Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV was a polarizing entry in the GTA series. Even though some of the game mechanics can be a bit annoying, it is still quite possibly the cream of the crop in terms of narrative and map design if you ask me. And yes, I believe you did.

GTA V offers a more robust sandbox, with a broader suite of weapons and vehicles to mess around with, and the main mission heists are a series standout. But I could never get behind Franklin or Trevor, and I only ever barely stomached Michael and his family. For as grating or frustrating as Niko and his cousin Roman could be in GTA IV (and that’s saying nothing of the bowling invites), the story and character arcs in GTA IV were leaps and bounds better than GTA V or any of the earlier entries in the franchise.

And with that grand opening statement I make my case: It is absolutely criminal that Grand Theft Auto IV isn’t available on PS4 or PS5. I’m not even talking a remastered or enhanced edition, although either of those would be greatly welcomed options. I’m talking about a straight-up PS3-era OG launch-day version. That alone would be more than enough, considering how well GTA IV still holds up in both the graphics and gameplay departments.

Before you jump down my throat in the comments section, I know it is backward-compatible on Xbox consoles. In fact, I own a copy of the 360 disc, and I have played it on my Xbox One S. But considering how seldom I find myself in the bedroom, which is where my Xbox has been relegated (as the second-class console it is), it feels a whole lot like I don’t have that option. I own a PS5, and that is where I do all my console gaming now, bub. I should be able to experience the shining jewel in the Grand Theft Auto crown on my current-gen (or even last-gen) Sony console.

Grand Theft Auto IV

GTA V has now spanned two console generations, with a current-gen enhanced edition right around the corner (bringing that total up to three generations). And I get it: GTA Online — and by extension GTA V — practically prints money for Rockstar Games. It is still raking in the dollars and cents all these years after its initial release. Hell, I owned a copy on the Xbox 360 and bought a second copy once it released on PS4. I am even now anticipating the upcoming re-release on PS5. Believe me, I know the allure of GTA 5 all too well.

But even then, I find myself playing GTA V and lamenting that it’s not the Grand Theft Auto I wish I were playing — the near-perfect GTA IV. And I’m not alone here. There’s a slew of videos on YouTube extolling the myriad ways in which GTA IV is oftentimes technically superior to GTA V when it comes to the details. I’ll leave one here for you to peruse at your leisure.

With this, I am sending a plea to Rockstar in my official capacity as a Half-Glasser. Please, Rockstar, for the love of all things perceived holy, release a remastered version of GTA IV, either as a PS5 game or a PS4 game that can be played on PS5. I would gladly pay $60 to experience that crime noire masterpiece all over again, as well as the branching Episodes from Liberty City DLC. Shoot, tack on some frivolous online components if that makes the endeavor more advantageous to your pocketbook.

I tell you this: Although I’m sure I’ll be on board for whatever GTA VI has to offer, whenever the heck that game actually materializes, it will always be GTA IV that stands out to me as the best in the series. As big as I’m sure GTA VI will be, it will have to do a lot of heavy lifting if it wants to claim the title of the best game in the Grand Theft Auto series.

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