Grand Theft Auto IV Review: Terrorising Liberty City

This won’t be a very detailed review because we only played the game for 15 minutes because the Goonfather forgot to charge his controller.

But 15 minutes and I am already in love with Grand Theft Auto IV! Notwithstanding the fact that it’s all CG, you’ll feel like you’re watching a Hollywood action movie when the game starts.

First, there’s a background story explaining your maiden trip to Liberty City, USA. You’re met by your slimeball cousin who hands you the keys to his car because he’s roaring drunk and wants you to take him home. Once you get behind the wheel, the gameplay starts.

[You get to drive because your cousin's drunk]

While you’re learning how to handle a car with your controller, your loud, brash cousin talks your ears off with a drunken monologue in his heavily Italian-accented English.

That’s really cool, I think. The cutscenes and the gameplay blend with each other so smoothly that, sometimes, you feel like you’re still watching a cutscene even as you’re controlling Niko Bellic.

I love the game’s AI, but I guess that’s the charm of the GTA series. Residents in Liberty City react to everything you do as people would in real life, no matter what you do. When the Goonfather started ramming an ambulance’s rear repeatedly, the driver freaked and jumped out of his vehicle, leaving it to crash into a wall.

[We hope they bought insurance]

The graphics is amazing, a far cry from earlier GTA titles. Everything is so detailed, even down to the blood spurts when you run over someone.

[He checked the license plate number to buy 4D]

I’m fine with killing, normally. (In games lah!) I must have killed over ten million mobs (including human ones) over the course of my gaming career. But the graphics and AI in GTA4 are so realistic that I paled visibly when the Goonfather decided that running over people with his car multiple times was fun.

I was so traumatised on behalf of the Goonfather’s victims.

But the game is still cool and the culture of killing video game characters is something one can quickly adapt to, so it’s not like that’s gonna stop me from playing.

GTA4 is one of those games you could be satisfied with just watching and not playing because it’s like watching a movie. Or maybe that’s just me. Or maybe that’s just the Goonfather. Watching him play any game is like watching a comedy.

The Goonfather is such a fanboy that he pre-ordered the GTA4 Collector’s Edition for the PS3, even though I told him that I’d be getting a review copy for the Xbox 360.

[All your GTA4 are belong to the Goonfather]

He told me both versions are different. The PS3 version has been said to have marginally better graphics and framerate, while the Xbox 360 version has over 20 hours of downloadable content which the PS3 does not have.

It’s very clear cut to me which the winner is, but you can never talk sense into fanboys.

But all that is moot because I don’t have time to play the damn game!!!

I’ll bet by the time I actually get to play it, GTA5 will be out already.


I have Grand Theft Auto IV in my hands!!

So, here’s the saddest irony in the world.

I have in my hands a full-build copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, five days before official release.

But I have no time to play it.

And not just for one reason. Not even two reasons. But three reasons.

  1. I have so much work to do I don’t even have enough time to sleep. I hardly even have time to blog, missing a day yesterday and almost missing today.
  2. Our projector has just been sold so we have no TV right now. (Our new plasma TV will be delivered to our new place on Saturday.)
  3. Our Xbox 360 (together with half our stuff) is now sitting in our new home. We just haven’t officially moved in.



Talk about agony.

I can’t play till official moving day on Saturday. And even then, I’ll be busy unpacking and setting up all my Internet and gaming connections all day.

So I decided to play a little at the office before going home.

I’m horrible at console games, I’ve decided. The controller has too many buttons and toggles and they are not all nicely labelled like keys on the keyboard.

I couldn’t get Niko Bellic to run properly. I couldn’t shoot the damn gun so I had to suffer this dumb NPC continuously stabbing me in the face. I couldn’t run down the stairs properly, so I got Swordplay to help me get out of the damn building and jump into a car so I could put my driving skills to the test.

He got Niko into a car for me, and the first thing I did when I took over the controller was to make Niko get out of the car again.

What. I was stress testing the car doors okay. You guys ever see the stress test machines at Ikea, where they have the machines open and close closet doors 200 million times a day?

Fine. GTA IV is totally, like, wasted on me.


But I swear I will master console gaming if its the last thing I do. Once I have time to start playing games again, that is.

But someone has to first tell my new boss that he’s working me too hard.

Oh, wait. My boss reads my blog.


Hi, boss! =)

Nothing to see here! Kthxbye.