Previews

GTA IV: The First Mission Pt. 2

Preview: Eyes-on with the biggest GTA gunfights ever

Read part one of our massive GTA IV preview here

At any point in GTA IV Niko can pull out his mobile phone and use it to his heart's content. The phone shows up in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and looks exactly how you'd expect a real phone to look, with a phonebook, buttons and all.

"All GTAs have non-linear gameplay and player choice," says our right hand man, "the phone call extends that concept."

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You can phone up your contacts, text your arms dealer, access multiplayer games or even take photos with its built-in camera. The response time has been sped up for our demo and Niko quickly receives a phone call from Goldberg, Ligner and Shyster confirming his interview for later this afternoon.

Niko also fires a few calls to Officer McReary confirming his progress.

"The previous GTAs have always accepted missions, but now you're taking part in the story by making the calls and choosing to make the calls yourself," says Rockstar. The most impressive use of Niko's phone came next...

Guns go off

We've got some time to kill before our big interview, so Niko decides to head towards the park and meet Officer McReary in person, helping him with another favour. The park is just as detailed as the city, with plenty of pedestrians, park benches and foliage - and on this work-in-progress demo code it's got a smoother framerate than the city as well (not that it's particularly bad in town).

Stepping into a familiar glowing marker activates a cutscene, where McReary explains that he's ironically being blackmailed by someone with dirt on him. "I ain't guilty of nothing other than being a man," he says. "To be honest I don't care one way or another," responds Niko.

The blackmailing party has a memory stick which contains compromising pictures of the officer. McReary's arranged to meet the blackmailer at a viewing point by the docks, and he's asking you to go and take the offending memory stick out of his hands. Niko flags down another cab and we're off to the docks.

Licensed music is still a big part of GTA, but Rockstar tells us it's yet to finalise the list of music for the fourth game. However, there's already plenty of the series' famous comedy averts up and running, including our favourite advertising manga flick, Princess Robot Bubblegum and the Horny Radioactive Plant.

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"It's a half robot, half radioactive plant destined to take over the world. Only one 15-year-old school girl can stop it... by sleeping with it." Yatta!

Niko arrives at the docks and you can already see a large distinction between environments. The viewing point is a very cold, quiet area with just the chatter of seagulls and the humming of boats for company. Down by the benches and viewing pods there's quite a crowd enjoying the sea air. We're going to have to be creative to spot our man...

Niko pulls out his phone and scrolls down to the number McReary gave him in the park. It's the blackmailer's. Niko dials the number and straight away we can hear a phone going off. Mixed in with the crowd we spot a man dressed in black answering his mobile - bingo, that's our man.

It's a great integration of the phone into the game world, and Rockstar says the target will never be in the same place twice.

There's no messing around here. Niko walks down some steps and makes his way through the crowd towards his mark. Approaching the man, he pulls out his gun, aims and shoots him square in the face. Blood splatters and he falls down realistically as the crowd scatters in terror. The memory stick floats above the ground just as with previous GTA item drops.

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