Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IVPlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Classification: MA15+RRP
Rating: 5 out of 5

Despite all the controversy, the players of Grand Theft Auto (all 65 million of them) have always "got it". They understand that GTA is social satire savagely parodying America's gun culture rather than celebrating it. They know that games allow players to delve into immersive, interactive playgrounds. And they understand that performing antisocial acts you would never consider replicating in real life is part of the mischievous appeal.
Grand Theft Auto IV is a landmark game, offering the most convincing virtual environment ever crafted. The huge Liberty City, based none-too-subtly on New York, is astonishingly detailed and feels "alive".
Players step here into the unfamiliar shoes of Niko Bellic, the 21st-century equivalent of Vito Corleone. As an immigrant from Eastern Europe, Niko is a radical choice for a central character, but provides a fascinating perspective - that of the outsider venturing into one of the world's biggest cities.
While many characters are chasing their version of the American dream, for Niko it is not a fresh start. He brings baggage with him, and soon gets dragged into an underworld of corrupt policemen, Russian crime lords, Italian Mafia and two-bit hustlers. It's a compelling story with many memorable characters.
Most missions will be familiar to GTA veterans, but with car handling and gun targeting both vastly improved, your tasks are more enjoyable. Progress is also now dependent on maintaining relationships and using items such as mobile phones and email, bolstering realism. It's also fun to now build bonds with other characters over a drink, a visit to a comedy club, a game of darts or tenpin bowling.
Up to 16 real-world friends can enjoy online multiplayer action, running rampant across the entire city in a wide variety of highly customisable solo and team-based modes worth the purchase price alone.