If you’ve ever played GTA IV and wondered about the impressive locations that feature in the game, the chances are you’ll know Liberty City is based on the Big Apple itself. New York is one of the most iconic places on the planet, and the faithful reproduction of various parts of it is something that adds greatly to the game’s popularity.
Many players choose to complete the various missions, of course, but there are many others who simply like to take to the streets and drive or walk around to soak up the unique atmosphere. The sights and sounds of Liberty City will be familiar to anyone who has paid a visit to New York in the past.
Heading to the island
Even the most famous landmark of all, the Statue of Liberty, is featured, although it’s called the Statue of Happiness. Like the real thing, it’s located on its very own island, and a visit there shows it to be populated by impressed tourists and a large number of hot-dog vendors and souvenir sellers.
For most tourists, the centrepiece of New York is the island of Manhattan. Busy, bustling and exuding life, the streets are full of iconic buildings, popular stores and fast food outlets, and it’s no different in Liberty City. The island is called Algonquin, a name that reflects the Native American people that once called it home.
Open up the whole city
In the early stages of the game, many areas of Liberty City are not accessible to players, so if the individual is keen to discover the whole of the area it’s necessary to complete some of the missions. Every bridge that would take players to new areas was blocked by police officers, ostensibly because of a terrorist incident – it was a very clever way to restrict access until the appropriate stage in the game.
Some of the less salubrious areas of the Big Apple are also represented in GTA IV. Although the design of these neighbourhoods is often generic as opposed to specific, the overall effect is highly impressive. Neglected buildings, aggressive passers-by and the sound of distant police sirens all serve to create a lifelike experience for all players.
Driving around the city is so easy, thanks to the satellite navigation system that can be viewed in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. It enables the player to see which roads are coming up and will even, during those difficult moments when the long hand of the law is in pursuit, let the user know where the local police cars are located.
David Rice is a UK gamer who has made frequent trips to New York City. When driving in Britain, he always relies on his cheap sat nav to help him get from A to B.