Hello gamers and welcome to the close out of week 14 in our countdown!
Causing Trouble in the 31 Position…
After a four year hiatus from the Grand Theft Auto series following the success of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar released the much-awaited Grand Theft Auto 4. It was the story of Niko Bellic, his arrival from eastern Europe to Liberty City, and his ascent from a poor immigrant to a penthouse owning millionaire.
Unlike the rest of the Grand Theft Auto games, Grand Theft Auto IV was much more story driven. It was centered around a main storyline where whatever choices you made directly impacted the end of the game, which was much less common in 2008 than it is today. We also got characters with much more depth and detail in this iteration of the series than ever before. You could actually identify with some of the characters and understand why they acted the way they did, and you could feel the moral turnings with each choice.
Even with the negative moral choices, Grand Theft Auto IV delivered more than just murder and debauchery; it brought the freedom that the series is known for. From side games like darts, bowling and even dating, there was much more to do here than just kill and steal. Grand Theft Auto IV also brought a brand new feature to the Grand Theft Auto series: Multiplayer. The multiplayer was fairly elaborate, allowing for both race and deathmatch-style gameplay. Personally I enjoyed the racing more, but there were tons of people that enjoyed the deathmatch gameplay, and the multiplayer modes have become a main selling point and staple of the Grand Theft Auto series in the years since Grand Theft Auto IV’s release.
Niko Bellic, the protagonist, was a breath of fresh air when it came to the series’ main characters. You no longer had a quiet main character or an over the top “Scarface” character, but more of a believable human being with hopes, dreams and desires. The gameplay changed a bit too, allowing for more control when it came to both the shooting and cover mechanics. The vehicles were much more numerous and varied, allowing for a more immersive experience as the player journeyed through Rockstar’s faux New York.
The story brought a veteran from a foreign country to Liberty City in search of his piece of the American dream. Unfortunately this American dream required a lot of murder, robbery and blackmail; things that are commonplace in the Grand Theft Auto series. As with pretty much all of the Grand Theft Auto games, all of the things I just mentioned earned Grand Theft Auto IV a lot of criticism and ire from lawmakers and pundits around the world. The Australian government, for instance, censored much of the game. Even MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) got into the fight against this game, asking the ESRB to change the rating from M to AO. It didn’t work, but they sure tried.
While the introduction of an immersive storyline and multiplayer were great, Grand Theft Auto IV ultimately feels lacking in some areas. Maybe this is because there wasn’t a substantial jump in graphics quality or mechanics from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The systems that the game were designed for were starting to show their age, and Grand Theft Auto IV suffered a bit for it. Another issue was that, despite the new focus on story, Grand Theft Auto IV felt like more of the same. Yes, the game was massive and allowed you to do more, but it was somewhat predictable (with the exception of the final mission).
Top of its class
The launch of Grand Theft Auto IV brought Rockstar $310 million in revenue in just 24 hours and it passed the $500 million mark in its first week. Those numbers were good enough for the Guinness Book of World Records to show Grand Theft Auto IV as the number one game for sales and revenue in a 24 hour period in 2008. As of this publication, those records are held by this game’s successor, Grand Theft Auto V. Grand Theft Auto IV won 7 game of the year awards including awards from Kotaku, The New York Times and Time magazine, not to mention a slew of other award nominations. While it had it’s problems, Grand Theft Auto IV still stands as a massive success and a strong game, and for those reasons The Newbiverse gives Grand Theft Auto IV a 4 out of 5.