Grand Theft Auto IV
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: M — Mature
Game type: Action
Rating: **** 1/2 (out of five)

What’s the premise?
Nico Bellic comes to Liberty City from Eastern Europe looking for a fresh start but he quickly finds himself forced to do some very questionable things — not the least of which include carjacking, assaults and murder — to survive in this highly anticipated first hi-def edition of this popular franchise.

This game is most similar to…?
About five of the previous eight Grand Theft Auto games.

Is it suitable for younger gamers?
My almost-five-year-old son would probably love the incredibly detailed city that you can drive around for hours in. That said, he won’t be playing this game for at least 12 more years due to the graphic violence and language it contains.

One player or more?
The online multiplayer action comes in lots of fun varieties, from team deathmatches to carjacking competitions to turf wars and more.

The (not-so) secret to success is…?
More so than any previous GTA game, this one has a vivid, lifelike protagonist and so everything he does, from stealing a car to taking a girl on a date, changes the type of person he is. As much fun as it is to go human bowling down the sidewalks in a stolen SUV, try and remember that Nico’s actions have consequences.

What’s missing?
Co-op play might have been nice, but otherwise this game’s got all of the bases covered.

And in the end?
GTA IV is one of the deepest, most well thought out games around. It’s challenging without being foolishly difficult, has plenty of diverse gameplay options and is sure to engross almost every gamer who tries it.

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