5 things GTA 4 consistently does better than other open-world games
While some might consider GTA 5 the current pinnacle of the Grand Theft Auto series, it’s arguable that GTA 4 is more deserving of that title. Released in 2008, the game set a new benchmark for open world design, creating a model that many others still follow today.
You could even say that there would be no GTA 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2 if GTA 4 hadn’t led the way. Not only has it managed to outperform most open-world games that have come before it, but it also continues to outperform some of the best entries in the genre after all these years. Here are some reasons why this is the case.
5 A living, breathing open world
When players first set foot in Liberty City in GTA 4, it was clear that Rockstar had gone the extra mile to make their latest sandbox as accurate a representation of New York as possible. This can be seen in everything from realistic pedestrians going about their daily business to the towering buildings that make up the city’s skyline.
This, of course, wasn’t the first time Rockstar had built a believable city for players to enjoy. But it was a refinement of everything it had done up to that point, and the first to be powered by RAGE, a proprietary game engine that helped bring the city to life through a host of modern rendering techniques. Nor was it its largest open world, a distinction held by the massive Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. But what GTA 4 lacks in overall size compared to San Andreas, it more than makes up for in density.
4 A realistic physics engine
Rockstar’s advanced game engine not only provided cutting-edge visuals in GTA 4, but also some of the best physics simulation featured in an open-world game. This was paired with the Euphoria animation engine to ensure that every person and object in the game, from the main character to streetlights, moves and feels like they have weight.
It impacted everything from how pedestrians moved when you pushed them, to how cars behaved when going at top speed. The physics were so extensive that it was normal for your character to be thrown from the vehicle in crashes, resulting in highly exaggerated and often comical deaths. This was greatly reduced for GTA 5 and all subsequent Rockstar games using the engine since then, which is why GTA 4 still serves as a showcase for all of RAGE’s abilities in action.
3 An engaging story
Prior to Grand Theft Auto 4, stories from GTA games were serviceable at best. They were modeled after well-known movies like Scarface and Boyz N the Hood, and as such conformed to all the expected tropes and stereotypes. This meant that they usually focused on one main character’s rise to power while amassing fame and fortune in a crime-ridden town.
But for GTA 4, writing duo Dan Houser and Rupert Humphries set out to explore something a little deeper, namely the immigrant experience seen through the eyes of an ex-soldier from Europe. from the East in pursuit of the American dream. This immediately gives the game a grittier take on American culture than has been shown in previous entries in the series. It still included a lot of the satirical games GTA is known for, except none of it got in the way or threatened to overshadow its story.
2 A cast of memorable characters
Speaking of the story of GTA 4, the game’s plot wouldn’t be anywhere near as compelling as it is if it weren’t populated with a cast of memorable characters. Niko Bellic is unlike any other protagonist in GTA as he is as ruthless as he is endearing. The same can be said of his cousin, Roman, whose relentless requests to “go bowling” managed to achieve meme status.
And that extended to other supporting characters like Little Jacob and Brucie, and main antagonist Dimitri Rascalov. They were larger-than-life characters that didn’t resemble the typical stereotypes and caricatures that occupy other open-world games of this nature. Each was fully fleshed out with clear patterns and realistic character traits, brought to life by a combination of competent writing and excellent voice acting.
1 Large single-player DLC
One of the best things about GTA 4 is the fact that the story didn’t end with the exploits of Niko Bellic in Liberty City. Indeed, two single-player expansions were released for the game in 2009, first as timed exclusives on the Xbox 360, but eventually made their way to the PlayStation 3 and PC as well.
The first of these was called The Lost and Damned and centered on The Lost MC, a motorcycle gang operating in Liberty City. It had players taking control of Johnny Klebtiz, one of its members who gets caught up in a conflict with their leader. The second was called The Ballad of Gay Tony, and it had players taking on the role of a bodyguard named Luis, who must help an eponymous nightclub owner overcome many challenges to his business and his livelihood. subsistence. Both expansions used the same map in the main campaign, but still functioned as standalone adventures in their own right.
NEXT: Ranking Every Grand Theft Auto Game From Worst To Best