Grand Theft Auto 4 has been on my watch for a long time. When it was first announced, I can't say I was excited. I thought it was going to be something else like Vice City or San Andreas, which I did not like either for various reasons. As it got closer and closer to release date, I got more and more excited. I started watching videos, and I was sold. I loved the realistic representation of New York, or in this case, Liberty City. Grand Theft Auto 3 was one of the best games created for the Playstation 2 system, and I loved the art style and city. So when I found GTA4 was set here and had the same style, I was sold.
The first thing I will touch on is the graphics. There has been numerous discussions and posts about how people love, hate, like, and dislike them, etc. In my opinion, the graphics are amazing for a game of this scale. The game had to be compressed to 9gb of data, and I am perplexed to how they could include so many details and object textures and such on 9gb. Rockstar has always been a great company, but after seeing how they fit this much on 9gb, they are one of my top 5 gaming developers. I love the details on the characters and the cars. The characters have actual facial emotions, instead of being wood carved like out of some of the older games. All the people on the street are a bit unique in their own way as well, and this just adds to the graphical amazement. The signs on the walls, the billboards, the details in cars such as the speedometers, and more just set this scale of a game over the top for graphics. This game is one of the best looking games on next-gen systems today. HOWEVER, I do have a rant about them. I play on a 24" BenQ monitor, in which I make it 16:9 by putting it in aspect ratio with the black bars. The only thing the graphics do wrong is aliasing...and there is a LOT of it. I took a video, but it didn't come out right on my phone. Now, this might be something just for my monitor, or computer monitors in general, but they should have at least put 4xAntiAliasing on. I got past it after an hour or so though, occasionally noticing it. You get over it, but to know it is there just kills me...maybe it would look better on a regular TV, I don't know.
Now we will touch on the gameplay. WOW. The gameplay for this is amazing. This game has one of the best cover systems in a game. Now, it isn't as good as Gears of War, or better example, Uncharted. If they had of made it equal to Gears of War, or almost as good as Uncharted's (nothing equals this games gameplay yet IMO), it would have been perfect. The blindfire is not bad, and you can aim. However, I don't like that you can only fire a shot off with a pistol (non-blindfiring). It is easy to aim if you take the auto aim off, and the cover system and shooting has been 110% increased from all the other Grand Theft Auto games. You can obviously tell that shooting and cover are a big thing in this game, especially when you start playing, because the cops will rush and continue to shoot. They are pretty ruthless, which is a good/bad thing in my book. Good in the fact it provides a challenge, bad in the fact that you can get overpowered by 5 cops and get killed easily. I purposely started shooting random people in the hospital when I died, so cops would come. I had numerous shootouts with them at the hospital. They would run and rush, then fall down and drop their weapons, and get back up, and I just did it all over again. The shooting is very good, and the cover system is also, especially for a game like this. The fighting was also cool. I was mad at first (when I started playing in the first 10 minutes) that I couldn't lock on...but when I did, the fighting was awesome. I was throwing uppercuts, people were getting realistic damage, people were just falling, and hitting me, it was awesome.
The missions and extra features are what I will touch on now. This is where it gets to be cool. Rockstar has crammed so many mini games and missions in here, coupled with your social life and own cell phone, it is just crazy. Again, I am perplexed to know how they can do this! The missions were straight forward from what I have done, and the first couple I have done are easy as hell, but considering most are driving, that isn't saying much. One of the missions was to transport the two chicks to one of their houses, and then I had to go get new clothes. I thought this was a cool feature when going into the shop. The clothes were all different, and it was a breeze to by and try everything. There was a limited supply, but my guess is there are many more shops to unlock further in the game. After I did that, I took the girl on a date, and it was pretty cool. She didn't really get close to me when following me, so I thought I was doing something wrong. I bowled a little with her, and then left. She said she wanted to see me again, and that was cool. I was also wondering what would happen if I punched her in the baby maker, but I restrained, hehe. I then played darts with my cousin, and it was cool (I wish he would help you fight people though...oh well). The mini games were well done and worked good. I have yet to get drunk or anything, but plan to ASAP lol. The other extras like watching TV and the radio stations were great though. I was switching channels on the TV, and saw a comedy thing, started watching it, and laughed because it was basically making fun of Kat Williams. This game has a lot of comedy about the real world in it, which I love. The missions are going to be awesome, I can already tell. The cell phone is a GREAT addition, very innovative and useful! Call your girls, call your cousin, and you can even change your ring tones on it and stuff. Great implementation into the game.
The car handling and style were great. I like all the little stuff, such as the cars being different. I saw many different cars, and most of them were all different colors and different versions of cars. They had the same car that was a nice new car as an old junkie car, and they handled differently. I loved it. The handling for the cars was great and very well done. Some of the cars were exact representations of real life cars. I could tell some of the cars names just by looking at them, such as the BMW clone, the Viper clone (obviously!), the Escalade clone, the Camaro clone, and many more. The cars are really well done this time. All handle different and the driving is more realistic. The shocks on the cars are realistic and all this. The cars also take amazing damage, which is great. I loved how they would scratch, or windows would bust one by one sometimes, part of the car would be dented instead of the whole side, and more little improvements. The damage system was one of the best I have seen to date. They really went all out on the cars.
Now for the physics...oh man, the physics. Amazing.....just simply amazing. The Euphoria engine is amazing. I love how I can hit a car, and I just crumple instead of flying 50 feet. I hit a car once (ran into it while it was skidding to a harsh stop) and I hit is with my legs, and fell back, and one of my knees was squirting blood. The engine in itself is amazing. I love how you can bump into people on the street, and they will drop items, such as bumping into someone and they drop an umbrella, or bumping a cop and making him drop his coffee and get pissed. The engine is so realistic, the people are so lifelike in their movements. You actually run over people and they go under the car or spin around, falling over the hood or to the side. They brush you off, or run into you and falling down, trying to catch their fall. I love (and hate) smashing into a car or a pole and flying out of the windshield into another car or the pavement, and just everyones reaction. The fighting and shooting also take a part in the physics. If I punch/kick someone somewhere, they hold that spot. If I shoot someone in that spot, their blood comes out there and they hold it. I was shooting the water dispenser in the hospital, and water came out all the holes I shot in it. I really can't get over how the people moved. The Euphoria engine was used so amazingly in this game...it just makes the game 100% better. Man, it just makes me so happy and amazed!!!