The August issue of GamesTM (a multi-format games magazine based in the UK) contains a world exclusive first look at the new gameplay in Grand Theft Auto IV. Here's a brief run-down on some of the new stuff mentioned:
- The demo begins in Grand Theft Auto IV's equivalent of Times Square: Star Junction. There aren't many pedestrians present at this time, but this is most likely due to the early nature of the code.
- The mobile phone can be used to gain weapons. In the demo that GamesTM saw, Niko calls his associate Little Jacob, who is a caribbean arms dealer. After a brief chat with Jacob, he tells Niko to meet him in an alleyway in Rotterdam Hill, where he purchases the weapons from him. No more Ammu-Nation it seems.
- Niko can use taxis to get around (presumably he can use the phone to call a taxi). The police are much more vigilant in GTA IV, and sometimes it is less hassle using a taxi than jacking someone's car. The trip-skip option is available for convenience.
- In the demo, Niko recieves a call concerning "shady lawyer" Goldberg, of Goldberg, Ligner & Shyster (GLS). Niko can use the internet in GTA4. He heads over to an internet café called the "Tw@ Café," and hops onto a PC before surfing. He uploads his CV to the GLS website so he can get an interview - before killing Goldberg. He receives a phonecall confirming the time of his interview. The web is available from any computer in the game, and provides a hub for all sorts of interactivity within Liberty City.
- Missions in GTA IV can be interrupted. The interview isn't until tomorrow, which means you can carry out other business until then. This suggests you can do several missions at the same time, and missions can take place over several days, perhaps.
- Next in the demo, Niko pays a visit to somebody called McReary, at Castle Gardens, a coast-side hangout overlooking the Statue of Hapiness. McReary has had a memory stick stolen from him which contains sensitive data, and he wants Niko to retrieve it for him. He takes another cab to the meeting point, where the target is standing amongst a crowd of people. The problem is he doesn't know which one it is, so he gives him a call to see which one picks up their phone. Niko shoots the target three times in the back of the head, before taking the memory stick and making a run for it. He gains a three-star wanted level as a result.
- Committing crimes isn't as easy in GTA IV. You gain a wanted level for every crime you commit, aslong as there are witnesses present. Once you have gained a wanted level, a visible (circular) search area appears on the radar, and if you escape this area without being spotted, your wanted level will flash and disappear. If you are spotted, however, the search area's position changes, and centers on where you were last spotted. So unlike previous GTA games, the police don't always know where you are. They can't catch you unless they find you first. It was confirmed previously that in GTA IV every street will be named, and this is what cops use to communicate when they are tracking you down. There are no Pay N' Spray's to save you this time, unfortunately.
- Before heading off to the interview, Niko goes to a menswear store called Perseus. After spending $2,000 on a new suit and shoes, his phone alarm sounds and he begins his journey to the GLS offices for his interview. He speaks to the receptionist from outside the building via intercom, before making his way into the building. He enters Goldeberg's office and puts a bullet in his head, which causes his secretary to trigger the alarm. Niko must beat security guards and police in order to get out of the building. Bullets rain down on him, and there's a police chopper waiting outside. It seems as though the more bullets he takes, the more damage he takes, and hence he becomes less able to fight. The damage is actually visible this time.
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The Official PlayStation Magazine (Australia) is also reported to have a new preview, but we're not sure exactly what it contains yet. All we know is that the main focus of the preview is gameplay, so we imagine it will be pretty much the same as the GamesTM preview. Stay tuned and we'll provide a summary of all the new info as soon as it becomes available to us.
Official PlayStation Magazine