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GTA IV: Liberty City Standout Features

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GTA IV: Liberty City Standout Features

GTA IV: Liberty City Standout Features
Published by forahobby on Thursday, May 01, 2008
Tagged: Gaming, Xbox 360,
Ryan Treit from xbox.com reports on many of the outstanding new features of Grand Theft Auto IV after a dedicated day of hands-on time with Rockstar's latest masterpiece.

So much regarding Rockstar's already celebrated and critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto IV™ is common knowledge—the vast, open-ended sandbox style of play, the vibrantly alive metropolis of Liberty City (a re-imagining of New York), its gritty style and trademark humor, to name a few—that to restate the obvious is unnecessary.

Niko and Roman together again.

After several dedicated hours of play though, it remains remarkable just how vastly improved GTA IV is over its already brilliant predecessors. New feature after feature tumbles forth during the game's first couple of hours as Rockstar weaves new mechanics and options into an intimately familiar play-style, adding substance and infusing the game with a sense of freshness.

Let's take a look at some of the exciting new features and additions.

Niko's Drama
While Grand Theft Auto IV retains every bit of the series' much-loved sense of humor, it's worth noting that the core storyline offers just as much drama as it does wit. Niko Bellic's arc through Liberty City is both subtle and emotional as the game's excellent and believable digital acting adds weight to Niko's inevitable and often tragic descent into Liberty City's underworld.

The addition of a cover system may seem a simple change, sure, but it's a revolutionary one as firefights turn a great deal more towards the tactical side rather than classic running and gunning.

Adding to Niko's drama is your own ability to make life-and-death choices for characters during certain missions. For example, early on, a debtor to the villainous Vlad finds himself hanging precariously from a ledge, with you able to grab hold and lift him up or kick him to his doom. How you play Niko and where you draw the line is up to you.

Moody doesn't do it justice.

Grand Theft Natural Motion
The seamless blend of Rockstar's RAGE and Natural Motion's Euphoria engines may not jump out at you instantly, but the first time you clip a median at 100mph and send poor Niko crashing through the windshield thirty yards through the air, you'll appreciate its tremendous impact. Seeing Niko shift from spread-eagle flight to instinctively shielding his face and balling up to roll as he hits the ground is a seminal GTA moment.

Whether it's an explosion, gunshot, an enemy plummeting off a rooftop, or seeing an unfortunate car owner dragged through the streets as they doggedly cling to their car door while you drive off, no reaction or animation is precisely the same as another.

Duck and Cover
The addition of precise analog aiming is reason enough for celebration, but the ability to take cover behind any conceivable object adds the final welcome touch to GTA IV's combat system. If you can reasonably crouch or stand behind an object, press RB while next to it to take cover. If there's cover off to one side or the other, press in that direction and press RB again, to have Niko seamlessly shift from one cover point to the next.

The addition of a cover system may seem a simple change, sure, but it's a revolutionary one as firefights turn a great deal more towards the tactical side rather than classic running and gunning.

On the mean streets of Liberty City.

Ring, Ring … Hello?
Early on in your Liberty City adventures Niko is given a cell phone, and it's this item that allows you to manage your contacts and missions as you progress. You can receive text messages and phone calls from the game's major players, but you can also use the phone proactively as well. For example:

  • Jobs and abilities: Certain contacts will offer much more than just core storyline missions, and each of these bonus abilities and side missions are accessible from your cell phone. Give your cousin Roman a call after completing enough missions and you can earn extra cash driving one of his cabs, offer to take him out on the town, and even call for a car to be delivered to your current location.

  • Sleep mode: Turn this feature on (found in your cell phone under Options) and all cell phone calls are eliminated until you toggle the feature back off. This effectively puts the game's storyline on pause, allowing you to explore the city and do as you see fit without worrying about getting interrupted with a frantic call for help from any of the game's robust rogue's gallery.

  • Multiplayer access: There's no need for excessive menu navigation here as a simple click on your cell phone transports you directly from the streets of Liberty City to any multiplayer offering of your choice.

  • Mission replay: Should you fail a mission, you can immediately replay it from the beginning by selecting the option from your cell phone, so you don't have drive all the way back to the mission's start point.

  • Random numbers: You'll hear or see a good deal of phone numbers in Liberty City, whether on billboards, radio ads, TV commercials or a number of other sources. Punch these into your cell phone (press up on the D-pad to access the phone's number pad) to uncover some hilarious Easter eggs.

Building Friendships
Many of the characters you'll meet throughout your travels can be befriended to your benefit, as you unlock special abilities and side missions by building relationships. In order to gain their trust and favor though, you'll need to do more than just primary missions.

Landmarks are scattered all about.

Take your newfound buddy or girlfriend out on the town for a bit of rest and relaxation. Not everyone enjoys the same form of entertainment, so whether it's tipping back a frosty beverage, enjoying a night at the cabaret, playing pool, darts or bowling, you'll need to consider their personality in order to make a lasting impact. Play your cards right and you'll gain access to weapons, bombs, and car deliveries among much else.

Grand Theft Auto IV is so vast in every way that the preceding really doesn't do justice to the strides the series has taken on its way to its first current-generation entry on Xbox 360®. It's radically improved yet retains all the charm and features of previous series' entries. In short, GTA IV has delivered on the hype and exceeded expectations. Enjoy your time in Liberty City. By all accounts, it should be a lengthy visit.

Article by Ryan Treit

Official Site: http://www.xbox.com
360-Hq Game Database: Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360
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