Grand Theft Auto IV/Features
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Although the size of the map is no bigger than San Andreas, the detail of the city has been enriched to a unique depth. There is no "wasted" open space, and every inch of the city tells a story.
GTA IV is powered by RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine), with a Euphoria, Endorphin physics engine. This new physics engine gives characters a "central nervous system" allowing more natural, unscripted movements. It also adds weight to each characters footsteps and causes them to transition depending on their surroundings. This is apparent when characters walk up and down stairs; instead of moving like the stairs are a flat surface, the stance of the character will change depending on if they move up or down.
When it comes to game-mechanics, GTA IV has little in common with San Andreas. Many of the silly, unrealistic weapons have been sacrificed for the sake of realism. Players will not be able to mow down cars with the Minigun or the Radar-guided Missile Launcher anymore.
Airplanes have been sacrificed as well, which makes sense as there is only one airport; however, aerial transport is still found in the shape of helicopters. The lack of airplanes is also rumored to be because of Rockstar wanting to reenact the events of 9/11 in the game, as GTAIV takes place in a recreation of New York. The driving model has also been strongly tweaked, giving a very strong sense of realism. Cars will no longer feels as if they are gliding on rails. Every shake of the steering wheel or bump in the road now has very realistic feedback. Moreover, players will not find the odd, plaid parachute anymore.
The new cover system, which gives Niko the ability to duck behind walls, cars and barrels, is almost completely taken from the cover system featured in Gears of War, but then they say "if you copy, copy from the best". It makes firefights much more realistic and dramatic than the "duck and run" tactics CJ, protagonist of the previous Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had to rely on.