Vacationing in Liberty City…

The greatest game ever?

It’s been the most hyped game to ever have been released. It received top scores from pretty much everyone. It broke three Guinness world records! GTA IV could only be described as with one word – phenomenon. So does it live up to the hype? Is Grand Theft Auto IV the best game ever?

I find myself agreeing with the masses, to a degree. GTA IV is, in fact, a great game. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it the best game ever made, but it’s definitely up there with Starcraft and Final Fantasy VII in the best of the best categories.

The most amazing thing about the game is its scope. The game is huge. Liberty City is one of the greatest cities to ever be featured in a GTA game. While it does not cover as much area as San Andreas, the space in Liberty City is much more condensed, and the city lives and breathes. Gone are the same models used over and over, Liberty City has a citizenship that does not make you feel like you’re living in a Cylon city, with hundreds of copies of the same people. Each building, each street corner has its own unique and distinct feel. You eventually begin to familiarize yourself with the area, much like you would in a real city.

Liberty City also has a lot to keep you occupied (while you’re not executing people or going on shotgun rampages). Full length TV shows, hours of radio, even complete Stand-Up comedy shows by Kat Williams and Ricky Gervaise (the stand-up really is funny). You could call a buddy and go drinking, eating, play pool, darts or bowling, you can even catch a cabaret, if that strikes your fancy.

Since I brought it up, one of the coolest new features in GTA IV, and a feature I predict many games will begin to mimic in one way or another, is the cell phone. Pretty much all social interaction is done through the cell phone. You can call your mission contacts, receive text messages from your girlfriend, and call up your buddy to spend a night out on the town. All these are done through your cell. But that’s not all – multiplayer access is also done through the phone, it’s easy and comfortable. You just hit a button, and within seconds you’re racing with a friend through the streets of Liberty City.

But all this would be worth diddly-squat, if it weren’t for engaging characters. And no GTA character is more engaging than Niko Belic. Niko comes off as a genuine person, with thoughts (and deep ones at that) and a personality. He reacts to the things that happen to him with a genuine humanity. The conversations he has with the people around him range for the silly to the profound, but theres always a truthfulness to them. It is Niko who makes GTA IV the stand-out game that is. Never has a character stood out this much in a game of this type, and the bar has been raised in the field of character development. Complimented by terrific voice acting, GTA IV is the most engaging character-game to be found. It rivals Final Fantasy VII in its unique and terrific characters.

In conclusion, GTA IV really is a terrific, terrific game. More companies should pay close to attention to what Rockstar are doing, because this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make games.