GTA 4 vs GTA 5

GTA 4 vs GTA 5: Clash of the Titans!

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There are very few companies that managed to make a dent in the gaming world with their creations. Among these companies is Rockstar Games. The latter is the mastermind behind one of the most successful game series in the world. This series is known as Grand Theft Auto.

GTA’s main aim is to allow the players to experience a criminal life and the liberty to do whatever they want when they want it. The series currently features sixteen titles, including two expansion packs.

GTA’s popularity went through the roof after GTA III was released to the masses and set new standards for an entirely new style of gaming. Ever since minimal changes were seen in GTA Vice City and San Andreas gaming formula.

Grand Theft Auto is one of the longest-running game series published by Rockstar Games. You can hardly have any conversation about gaming without mentioning it in the top five. The game was developed by Rockstar North, previously known as DMA Design.

The series received massive controversy for its rated R/Mature content. Still, that did not stop it from breaking world records and winning awards.

But it wasn’t just the content that received controversy.

Many GTA fans claimed that the latest additions to the series are the best, while others argue that the predecessors are classics and cannot be outdone. This feud has been going on for far too long and between two installments. Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V, to be exact.

A lot of players love the vivid and humorous tones of Grand Theft Auto V, while others still like the dark and deep vibes of GTA 4.

This begs the question: which one is the best in the series? Which game has the better graphics? Which GTA has the best gameplay? And which of the two has the better story?

The Main Differences Between GTA 4 vs GTA 5

Here is a simple table that shows the similarities and differences between both games.

Similarities GTA V GTA IV
  • Both titles belong to the Grand Theft Auto Series.
  • Both games were developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games.
  • Both games feature similar gaming formulas.
  • Both games have a multiplayer mode.
  • Both games received accolades and claimed world records.
  • The games are available on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation platforms.
  • It is the eleventh installment in the series (2008).
  • It has one main protagonist called Niko.
  • The story takes place in Liberty City, inspired by real-life New York City.
  • Realistic physics.
  • It has a total of 88 missions.
  • It is the fifteenth installment in the series (2013).
  • It has three main protagonists: Trevor, Michael, and Franklin.
  • The events happen in the City of Los Santos.
  • Improved and brighter graphics.
  • Features the biggest map in the series.
  • It has a total of 79 missions.


Controls and playtime


Unlike the previous games, Niko is more agile and efficient. He can climb walls, fences, and shimmy along thin edges. In addition, taking cover behind objects is an important feature added to the game. The new shooting/targeting system makes handling guns and hitting targets much easier.

You can automatically lock on your enemies even when you are behind cover. But, aiming and shooting can be very hard if you disable the lock-on feature. Moreover, the controls are easy to learn and memorize, and the learning curve is intricate and continuous to some extent.

As you progress, the game will become more demanding, missions will start getting harder, and require a set of skills like driving and shooting. It takes about 33-34 hours to finish the main objective on average. If you add the side missions, it will take you about 48-50 hours. Depending on how well you play, you may finish in less than that or take longer.

If you are anything like me, a completionist who loves to explore every inch of the map, it can take you up to 150-200 hours to go through everything.


Grand Theft Auto 5 follows a similar gameplay formula to its predecessors. However, this installment took advantage of the latest tech and took the gaming experience to a whole new level. The game is very immersive, especially from the first-person point of view. Now instead of controlling the character, you become the character. You can drive, fly, jump, fall, shoot, roll, duck, and hide using the first-person perspective.

For such a sophisticated game, the controls are within reach but may take a while to get used to. You will instantly learn how to move around and change the camera view. But the learning curve is more gradual than it seems. In other words, the more you get involved and progress through the game, the higher skills you will need. Characters can jump out of moving cars, bikes, planes, handle many weapons, parachutes, and climb over walls. In addition, characters differ in the way they run and walk.

In terms of playtime, it takes about 32 hours on average to finish the main objective of the game. Yet, it can extend up to 50 hours if you add in all the side missions.

I am a completionist, and I love to take my sweet time exploring every single corner of the map. If you are anything like me, it will take you 210 hours or more to finish the game.

Verdict: GTA V takes the lead because it offers better missions, easier controls, and different perspectives.



