Sure,‚ GTA IV‚ is more realistic than any game in the franchise before it, but at what cost? Maybe it was that it was on the previous console generation, but the earlier games always seemed to have a sense of cartoon like fun to them. Come on, can you really take a game seriously when you’re running around a country club in a sweater vest, chasing down terrified golfers while wielding a flame thrower? Half the game is merely exploring the city and seeing just what you can do, stringing together impossible series of car chases, violence and stunts, and while this is still a major part of the game, due to some of the new realistic changes, it’s sometimes harder to string these chases out. For instance, say you want to lead the cops on a chase through downtown Liberty City, if you’re not careful you could out-run your wanted level circle, unless you start off by committing a major crime. New to the PC version, players can now record and edit these events, a great way to get bragging rights for their in game feats.
For the first time on a home console, the‚ GTA‚ series goes online, and yes it’s as addicting as it sounds. Up to 16 players (32 on PC) can take part in over a dozen different multiplayer modes. Though some are mere variations of others “" you’re unlikely to become bored with‚ GTA IV’s multiplayer suite. The brilliance of this portion of the game is that literally everything is customizable “" want to play in downtown Liberty with cops? Done. What about in the art district with no traffic, or cops but bazookas? You got it. Like the single player, each time you play, the game will be different and it’s hard to break away and turn the system off with such a fun experience.
In an industry where many franchises merely rely on the success of previous titles to sell new installments, it’s refreshing that Rockstar not only chose to challenge players and the industry by changing aspects of their mega-blockbuster dramatically. What results is not just a new high for the‚ Grand Theft Auto‚ series, but for the industry itself.‚ ‚ GTA IV‚ isn’t perfect but its damn close.