There have been many controversial game titles over the years but none, except one, have come as far as being banned in a few countries. Grand Theft Auto is one of those title series that has appeared in the news being blamed for antisocial behaviour among the youth. Yet, despite this shady outlook of the game among the elder generation, it cannot be denied that Grand Theft Auto is a game that has broken boundaries and changed the industry for the better. Rockstar Games’ fourth instalment of the game stays true to this and promises to be a game one must definitely own.
Rockstar is at it again. Here in Pinoygaming, you read from us statements regarding immersion in games and Rockstar has created, for us, one of the most immersive games in recent memory. They have built an entire city, from the tallest skyscrapers, to buildings with interiors and even down to the last alley complete with trash bins and empty boxes and bottles and bums sleeping in trash.
Grand Theft Auto IV – PC Edition brings in more than just a port from the console versions. It offers enhanced graphics (depende sa PC mo pre, wag ka na mangarap pag tatay ng abacus PC mo), more detailed textures, more cars to choose from, missions not present in the consoles and much much more.
We do have a few problems with the graphic tweaking options though. You are only limited by the memory of your video card. On our test PC with a 9600GT, we only got up to 1GB of graphic enhancements and on the GTX 260 we got 1768Mb. For PCs, being limited to a certain memory requirement is reducing the PC into a console. This totally defeats the purpose of enhancements on the PC. Second, there is no AA control (ang AA kapatid ay Anti-Aliasing – ito yung nagpapa “smooth” ng mga blocks of pixels para yung curve sa kotse sa GTA mukhang curve, hindi mukhang karton na pinagpapatong patong). Anti-Aliasing is an essential element in graphic enhancement and not being able to control it in a PC game goes to show that Grand Theft Auto IV has a bit of “Console-it is” (Sakit ng mga games na galing sa console).
Now onto brighter things, despite these short comings, GTA IV in its scale is pretty frakin’ impressive. The visuals still run smoothly despite everything that needs to be rendered by your video card. This in itself is a testament to Rockstar’s technical genius.
Liberty City – the town you live in ingame, is a bustling, thriving, perennially moving metropolitan. The sounds the town produces add to the total immersion. The sirens of police cars and ambulances, the roar of jet engines as planes pass by, the squawking of people on their cell phones and the tunes played over the radios of cars you steal make you feel you are part of the city.
The sound immersion doesn’t stop there. We would not have believed it if we didn’t hear it with our own ears. Gunfire sounds like gunfire. Glass shattering as you fire a few rounds from a combat pistol makes you cringe. This game is not without its auditory magnificence.
On to the gameplay! You are Niko Bellic. You are an eastern European who came into the country searching for a few people and trying to make a new life for himself. As you might have guessed, things don’t turn out too good as you get involved with the mafia, the Albanian organized crime ring, the Korean and Chinese triads, the US government and heck even a few dirty cops. The storyline will have you cheat, kill, steal and sometimes watch strippers and sleep with prostitutes (ito isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit hindi ito pangbata). The story is told directly through play as well as game engine rendered video sequences. Speaking of which, the voice acting in this game is superb! The characters are over the top and quirky but very relatable.
Controls are pretty much the same as old GTA games. Aiming and taking cover have taken new leaps though. Gun play is much more satisfying in this new instalment. We do have one complaint . Cars are too sensitive to inertia. They simply won’t stop if you want them to. You lose control of them more often than you breathe air. You do get used to it over time but driving a car without hitting a single pedestrian shouldn’t be this hard. If you think driving a car is hard, the game will later on ask you to fly a chopper! (pinagpapawisan ako kasi ayaw ko magasgasan yung helicopter pero kailangan ko i-land sa makitid na lugar).
Our favourite game feature will have to be making friends. You can make friends with the people you interact with on a more regular basis. You can take them out to dinner, play darts, bowling, pool, go on boat rides and chopper rides and even watch comedy shows and strippers do their ‘thang’. Once your friendship level gets to a certain percentage, they give you some perks. One sells you weapons on discount prices. Another dude, brings a helicopter for your transportation needs. And we also have someone who sends in guys to help you out in sticky situations, as one affiliate of Pinoygaming refers to as “BLACK UP” (back up na African American).
The gameplay is deep and is loaded with extra features and missions. This will keep you coming back to the game just to unlock everything. The main story is a good 3 day romp in a virtual world if you play it straight. However, if you want to unlock every single little thing, prepare to devote a lot of time into this game. You will have to find hidden birds you have to kill to get achievements, jump from 50 or so custom platforms, find hidden weapons, find custom built cars, meet interesting people and more often than not, kill or steal from them.
This is the tip of the iceberg since GTA IV offers Multiplayer as well. You and your friends can compete with or help each other out in gunbattles all over the city; this alone promises unlimited fun in the form of unadulterated mayhem.
Replay value does not end there. You can log onto Microsoft Live and Rockstar Social Club where you can interact with other GTA IV players. In MS Live, you can get gamer points that you can use to purchase other stuff from Microsoft. When you’re logged into the Rockstar Social Club, you will be able to upload videos you’ve captured ingame and share it with players from all over the world. Replay value is through the roof.
If you want a good value game, this is it. If you want immersion, this is it. If you want action, this is it. If you want drama, this is it. Rockstar again has given us a masterpiece.
Pinoy Gaming Rate