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As with just about every game, there are both ranked and unranked matches. Ranked matches are the only way to progress up the ranking system (from 0-10). Progressing up the ranks not only makes you feel better about yourself, but it opens up new clothing and accessories to better customize your character. There's not a lot of pull to rank up, though, because many of the modes don't use your custom character. The co-op modes and Cops n' Crooks use a different cast, so if those tend to be your primary focus, having new outfits for a character you never see isn't going to mean much.
I won't go so far as to say that GTA IV is the best multiplayer out there, but it's definitely among the best. Having Liberty City in full effect and only seeing occasional instances of slowdown is a real treat. When a few million people load hop online, it's anyone's guess how the game will hold up, but from my experience, playing with 16 people in Free Mode only caused occasional hiccups. Certainly not enough to make me stop playing.
Grand Theft Auto III was a revolutionary title, one that inspired a whole new generation of 3D action games. Grand Theft Auto IV is just as big a leap forward, though perhaps in subtler ways, and sets a new benchmark for open-world games. Everything in GTA IV works in harmony. The story would be nothing without the city; the city gains realism from the physics engine; the physics complement the improved AI; the AI would make no sense without the new cover system. And on and on. There is no one major weak aspect.
A "10" is not a score we give out very often. In fact, the last time we gave a 10 to a console game was Soul Calibur in 1999. A 10 doesn't mean a game is perfect -- it means a game is pushing boundaries, expanding a genre, and doing many things to a level so far above and beyond its competitors that they overshadows any flaws. Certainly, GTA IV has some issues, the most noticeable being the occasional flaw in the cover system, but there are many more pieces of GTA IV that are better than anything I've seen from a game in the past decade. We don't give 10s often -- just to games that merit the score.
|out of 10||click here for ratings guide|
The story is Oscar quality. The use of the phone as a gaming portal is genius. There's really nothing more that could be asked for from GTA IV.
The level of detail is astounding. Liberty City feels alive and lived in. While there are some technical issues, the artistic merits push the score to the max. A true marvel.
The dialogue makes the story. Without the excellent writing and the stellar voice acting, the story would fail. And the soundtrack kills -- more than 200 songs and almost all are great choices.
The cover and targeting system work great. Blind firing with an RPG is a thing of beauty. Everything works in harmony and not a single one of the missions is bad. The most fun I've had in years.
The story will take anywhere from 25-45 hours to complete, depending on your skill level and attention span. There's plenty more to do once you finish the story, such as excellent multiplayer.
(out of 10 / not an average)
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Community site for Grand Theft Auto IV:
ESRB Content Descriptors: Intense Violence, Blood, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Partial Nudity, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Grand Theft Auto IV: Downloadable Expansion Pack
Features: 16:9 Support, 480p Support, 720p Support, 1080i Support, 1080p Support, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital 5.1, Xbox Live, Memory Unit, Downloadable Content, Tilt Controller Support, Vibration, Mic/Headset Voice Support
Media Size: 1 DVD-ROM
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