The events of the game take place in the notorious Liberty City. From the crack dens and dark alleys to the skyscrapers and wealthy neighborhoods, Rockstar created an absolute masterpiece. The city is massive and easy to get lost in. Fortunately, the game offers a mini-map to show you the way around. It appears in the bottom-left corner of the screen and works as a police scanner. That means, if you murder someone or bump into patrol cars, the mini-map will show the exact location of the cops so you can avoid them.

It is a nice feature but kills the excitement a bit if you ask me.

Some of the city’s famous landmarks include the Statue of Happiness, Rotterdam Tower, and Star Junction. Liberty City is a knock-off version, or a rendition, of New York and New Jersey. Broker is based in Brooklyn, Dukes is inspired by Queens, Algonquin is basically Manhattan, and Bohan is similar to The Bronx. Lastly, Alderney is separated from Liberty City and represents New Jersey.


The events take place in the big city of Los Santos in southern San Andreas, and t is the largest map in the Grand Theft Auto series so far. Los Santos is a live megacity with cultural diversity based on real-life Los Angeles, California. Downtown areas of Pillbox Hill, Alta, Vinewood, and Rockford Hills are the urban centers and home of skyscrapers, business deals, and rich celebrities.

You get the same mini-map feature as the previous game, but a bit more refined.

The south part is dominated mainly by the poor and features old rundown buildings inhabited by gangs and drug dealers. The east part is the industrial area, and it is famous for the massive gangs’ presence like the Vagos, Families, Aztecas, and Ballas.

The map also includes rural and remote areas like Blaine County. It contains the small towns of Sandy Shores, Grapeseed, and Paleto Bay. These territories are infested with rednecks and motorcycle clubs. Plus, Sandy shore is the HQ of Trevor Philips criminal organization.

Verdict: GTA V takes the win again. It has bigger, brighter, and more diverse locations.

Weapons and Cars


Image from Fandom

Imagine GTA without guns and cars. It becomes plain and pointless. Luckily, for us, GTA IV is loaded with whips and weapons.

Liberty City is loaded with different vehicles of every shape and size including emergency vehicles such as law enforcement cruisers, armored trucks, ambulances, and fire trucks. Plus, sports cars, hatchbacks, vans, and SUVs that you can grab. Some may spawn more often than others, and some are rare and very hard to get. There are bikes if you are not a fan of four wheels. Boats and helicopters are available, but sadly, there are no jets.

The handling is loose to make it realistic and allow you to drift around corners. Some vehicles like sports cars are fast and have unique and sharp handling, but others can be slow and share the same handling.

Image from Fandom

Just like cars, guns are a crucial variable in the game. Contrary to its predecessors, GTA IV offers sixteen weapons that you can handle at once. Of course, each weapon has its perks and can do lots of damage if used properly. Among the melee weapons available are your fists, baseball bat, and knife. In addition, you have handguns, shotguns, rifles, and grenades.

The pump shotgun, rocket launcher, and sniper rifle are my favorite.


Image from Fandom

Grand Theft Auto 5 has more vehicles than any of the other games in the series with a wide array to choose from. It includes casual cars like:

  • Sedans
  • Hatchbacks
  • Exotics sports cars
  • Racecars
  • Utility vehicles (tow trucks, flatbeds, commercial vans…)
  • Emergency service vehicles (squad cars, fir rucks, ambulances)
  • Bikes and bicycles
  • Planes, private jets, helicopters, and stunts planes (army planes and helicopters are available)
  • Boats, jet skis, and submarines
  • Military trucks and tanks

plus, GTA V includes cars from movies like the:

  • DMC DeLorean from Back to the Future
  • Kitt from Knight Rider
  • The Batmobile
  • An electric car with a jet engine in the back (resembles a real-life Tesla roadster)

All vehicles are made for exploring the landscapes, airspace, and ocean because the map is massive.

You need some sort of transportation because going on foot will take you months. GTA V also provides a mini-map, so you don’t get lost.

The loose boat-like handling is long gone. Vehicles now handle the way they should. For instance, big rigs are slow, heavy, and have a wide turning circle, while small sedans and hatchbacks are faster and easier to handle. Bikes can pop wheelies (not all of them), sports cars have mind-blowing acceleration and better grip for high-speed cornering.

Image from Fandom

On the other side of the spectrum, players have access to loads of weapons. The shooting and melee mechanics improved juristically, and weapon selection changed. Instead of choosing a gun by going through them one by one, you now have a wheel that contains every weapon sorted by category.

