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Live the American dream of fast cars, busty women, fast food and AK-47s

  • Jun 17, 2010
I'm new to the Grand Theft Auto games having always heard of the violent and questionable content.  Grabbing this one I can see what all the hype was about, it's a very absorbing game, very profane, violent and dark at times taking your character around town doing shady things and keeping in touch with your contacts along with humor and a varied array of missions.

Grand Theft Auto is the story of Niko Bellic, a former army soldier and an immigrant from the Eastern Bloc of Europe who's cousin Roman invited him to Liberty City (an Expy for New York) with the promise of mansions, big bucks and bigger silicone breasts.  Niko is a little perturbed to find Roman lives in squallor with a measily cab service.  Running errands for your cousin you start to earn some cash and you can even meet people like the steroid pumped Brucie, the Jamaican gunslinger and weed dealer Little Jacob, Manny- a tough guy who claims he'll clean up the streets but has other people do the work for him among many others, many of whom including the above are stereotyped (Yes the Jamaican guy smokes weed, we get it).  Niko while doing work finds his past catching up to him from people he knew back home as he continues his quest for the American dream and finds himself getting caught up in a world of crime.

Stealing cars, shooting gang members and cops, running across town for drug deliveries, it's all part of the game.  Weapons can include pistols, shotguns, grenades, rocket launchers and of course, the AK-47.  Getting in touch with your friends to spend time with them can lead to mini games like playing pool and bowling even strip clubs, or you can call them to get jobs and earn favors like buying black market guns and getting free rides to where you want to go.  Careful who you work with since making the game more "real" can also mean that doing work with one person will lead you to possibly alienating others.  Even more in the territory of time spent with people, you may even meet some ladies to spend time with on a date.  Treat them right on the date and it can lead to some "quality time"  (It consists of a cut scene of moaning and silly screaming, don't get too excited.)

One thing that is also to be commented on is the subtle to not too subtle commentary on American life.  Almost any restaurant is fast food, the Hummers in the game are called "Patriots" the TV has programs about rich and decadent money wasting debutaunts and a cartoon called "Republican Space Rangers", three tough bubbas who fly around in a penile shaped ship and kill any benevolent alien they meet.  Radio stations even have right wing and left wing stations.  Even as it loops during repeated play, it can still be hilarious.  My favorite is while surfing on the internet in the game, you can see a donut ad advertising twice the sugar and chocolate and that cops get a discount if they show their badge.  "caffeine and sugar, the best combination since cigerettes and beer!"

Some of the missions lead to annoying "driving" missions where you have to chase down your target and you NEED to drive fast to catch them, only to have a head on collision with another car that suddenly swerved in front of you.  Sometimes a car in traffic is doing something like trying to Y turn or get a car length ahead and BAM, accident for you, just enough time for your target to get away.  Going into a mission on it's FIFTH attempt and knowing how things are going to play out, I am charged with in one instance getting money from a gang leaders former member.  The gang member takes off and you can kill the former girlfriend OR race after the guy on a motorcycle and motorcycle racing is EASY to wipe out and take a header off of and kill yourself in those aforementioned chase missions.  For whatever reason, putting a car in the path of the guys escape route, OR to have a CAR to chase him with DISSAPEARS when the mission starts.  Sometimes the car is there in some missions and sometimes not.  One mission with Brucie the EXTREME steroid/workout freak REQUIRES you to illeagilly street race and you have to come in first to win the race.  God forbid you have to drive fast during rain, the roads are slippery as hell and you WILL do a couple of 360's.  One time while trying to shake the cops and not get arrested, I skidded and turned and low and behold a gas station, KABOOM.  Start mission all over again, and that includes DRIVING to the destination to get another attempt at the mission.  Dying is always better then arrested since if your arrested, your guns and body armor go bye bye and you gotta find your irons another way and rarely do the underground gun stores stock guns, they mostly carry the ammo for them.

Aside from a few difficulties in the gameplay and the at times annoying aspect of meeting and having fun with friends, Grand Theft Auto IV is a ton of fun.  The kind of game that you turn on in the morning and play till dusk as it's very absorbing and easy to get into.  The action is high, but so is the content so keep the M/A rating in mind.  Almost every cutscene has swearing, the action always leads to blood and again the missions include stealing cars, shooting cops and moving drugs.  But hey, you gotta do something to make money and live the dream.  Start working on that while you can grab a Jumbo Burger and read your copy of Gent.
Live the American dream of fast cars, busty women, fast food and AK-47s

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About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this video game


What does the American Dream mean today?

For Niko Bellic, fresh off the boat from Europe, it is the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them and a living nightmare for those who don’t.

Beginning with the 1997 release of the originalGrand Theft Auto, theGTAseries has been one of the most prolific, controversial and down right entertaining franchises in video games history. This pedigree of success guarantees that the highly anticipated eleventh game in the series,Grand Theft Auto IV, will garner at least as much attention if not more.

'Grand Theft Auto IV' game logo

Return to Liberty City. Niko's Dream as it should have been
The dream as Niko expected it.
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Niko and Roman
There's always a catch.
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Niko with gun

But some skills are international.
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The Plot
Grand Theft Auto IVis a brand new adventure in theGTAuniverse following the experiences of Nikolai "Niko" Bellic, a new immigrant from an undisclosed eastern European country whose troubled pa st and the persuasion of his cousin Roman have brought him to the fictional Liberty City. Unfortunately, Niko’s search for the American Dream and a much needed fresh start, hits an...

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ESRB: Mature
Number of Players: Single-player
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North
Console: PS3
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: April 29, 2008
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