Niko Bellic is ma boy, dawg


Posted by Eric on Friday, May 16th, 2008 in Reviews
Grand Theft Auto IV's Niko Bellic

Going and standing in line at midnight in front of a Gamestop with a bunch of sweaty smelly game nerds has never really been my cup of joe. I recall the morning of November 9, 2004 at Full Sail; coming in at 9am only to find that I was the only one awake in class. Oh, that’s right...you’re all dumbasses. I drove by the Gamestop outside the Fashion Square Mall to see all you kids lined up outside the Ruby Tuesday next door awaiting the follow-up to the viral yet entertaining ilovebees.com.

I just couldn’t help but think to myself how impatient people are, that they couldn’t just wait til’ the next day to spend that 50-60 bucks depending on which version they reserved. 1pm rolls around and I bounce from class straight to Circuit City right down the road from the drive-by I performed the night before, waltzed in, grabbed a special edition of Halo 2, threw down some wadded up cash that probably belonged to a few pizza delivery guys, walked out, popped the game in, and enjoyed myself for a good four hours or so on an eight foot projected screen surrounded by 1500 watts of speakers, all until I had to go back to class. (sentence fragment; consider revising) No, that’s not really a text error; I put it there to fool you... because I’m awesome. :-P

That all changed April 29th...or I guess technically April 30th. I’d stopped playing every other game days before because I was so excited about the one I’m about to mention. I’ve anticipated EVERY aspect of this game; graphics, AI, gameplay, PHYSICS. Yes, I stood in front of a Gamestop at midnight. No, I wasn’t standing there for hours. I showed up at midnight. So shut-up.

What’s that? You want to know what game I’m talking about? Oh, sorry...Grand Theft Auto IV. I was amazed the second the opening cut-scene started, "And you can too!". The technique of integrating credits into the environment is genius. You’d think, "Who’d look at that stuff?" It’s actually quite hard (for me anyway) not to look at it. Excellent stuff.

This is unlike any gaming experience you’ve ever had. You might say, "Yeah right, Spaghetti, what about all the other GTAs?" What about them? They haven’t been revolutionary since III. Granted, the idea behind playing a criminal could get old, but the story, and especially the city, is what makes this game so different. When people ask me if they should buy it, do you think it’s for everyone, or what it’s like; my answers, quite simply, are "Yes", "FUCK no", and "Have you ever played a video game and said to yourself, ‘Man, it would be cool if this happened when I did that, that would be awesome’? Well, guess what, they did it, and it’s in this game. So stop talking to me and go buy it you fucking zombie, cuz that’s what you are, a zombie."

Rather than talk all day about my favorite aspect of the game (and I could, I’ve got friends & coworkers that are witness to that), I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves in this clip. Never mind the Scarface soundtrack, it’s just better than not having any music at all...

You play as character X, where X = Niko Bellic, where Niko Bellic = ma boy. Niko was kept informed via email of his cousin’s great life in America before traveling to Liberty City only to find he’d been lied to the entire time. The rest of the story is played out by trying to earn your place in the city, getting revenge on the people that take advantage of you and your push-over cousin, and making sure everyone knows your name in the meantime, or at least until they become your new hood ornament. Through twists and turns you’ll find your own, just make sure you that you mow down as many peds as possible if your being chased by the five-o; I mean... you’ll probably just be shot & killed anyway so why not go all out, right?

The fact that the "buddy system" usually involves a mini-game that could potentially be a game in itself all it’s own really says something. I think I could reload the game and go "drinking" with Brucie or Lil’ Jacob all day. It’s the best taste of physics and game engine you’ll get out of any video game on the shelf today.

GTAIV's Steroid Pumping Junkie, Brucie
"Be...genetically...different, baby!"

I’ll jump out by saying I’d much rather be playing the game than writing about it. Better yet, go buy it so WE can play, because there’s multiplayer, too. It deserves every ridiculously high score that it’s received thus far. You can honestly tell that he folks at Rockstar put their very hearts and souls into this masterpiece. Great Job!

The Bottom Line: 5 (out of 5)

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