There are 61 weapons in the game. However, a couple of them are exclusive to special editions or versions of the game. Yet, the player still has access to serious artillery. There are heavy weapons like the minigun, grenade launcher, and rocket launchers. In addition to handguns, melee weapons, shotguns, rifles, machine guns, and throwables like grenades and tear gas.

The pump shotgun is still by far my favorite, in addition to the heavy revolver, the minigun, rocket launcher, and sticky bombs.

Verdict: once again, GTA V comes out on top. It offers more and better guns, vehicles, batter handling, and shooting mechanisms.

Main Story


Grand Theft Auto 4 has a long and complicated story. It revolves around Niko Bellic, a war veteran from Eastern Europe who moves into Liberty City for various reasons.

Niko arrived in the city in 2008 on a ship called Platypus to find the man who betrayed his unit during the war. It was also an opportunity for him to escape the wrath of a former partner. Bellic worked in human trafficking with a man named Ray Bulgarin. The latter blamed Niko for destroying his ship and accused him of stealing. Lastly, Niko came to Liberty City to reunite with his cousin Roman.

Roman claimed that he was living the lux life in a big mansion full of exotic cars and women. To his disappointment, Niko found out that everything Niko told him was a lie. In reality, Roman owned a small taxi company and lived in a very cramped apartment.

Nonetheless, Niko stuck around to help his cousin and resume his journey in searching for the men who betrayed his unit. Along the way, Niko gets involved deeper in the criminal world and works for/with drug lords.

To spice things up, Niko gets a girlfriend called Michelle. Later, she reveals herself as an undercover agent, and her real name is Karen (no pun intended). She forces Niko into working for her agency in return for locating the traitor of his squad.

During the gameplay, the player will get the chance to make ten important decisions that will alter the course of the events. This feature makes the game feel more immersive and keeps the player hooked. In other words, instead of blindly following orders like the previous games, you get the chance to be part of the game and do what feels right for you.


The fifteenth installment features a straightforward story. The events include three main protagonists: a retired bank robber known as Michael De Santa, a car thief and street thug called Franklin Clinton, and a psychotic meth head named Trevor Philips.

Things kick off with Michael, Trevor, and some of their associates attempting to rob a bank. The heist soon fails when the FIB gets involved to stop them. Trevor managed to escape leaving Michael behind thinking he is dead. But in reality, Michael was alive and made a deal with the FIB.

Fast forward nine years later, Michael is miserable with his life, Trevor is turning gangs against each other in Sandy Shores, and Franklin is stealing cars with his best mate Lamar.

Michael and Franklin meet for the first time when Franklin tries to teal Michael’s car with him in the back seat. Instead of shooting each other, Michael admires Franklin’s bold attitude and becomes friends with him. Things escalate quickly when Michael finds his wife cheating on him with her tennis instructor.

Michael goes on a rampage and hunts down the tennis instructor with the help of Franklin. They catch the tennis instructor hiding in one of his client’s houses, which they end up destroying. Unfortunately, the house belongs to a drug lord known as Martin Madrazo. To stay alive, Michael and Franklin must pay for the damages.

Doing what they do best, Michael, Franklin, and their associate Lester perform a jewelry heist and pay Madrazo. The news of the heist reached Trevor’s ears in the far away Sandy Shores, where he immediately discovers that Michael was behind it.

The story continues with the FIB mad at Michael for returning to the crime life, Franklin completing missions for Lester and moving out of the swamp, and Trevor starting a drug war with the Triads, Lost MC, and stealing military-grade weapons.

At the end of the story, Franklin gets to decide how things fade out. His options include killing Michael, killing Trevor, or risking his life to save them both. It is a great way to keep the player excited and add more mystery to the story. To find what the other endings are, you must play again and find out for yourself.

Verdict: When it comes to the story, the games are closely matched. But GTA 4 takes the win on this one because the story is deeper, darker, and much more immersive.

Regarding characters, GTA V takes a clean sweep because it offers three protagonists. Plus, when you switch between the characters, you will find each doing different activities and living their lives.



Image from Fandom

In the game, you will meet many friends who will introduce you to their friends, who will most likely be dangerous and hire you to do missions or jobs that will get you killed. You can expand your circle of contacts and meet new people using the internet and the apps on your phone. Of course, these relationships can get demanding because you have to keep your dates and friends happy by getting involved in activities they like even if you do not.

