The game is set in a redesigned rendition of Liberty City, a fictional city based heavily on modern day New York City. It follows Niko Bellic, a war veteran from Eastern Europe, who comes to the United States in search of the American Dream, only to find his cousin has lied about the wealth that was promised to be awaiting him. Like other games in the series, GTA IV features "open-world" gameplay that gives the player more control over their playing experience. GTA IV is the first console game in the series to feature an online multiplayer mode, which contains fifteen different game types.
A major commercial and critical success, Grand Theft Auto IV broke sales records by selling about 3.6 million units on its first day of release and grossing more than $500 million in its first week. The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews, becoming the highest-rated video game of all-time on review aggregator sites Metacritic and Game Rankings for over a month after it was launched.
Grand Theft Auto IV is structured similarly to previous games in the
series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter
and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment in
which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking,
running, swimming, climbing and jumping, as well as utilising weapons
and basic hand-to-hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of
vehicles, including automobiles, boats, helicopters, and motorcycles.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain parts of the map and content, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam. However, creating havoc can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police patrols handle minor infractions such as attacking people, using a firearm in public, grand theft auto, homicide, etc. whereas helicopter support teams; the FIB (Federal Investigation Bureau), based on the FBI; and an elite counter-terrorism and law enforcement team, N.O.O.S.E. (National Office Of Security Enforcement), an amalgamation of SWAT and the Department of Homeland Security and replacing the military seen in previous renditions of the series, respond to higher wanted levels.
It is possible to have multiple active missions, due to the fact that
some missions will run over the course of several days and will require
the player to wait for further instructions, etc. The player can also
partake in a variety of optional side missions. For the first time
in the series, Grand Theft Auto IV features "morality choices"
at several points throughout the game, in which the player is forced to
choose between killing a character or sparing their life or killing one
of two characters. The game has two different endings, which are determined
by decisions made by the player throughout and at the end of the game.
Each choice affects the final missions the player can partake, and the
fate of some characters.
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