Easily the best GTA to date, Grand Theft Auto IV nevertheless polarised popular opinion. Of course there was the usual cabal of knee-jerk hacks and bleary-eyed politicos calling for it to be banned, but they weren’t the only angry ones: For the first time since 1997, GTA fans weren’t happy either. For some, Grand Theft Auto IV was a giant stride forward; conflicted characters, rainy verisimilitude and more gritty violence than a Soprano’s boxset made GTA IV the first Rockstar game truly worthy of a “Mature” rating. But for others – those expecting more of the same raucous, guiltless fun the GTA games were famous for – Grand Theft Auto IV was a huge disappointment: Gone were the jetpacks, the Kill Frenzies, the silly haircuts, replaced by rusty hatchbacks and black-market Glocks.
Now Grand Theft Auto V is about to descend from gaming Heaven, and nobody knows quite what to expect. So far we’ve seen sunshine, and smog; MountChiliad, and the ghetto; homeless people, and fighter jets. There’s plenty of glitz and silliness on display, but here are five things we hope Rockstar remember from GTA IV.
5. Make The City Smaller & Pile On The Detail
The original San Andreas was huge, 13.9 square miles to be exact: A composite mish-mash of LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas, the cities proper were separated by miles of lustrous countryside which was pretty to look at, but too big and empty to be any fun. GTA IV is much smaller (about 6 square miles) but intensely detailed; the sprawling green dead zones that padded out San Andreas have been reworked into graffitied alleyways and bustling harbours.
The east end of Liberty City is an industrial hotbox of billowing chimneys and garbage truck exhaust pipes, offset perfectly by the hustle and bustle of Algonquin’s (Manhattan’s) city centre. In the north, there’s Bohan (The Bronx) and Holland (Harlem), dilapidated inner-city shitholes propped up by boarded windows and a thriving drug trade. And to the far west is Alderney (New Jersey) a cosy, exclusive suburb secured on all sides by white picket fences and expensive real estate.
Each neighbourhood has its own distinct character: Different architecture and pedestrian skins make Liberty City the most dynamic and vibrant GTA town to date. It’s the ideal setting for Rockstar’s brand of biting satire; considering the trailer and the latest screenshots, GTA V looks set to scrutinise the modern American city in even more detail.
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