Controversy aside, one has to admire the scope and quality of this series, reaching its most vivid realization yet of Liberty City’s seedy underworld.

In this chapter the lead character is Niko Bellic arriving from Eastern Europe to live the American Dream. With his low down taxi driving cousin spinning yarns about how great things are, Niko is soon faced with the harsh reality as they’re pulled into the world of crime, dumping the player who chose to undertake this mammoth game in one hell of a trip of sleaze and violence.

The large, free roaming city area is a great combination of various gaming styles, from mission-based action and driving, to shooting and fighting. You can spend hours driving around causing havoc (and believe me, the urge will be there, but will wear off once you realized you spent a lot of cash on this game and want to get its full potential - I hope...).
A wide range of radio channels can be tuned in your cars, from Hardcore and Rock, to Hip-Hop and talk radio. The vast city includes a range of entertainment areas from bars to strip clubs (and with your original copy, you get a printed entertainment guidebook listing these spots). Other printed material include a full map of the city streets and the subway.

Concerning the violence and nasty narratives attached to these titles, remember that this is for mature gamers (often a contradiction in terms, I know!), and is not meant for young players who may either be disturbed by it, or (god forbid) try and re-enact the (often) glamourized world of criminals, drug dealers, killers and mobsters. Like adult themed movies with violence and sexual content, it is up to the parents to ensure their kids are not exposed to material which may have an adverse effect on them.
I wasn’t inspired to become a gun-toting drug dealer after seeing Scarface on its release (around 6 years away from the age restriction), nor after playing this (at double the age of the 18 age restriction), so let’s hope that’s true for all who find this to be gritty entertainment, and nothing more.

5 / A
- Paul Blom


6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temp.
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A - Multiple Playing Prospects
B - Can be taken for another Run
C - Once Should Suffice

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