a character rings you up when you’re in the middle of a mission, or miles away from his or her location, you basically have no choice but to lose some like/respect points. Trying to micro-manage and juggle friendships is something that belongs in The Sims, not Grand Theft Auto.
  • Why GTA IV is not-so-great #3: Less is more?


    One of the criticisms levelled at the previous GTA game was that it was too sprawling and open-ended for its own good. The development team has attempted to rectify this in GTA IV by scaling back the size of the game world — but they’ve arguably gone too far in the wrong direction. As far as we can tell, there are no ambulance, fire brigade or pizza delivery side-missions in GTA IV, which have been popular mainstays since GTA III. Likewise, the flyable aeroplanes and rideable bicycles are nowhere to be found. Some of the role-playing elements in GTA: San Andreas — such as pumping iron to get your character into shape — have also been removed. While these omissions will not hugely affect your enjoyment of the game, you are left with a niggling feeling that something is missing.
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