Upon its initial release, GTA 4 took the series one step further - it enhanced overall gameplay with several new features.
GTA 4 is all about Niko Bellic trying to escape his past. For the GTA series, however, it's about moving forward to the future. GTA 4 transitions into the HD era with upgrades to gameplay features.
Combat situations are far more dynamic than simply just standing in place and shooting.
In addition to new physics and game mechanics, GTA 4 has a small few details that breathe life into the game. These are huge differences from previous entries in the series. GTA 4 is to the 3D Era what GTA San Andreas was to GTA 3 - a huge leap in the right direction (by gameplay standards).
Five amazing features that GTA 4 introduced to the series
#5 - Ragdoll physics
Far and away one of the most popular features is the ragdoll physics. This new system allows both GTA players and NPCs to dynamically interact with their surroundings. Back then, models would remain static on various surfaces. GTA 4 removes these limitations entirely.
Whenever someone gets hit with a vehicle or a weapon, their body will fall backwards with force. 3D era games would simply have a preset falling animation instead.
With upgraded collision detection and a new set of physics, GTA 4 makes it fun for players to fool around in Liberty City.
Ragdoll physics makes the game slightly more realistic in certain aspects. For example, if a GTA player drives a fast vehicle and crashes into something, they might fly out the window.
While it may seem rather cartoony to some, it can be an enjoyable feature to mess around with.
#4 - Cover system
The cover system for GTA 4 is a game-changing mechanic. Players now have the ability to duck behind various obstructions. With a little bit of protection and careful aiming, GTA 4 players will have an easier time defending themselves.
It's even possible to use explosive weaponry while in this position.
Covering is a crucial gameplay aspect. Players will have to deal with deadly weaponry in tight areas. They can either take aim at the right moment or blindly fire rounds. GTA 4 encourages a strategic approach to combat, which is a necessity in some of the more difficult missions.
#3 - Better foot-jump abilities
GTA San Andreas has significantly improved foot-jumping abilities in the 3D Universe. Players were now able to climb over reachable objects, such as fences and brick walls. GTA 4 takes it to a higher level with on-foot capabilities. By doing so, it makes the missions more active.
Niko Bellic is now able to hang onto straight ledges, which allows him to shimmy across to the other side. This allows him to sneak into compounds more easily. It also adds platforming elements to certain missions.
This breaks from the standard mission structures of running from one place to another.
GTA 4 players can now climb ladders, which were previously inaccessible to earlier titles. There are several missions where players must scale the rooftops to search for their targets.
Sometimes they might even give chase during an action sequence, which Niko does frequently.
#2 - Internet usage
Thanks to advanced technology and a modern setting, GTA players can now use the internet. There are several cafes they can visit to checkout various websites. These online activities range from checking personal emails to mindlessly browsing articles. The internet is a vast ocean full of fish.
GTA 4 makes use of the internet through several missions. Niko Bellic will do everything from purchasing a specific vehicle to applying for an online job. At the time of its release, GTA 4 made good use of modern technology.
It wasn't possible in the earlier games, especially those set before the rise of the internet.
#1 - GPS routing
GTA 4 introduces a Global Positioning System (GPS) for easier navigation. On their way to their destination, GPS routing gives players a calculated shortcut. However, it isn't perfect since it doesn't take into account different alleyways. Whether intentional or not, that makes it just like its real-life counterpart.
Previous games in the series had players relying on waypoint markers. GTA 4 cuts right down to the chase with yellow-marked routes. Nonetheless, players can still use green-marked routes by manually selecting a waypoint on the map. Notably, certain vehicles have this feature enabled.
GTA 4 strives for realism, which is why certain luxury vehicles have GPS installed. It's a nice little touch that makes Liberty City feel more authentic. The routing system is also convenient for lost players.
GTA 4 provides a large concrete jungle to explore; the GPS is a helpful way to go about it.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.