From Friday’s The Oklahoman:
By Matthew Price
Assistant Features Editor
“Grand Theft Auto IV” already has plenty of tongues wagging for its violent and sexual content — but how does it stack up as a game?
The mature-rated “Grand Theft Auto IV” features Niko Bellic, an eastern European lured to Liberty City by the promises of his cousin. When his cousin’s promises ring hollow, Niko must find his own path to the American dream of success.
Niko must complete various missions for the game to move forward, but there’s plenty of room to veer — Niko can watch in-game television, surf the in-game Internet, and go on dates.
There are a multitude of choices to be made, some which affect the overall course of the game, and some that don’t. The storyline is engaging and may keep some gamers away from endlessly wandering, which was popular in previous “GTA” installments. But for gamers who choose to wander, there’s plenty to see.
The visuals of the game really show the potential of the next-generation systems. Boroughs designed to resemble the actual New York boroughs. Still, the game isn’t afraid to veer from strict adhesion to the real-world Manhattan when a few changes would make for a better game.
Sunlight and shadows accurately move as time progresses in the game, and improved physics that ground the entire enterprise in a realistic world. The nonplayer characters interact with one another regardless of Niko’s presence or influence, adding another layer of verisimilitude.
“Grand Theft Auto IV” adds an online multiplayer option to this edition; while it’s not as interesting as the single-player game, it’s a nice option to add.
Like most “Grand Theft Auto” games, many of Niko’s activities are illicit or at best ill-considered for law-abiding citizens. But for fans of crime dramas like “The Sopranos” and “Scarface,” “Grand Theft Auto IV” is compelling entertainment that appeals to the same sensibilities. The game is intended for mature audiences age 17 and older.