59 reviews

Grand Theft Auto 4

$60.00 Released April, 2008

Product Shot 1 The Pros:Emergent physics system and animation with Euphoria. A city that feels more "alive". Storyline or freeform abilities.

The Cons:Most buildings and objects can't be used. Limited co-op gametypes. Oppressive DRM on the PC version.

The next-generation sequel to the controversial number one selling game. Grand Theft Auto 4 has you playing as Russian immigrant, Niko, trying to escape his shady past in modern-day New York. In a break from the trend of increasingly larger worlds to explore, Rock Star opted for a more densely packed smaller game world than in San Andreas.

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Product Shot 2 Major improvements over the previous games come in the form of a more vibrant city, substantially improved combat mechanics, "deeper" personal relationships, fleshed out physics and animation systems, and a comprehensive online component.


GTA4 fundamentally resolves down to the basic mechanics the first incarnations pioneered - stealing cars, shooting gangsters/cops, and completing missions. The fourth main installment of the franchise refines and improves many of these fundamentals. Most notably is the change to the gun shooting mechanics, where before auto-aim played a very large role and often times frustrated players, GTA4 uses an over-the-shoulder view similar to that in Gears of War. Also similar to Gears of War is the inclusion of a cover system that lets Niko hide behind objects to avoid getting hit. Hand-to-Hand combat has also been refined with a deeper moveset, and more combos available.

Driving has taken on a more realistic feel to match the rest of the game's setting. Cars now have more distinctive weights and features that sometimes make them more difficult to drive than in previous games. Vehicles that can be driven by Niko include cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and helicopters. Bicycles and airplanes introduced in San Andreas don't make the cut.


Rockstar is taking the game back to its roots and placing the setting in the fictitious Liberty City. This time around the city is far more realized and offers a more than passing resemblance to New York City. Four of the Five burroughs are found in the game under fictitious names, with the notable exception of Long Island. Rockstar has been quoted as saying the city is smaller than the one in GTA:San Andreas, however its far denser, making the overall amount of places you can travel to be equal. Buildings are more interactive with many containing full interiors.


Grand Theft Auto 4 is the first time that online multiplayer is available to console players. Rock Star has taken cues from other modern online games and added their own GTA twist. Up to 16 players can take part in online matches that exist within the same open world of the single player. This means you can engage in one of the 16 different multiplayer modes and still travel to any part of the map, engage with civilians and do everything you can do in the regular game. Rock Star attempts to keep the interactions localized by making health and weapon respawns occur in select parts of the map.

Customization plays a large role in the multiplayer modes. Hosts are given the ability to specify the number of pedestrians available, cars in the streets, if cops are active, auto-aim settings, etc. Players themselves can also customize their digital personas with different clothing and body shape choices, the more you play, the more points you gain to unlock further customizations for your avatar.

Rock Star Social Club

Taking inspiration from Halo 3 Rock Star has a website that accompanies the game to provide statistics, community organization and other benefits to gamers. Not only do online games get logged in the social club, but extensive leaderboards and challenges for the single player game.

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3 versions

Downloadable episodic content will be available exclusively for the Xbox 360 version. Any exclusive content/features for the PS3 version has not been announced yet.

User Reviews (65)

Add Pros & Cons
  • 47

    Emergent physics system and animation with Euphoria

  • 45

    A city that feels more "alive"

  • 33

    Storyline or freeform abilities

  • 32

    Excellent graphics (every version gets better)

  • 31

    New wanted system much better, no need for Pay 'N Spray

  • 25

    In-game cell phone is absolute genius

  • 23

    Characters in the game have a quality about them that makes you care for what happens

  • 15

    Incredible soundtrack

  • 13

    Over the shoulder aiming works perfect

  • 12

    Deep hand-to-hand combat system

  • 10

    Multiplayer is a lot of fun with friends

  • 7

    Seamless multiplayer

  • 7

    First half of the story has great writing

  • 7

    Cheat codes allow you to resolve many of the game's difficulty issues

  • 2

    Fun to play expansion - Lost and the Damned

  • 0


  • 29

    Most buildings and objects can't be used

  • 16

    Limited co-op gametypes

  • 11

    Oppressive DRM on the PC version

  • 9

    Linear storyline

  • 9

    No checkpoint system means redoing missions is a major pain

  • 8

    Horrible online lobby system

  • 8

    Friends and activities are too much of a chore

  • 2

    Awkward camera control

  • 2

    1.03 update locks savegames to a single PSN account

  • 2

    SEVERE lack of vehicles other than run of the mill cars/trucks/bikes, a few useless boats, and a few CRAPPY helicopters. It's GTA, where's the variety??!!