It can be rewarding sometimes. For example, if you make a lawyer character like you enough, he will help you when you get in trouble with the police. Plus, having a nurse listed in your contacts as a friend can save your life.

It is astonishing what a simple cellular device can add to such a game. With a press of a button, you can choose whom you want to talk to and what you want to talk about. However, receiving calls can be daunting and annoying sometimes. You can hear your phone signals interfering with the radio or getting a call from a date while with other people or in the middle of a shootout.


Image from Fandom

The cellphone makes a comeback to GTA 5 better than ever. It resembles real-life smartphones and differs for each of the main characters. For example, Michael has an iPhone knock-off called IFruit, Trevor owns a windows phone in real life, and Franklin has a Samsung Galaxy SIII replica. You can call story-related personnel, friends, or a girlfriend for leisure. You can also surf the web and call emergency services.

Verdict: both phones are closely matched, but GTA V takes the lead with its various real-life replicas and snapmatic feature.

What do These Games Excel at?


Image from Fandom

Some details make the game satisfying and worth playing. For instance, when you shoot a tire in GTA IV, it will deflate slowly, and you can actually see the air coming from the bullet hole. It is the way the glass breaks when you shoot it or hit it, and the ragdoll animation is realistic. Furthermore, you can see the NPCs reacting to the player when you run into them or drive close.

Cars will flash their lights at you and swerve if you drive on the wrong side of the road, and NPCs run to take cover when it starts to rain.


Image from Fandom

One of the best additions to the game is the side missions you get from NPCs. For example, if you are cruising on the street and hear an NPC screaming, you can play the role of a good Samaritan and help them out.

Activities are another aspect where GTA V takes the lead. In case you want to take a break from the main storyline missions and do some random stuff, GTA V got you covered. You can relieve some stress and do some yoga. Maybe you want to experience sky diving and parachuting from high altitudes. Even better, you can go scuba diving, play tennis, and golf.

Furthermore, GTA V provides the player with loads of customization options. You can mod your vehicles or your in-game character by getting new clothes, haircuts, and tattoos.

Multiplayer/online Mode

GTA 5 destroys its predecessor with its online platform when playing with friends. In fact, Rockstar considers GTA Online as a separate and fully independent title. You can create your own character, accept missions, do heists, and invite other players to races and deathmatches. In addition, there are endless updates and DLCs that you can download. Each update unlocks new perks, weapons, and vehicles for the players to use.




Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Which GTA has the most missions?

Answer: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas takes the lead with 100 missions followed by GTA IV with 88 missions. GTA Vice city takes third place with 87 missions including the main story and side missions. GTA V slips to fourth with 79 missions and GTA III in last place with 77 missions.

Question: What are the hardest missions in the Grand Theft Auto series?

“Demolition man”- GTA: Vice City. Flying and RC helicopter and dropping bombs while being shot at by armed guards. This mission was the main reason behind the death of thousands of keyboards.
“Espresso 2 Go”- GTA III. Destroy espresso stands to stop the Cartel from selling drugs. Just to clear out, the espresso stands are spread across the three islands, and you have to destroy them before the timer runs out.
“Supply Lines”- GTA: San Andreas. Kill the couriers before they make their deliveries using an RC plane. This mission requires high-flying skills to control a small RC plane and kill the targets before running out of fuel.

Question: Which GTA has the largest map?

Answer: GTA San Andreas held the record for the biggest map in the series. However, GTA 5 stole the crown for the best and biggest map in the series.

Final Thoughts

To some extent, Grand Theft Auto redefined open-world or sandbox games, as we know them now. Rockstar has outdone themselves with the release of GTA IV. The eleventh installment in the series shattered world records and claimed awards left, right, and center.

Nonetheless, GTA V is the best in the series. It has better graphics and mind-blowing scenery. The gameplay is smoother and much more immersive than before. Plus, it offers better weapons, cars, and more missions.

It shattered the previous game records and dwarfed the competition even in sales. It took the throne for the most successful entertainment launch and made it to the top five best-selling video games. GTA 5 grossed 1 billion $ in the first three days of its initial release. Not to mention, it made 800 million $ and sold 11,210,000 copies on the day of the lunch.

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