Outside of missions, players can freely roam the game's open world, and have the ability to complete optional side missions.
The open world design lets players freely roam Liberty City, consisting of three main islands.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle.
At the beginning of the game, players can only explore the first island–composed of Dukes and Broker–with all other islands unlocking as the story progresses.
Players use melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies, and may run, jump, swim or use vehicles to navigate the game's world.
Considered one of the most significant titles of the seventh generation of video games, and by many critics as one of the greatest video games of all time, it won year-end accolades, including Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications.
It has sold over 25 million copies worldwide as of 2019; it remains the best-selling Play Station 3 game of all time.
Upon release, the game received universal critical acclaim, with praise particularly directed at the narrative and open world design.
Grand Theft Auto IV broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history at the time, earning in its first day and 0 million in its first week.
Two expansion packs were later released for the game, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, which both feature new plots that are interconnected with the main Grand Theft Auto IV storyline, and follow new protagonists.
Development began soon after the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and was shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide.
There is a first-person perspective option when using vehicles.