  • 2

    No aircraft other than a few helicopters which handle terribly and are nigh-impossible to aim their gatling guns. Rockstar could take a serious lesson from Pandemic (developers of Mercenaries). THAT game has heavenly chopper controls... (just for comparison).

  • 0

    Framerate issues

  • -1

    Game feels like a rich stuck-up cousin of former glory-days GTA titles. Lot's of sophistication and refinement, little substance, and lack of... just plain FUN. What happened?

  • -1

    Shader 3.0 Required

  • -2

    high PC system requirements

  • -3


  • -4

    Bad shadow dithering on Xbox 360 version

  • -5

    Lower resolution and blurry image on the PS3 version

  • -7

    Some people with certain models of the PS3 can't get past the initial cutscene

  • -21

    Cars can be difficult to control

Comments (21)

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fiftyeight: #grand_theft_auto_4 In my mind this is one of the best games (regardless of platform) made in the last 12 months. Fallout has a large following but I never really got into it. Far Cry 2 was a huge let down. The only game I can think of that rivaled this one based on enjoyment was Crysis although Crysis in all its glory seemed short lived. Apr 11, 09
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onyxravine: #grand_theft_auto_4 Rockstar never talks about a PC release until a year after the consoles. Mar 23, 09
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keno: #grand_theft_auto_4 GTA 4 for the pc is quite a performance eating game. As i seen the news about gta for wii, i was wondering.
I'm happy that gta 4 is working fine on my pc. Only the car driving through the nite is something laggy. Feb 5, 09
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Yale: #grand_theft_auto_4

Besides agreeing with ajm48786 about the lack of innovation in this game, it is also completely crap on the PC platform. The raw computational power this game demands is shocking. While I don't have the strongest PC, I don't even use half of the power my GPU provides, simply because I need to floor the "graphical detail" in order to get a fluid enough frame rate. Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit - the models and world are a lot more detailed and fluid than those in other games - but boy, it feels like a breath of fresh air when I boot up Fallout 3.

Dec 18, 08
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Omar: #grand_theft_auto_4 I have issues with GTA4, but I disagree with ajm that it's because things were taken away. I'm never a proponent of having more for the sake of 'more', everything should make sense, and as much as possible be optional. GTA4 actually does an excellent job of this, a lot of people bemoan the dates, and darts, and all of that, but a lot of those things are optional. I probably went out on 5 or 6 dates through the course of the game.

I actually wasn't a fan of the previous GTA games, so I don't regret the absence of things like gang buddies and owning large properties. All the properties and friends you make in the game make sense, and it wouldn't really make sense in the game story to all of a sudden own this large mansion. Fine, that is sacrificing gameplay for cohesion, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to take.

To be honest, I got around a lot of GTA's shortcomings with liberal use of the game's built-in cheat codes. The vanilla rules and missions were often times frustrating, but once I told myself that it's OK to use the cheat codes, the game became orders of magnitude more enjoyable. I could spawn the best car when I wanted. I could give myself all the weapons I wanted. I could give myself the helicopters I wanted, etc. I understand this goes against what I was saying before about cohesion, but that's what I loved about GTA4 is that it gave me the choice. I could CHOOSE to be consistent with the story/atmosphere, or I could break that myself... the game doesn't force you into either mode.

As for Yale's performance issues... well that's why you go with the console :P Dec 18, 08
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ajm48786: #grand_theft_auto_4 I like this game a good deal; but, its way overrated. I have a few problems with this game. The vehicles are kind of annoying, there is that same GTA tendency for the streets to fill up with whatever type of vehicle you're using, which sucks (unless its a rare car).

I hate how there aren't large areas you can control anymore. For example, GTA Vice City, you wind up with the Scarface Mansion,etc. In GTA IV, you don't inherit large areas as you own residence, leaving you with those meager parking spaces out front, which suck! they SUCK! I want garages!

Another thing-where are the tanks!? Where are the planes!? Where are DECENT helicopters!? Why can't any helicopter fly over the mock Empire State Building!? They need to release a patch with the Apache helicopter, jet airplanes,etc.

