Tuesday April 29th March 2008
It is quite rare for me to claim that a certain title is the best I have ever played. That award goes to a single game from 2002 – Mafia. Through the years I’ve seen titles come and go, in which I have claimed to be superb and whilst they have been just that, the replayability wasn’t there – Condemned and Bioshock for instance.
The Grand Theft Auto series since GTA: Vice City has always had a place in my heart. It’s sucessor San Andreas was equally as good featuring a huge land mass, in which you could do virtually anything you wanted to. It quickly became my favourite game of the series. Well move over San Andreas, GTA IV just became my favourite GTA but also my second favourite game of all time. Since it’s release Grand Theft Auto IV has ranked up some of the highest review marks I have seen since Gears of War on the 360. Although I do think the marking for IV was a little over the top in quite a few areas it is without doubt an outstanding accomplishment from Rockstar.
Liberty City, is based on New York City of course, in which we see Niko Bellic (a war veteran from Bosnia) arriving in search of the American Dream. Does he find it though? Buggered if I could find out since I encountered a nasty broken mission bug, which saw me not receiving a key phone call from some lawyers so I ended up restarting the game. Suffice to say it’s been a rather long Bank Holiday weekend making up for all that lost time but I have had a blast, which didn’t please my girlfriend…
Is the title any good? Well short of actually reviewing it I will state that "Yes it is outstanding, in many, many ways but that doesn’t mean it has no faults". It’s graphics are very controversial right now and I say this because the game is using a blur filter that makes commenting on the graphics rather hard. In some places the game looks incredible, whilst in other areas it looks completely poor as distant objects are blurred and dithered to an extent. The game features a lighting system that I rate as the best I have ever seen. I kid you not – driving through Liberty City is an experience to behold mainly because the lighting is so perfect that everything looks just right and I won’t mention the dynamic shadows moving in relation to the sun…
Rockstar have created a living, breathing city in ways that cannot really be described. Even my mother who was watching me play earlier today stated that the city looked so real as I casually drove past all the neon-lit buildings amongst hundreds of yellow cabs.
I am still going through the game and I’m just 30% through it but I can see heaps of things to do afterwards and with the extra downloadable content arriving later in the year I just hope that extends the gameplay a bit more. Who knows? All I know is that I am hooked!