GTA IV: A step backwards?

But the lead character isn't very appealing!
Niko - whatever his background or look - is actually the perfect avatar to lead GTA's return to Liberty City. He finds himself effectively alone in a new and intimidating city, just as we'll find GTA IV's reinvention of Liberty City an intimidating and extraordinary place.

You're going to be a stranger in a strange land, one that you thought you knew, and it'll be a journey of discovery that'll be echoed in Niko's own development. Plus, his shady background suggests a new level of gritty violence and arresting storylines will be in the offing, as Niko's East European ties follow him to Liberty City.

But you still have to date women!
Suggestions are that the dating feature has returned - with Rockstar giving Game Informer an example of what you can do outside of missions as calling up a girl for a date. But there's no reason to get upset over this. Even in San Andreas you only really had to do what you wanted to; the GTA games have never forced you to beat the side-stuff, like Pizza deliveries or Vigilante missions.

What this titbit does mean, though, is that Rockstar will continue to give you a staggering array of things to do. What was also given as an example was calling up a contact or a friend you've met in Liberty City, just to hang out with them. The focus isn't on strict, meet thisguy here and do this collection mission, but give this contact a call, hang out with them and perhaps earn a little money or respect at the same time. Although we're pretty sure that any sort of Hot Coffee will be absent from the many options.

April 12, 2007

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.