Where is the innovation!? Yeah, the aiming system is better, the cell phone works; but, they left a lot of things out. Its like we're regressing. They blew everyone away with graphics, presentation, and sound; people overlooked the fact you can't modify cars, you can't garner followers and command them, etc. San Andreas was more advanced in quite a few ways, and I think Rockstar was stupid for leaving the majority of those features out of IV.

Overall, its a solid game. Its fun, commands attention, has a decent replay value, etc. Its certainly a must have for everyone that enjoyed any of the series post GTA2. I just hate how people hype these games up so much because of graphics,etc when they should call the developers out on the faults. I don't think there will EVER be a game devoid of faults/shortcomings, GTA IV is no exception. When we hype things up and overlook the faults we just HURT OURSELVES! Think about it- the developers have NO incentive to fix the problems if everyone praises the game as though it were perfect! We have to call them out so we get higher quality games. Jul 10, 08
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mderr2400: #grand_theft_auto_4 I agree, the gameplay is awesome, as well as the storyline--they must've had a team of writers working on this for years! I came across this video that showed a basic overview of how to play grand theft auto iv. It's good for beginners, but I'm sure there's even more advanced stuff out there by now.

Anyway, let's hope for lots more cool things from Rockstar with their August update...until then, happy hunting! Jun 23, 08
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dialupinternetuser: #grand_theft_auto_4 I got to play it yesterday, and it's pretty sweet. Driving is more realistic, which at first I didn't like, but once I got the hang of it I liked it a lot more. Additionally, the improved cop system with the red circle on your map works a lot better than picking up the "police bribes" Jun 12, 08
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SilenceOmo7: #grand_theft_auto_4 This game is so much better than the previous GTA's. I like that the world actually feels "alive". May 14, 08
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Omar: #grand_theft_auto_4 Continuing my dating story. The next day I picked up Michelle to complete the date, and when she got in the car she asked me "what happened to you last night? Did your cousin Roman steal you away" ... friggin awesome. May 3, 08
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GT-D: #grand_theft_auto_4 Does sound like a great game, but I don't own a system so I'm just gonna wait on PC version.

Pains me to see these games come out on console first. Especially from a company that used to make PC games primarily, and then totally turned their back on the PC market.

Personally I HATE using gamepads to play first or third person shooter/adventure games. Feels like .... trying to think of a good comparison .... trying to eat soup with chopsticks. Not the best - but either way, point is: wrong tool for the job. People tell me you can use a KB and mouse with the new systems though. Anyone comment on this re: GTA4? May 1, 08
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Omar: #grand_theft_auto_4 Picked this up yesterday and got a chance to play for a few hours. There are already thousands of impressions about the game all around the web so I'll try to highlight points I haven't seen brought up elsewhere.

I'm having trouble getting used to the way the camera moves with Nico. I've gotten used to controlling the character with the left thumbstick, and the camera with the other thumbstick, but in GTA you just let the camera do its thing. It can be jarring when you're turning and the camera turns quickly too. I hope I can get used to it, but so far I'm finding it difficult.

The melee combat is awesome. The other GTA games were a rough approximation of fighting, but now punching someone feels good, and the blocks, dodges and counters make it all significantly deeper and more fun.

One thing blew me away last night while playing, I called a girl for a date, but then received a mission when I was on my way over. I had to go help Roman out which ended up taking me the rest of the night. Come morning time I actually got a text message from the girl asking me why I didn't show up. Something so small, but it makes you approach the game in a TOTALLY different kind of way.

The cell phone really is design genius. Absolute genius. Apr 30, 08
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Omar: #grand_theft_auto_4 With all the gushing reviews coming out I've found myself caught up in the hype. I never really played the previous GTAs, but the refined controls, more mature storyline and fully realized multiplayer are extremely alluring. I was out a little late last night so I figured I'd drive by a midnight launch and see if I can snag a copy. When I got there the lineup was 150 or so deep, and moving pretty slowly. I want the game, but not that badly. I'll just go to the same store today, waltz in and pick it up hassle free. Apr 29, 08
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dialupinternetuser: #grand_theft_auto_4 I recently got the Grand Theft Auto double pack, so even if it doesn't get any better than the old ones, it still should be a good game. Jan 13, 08
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Omar: #grand_theft_auto_4 PS3 and 360 for now. But all the other GTAs were on the PC, so I imagine this one will be as well. Oct 13, 07
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