GTA IV: If you haven’t already, you MUST play this game

When GTA IV came out last year, I was really bummed out about not owning an X360 or a PS3 (wii owner). The game was getting rave reviews from everywhere, it was a unanimous opinion that GTA IV was the best in the series, but some even went as far as saying that GTA IV was the greatest game of ALL TIME. I was incredibly tempted to pick up a X360 just for the game, but could not because I had no money at the time. After over half a year of waiting, GTA IV is finally out on PC. To say the least, it is an absolutely INCREDIBLE game.

The primary reason why this game is as great as it is, is because of how likeable and simply awesome the protagonist is. You play as Nicco Bellic, an illegal immigrant from Russia with a shady past and a desire for redemption and a shot at a new life. Due to his violent past, Nicco is a gritty character and he is more than able to take care of himself. On the outside, he appears to be a fairly normal guy, but Nicco is 100% badass. He’s suave, but down-to-earth, he’s ruthless, but only when needed, he’s caring to those he loves and he’s merciless to his enemies. In short, Nicco Bellic is a much, much, much more complex and cooler character than Tommy Vercetti (for god’s sake, this pretty boy couldn’t even swim), CJ and all the other GTA guys.

Another thing that Rockstar has become masters of is “story-telling”. The story in GTA IV is presented in such a cinematic way, it’s almost like a movie. The plot progresses at a “perfect” pace for lack of a better word and the story never grows dull. As soon as things start to feel stale by the slightest, there’s a plot twist or something right around the corner. The story has no ups and downs, it’s ALL ups. Characters and plot segments, never overstay their welcome and the story is kept fresh throughout the course of the entire game. One of the reasons why the game almost feels like a movie sometimes is because of the stellar voice acting and impeccably scripted scenes. Nicco and everyone else in Liberty City for that matter is very emotional and very “real”. The game feels so much more realistic, because every single character in the game is so “alive”.

The attention to detail is also truly incredible. For instance, there’s a TV in Nicco’s apartment and you can actually watch it. It’s not just a random texture/decoration, the in-game TV actually has some funny shows, you can play through the entire game without ever watching TV and TV has no impact on the gameplay, but just the fact that it’s there shows how much work Rockstar put into perfecting this game. There’s even an in-game version of the internet where you can exchange emails with people, go on websites and so on. You even receive spam emails every once in a while. All of these little things work just like they do in real life. Heck, the spam emails look just like the ones that you receive in the real world (eg. Viagra spam, “Horny sluts looking for YOU”, paypal scams and the list goes on). Little details like these help make the game extremely vibrant.

The biggest addition to gameplay is the introduction of a cellphone. It’s surprising how this little device can make such a big impact on gameplay. The cellphone essentially allows you to receive text messages and manage/call your contacts. You can even take pictures and video (much like a real cellphone). There’s also an organizer to plan out your days if you so choose to. There’s a lot of things that you can do with your phone, but you will primarily use it to call and receive calls from your friends. You can call your contacts and (depending on who you’re calling) you can ask them to hang out, ask them for jobs, services (cab service, legal assistance, medical treatment) or even ask them out on a date. All of your friends are different and will help you in different ways. For instance, if you befriend a lawyer, he/she will help you with legal troubles (basically troubles with the police) and so on. It’s good to make a lot of friends they will all help you in some way.

The game itself is AMAZING, but the PC version has some performance issues. I have a fairly decent system and it seems to me that the framerate isn’t as good as it should be. Here are my specs:

-AMD 64 x2 5000+ Black Edition

-2 GB DDR2 667 RAM

-250 GB 7200 RPM HDD

-GeForce 8800GT

I play at medium settings in 1280×1024 and I only get an average of about 30 FPS. When there’s a lot going on on the screen (multiple explosions, etc.) the game dips to 20 FPS and sometimes even lower. The game’s graphics aren’t bad by any means, but I don’t see why it doesn’t run smoother with a 8800GT (which in my opinion is still a fairly powerful card). The game is still very playable for me, but for people with older/weaker systems, the performance issues might just ruin the experience for you.

In short, GTA IV is an AMAZING game, but Rockstar may have been a bit lazy with the PC port (poor hardware optimization).

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~ by hyeunny on January 17, 2009.

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