GTA IV Early Impressions


Yesterday saw the release of arguably the biggest name to hit this gen to date: Grand Theft Auto IV. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t go to any midnight launches to guarantee I got a copy ASAP, although it had crossed my mind. Instead, I ordered it from Amazon.co.uk which was selling it for £34.99. To make sure that I got it yesterday, I went with First Class post.

As more and more people on my friends list came online and started playing GTA IV, the wait became excruciating. The post doesn’t normally come until around 12pm – 1pm so I was constantly checking the time and looking outside to see if the postman was out early.

Then the magical moment happened at exactly 12pm! I heard a parcel drop through the letter box!!! I raced downstairs and saw the Amazon parcel lying there then a big grin crossed my face as I literally ripped it open and saw the GTA IV box art. :D

I slid the disc in and waited the 7mins while the install did it’s thing until finally it began. The first thing I did when I got to the apartment was turn on the TV and I was greeted with one of the greatest and definitely funniest moments I’ve ever experienced in any videogame.

A spoof TV show called Just For Men came on and one of the hosts was Bas Rutten! Bas is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and former Pride FC commentator (amongst many other things). The guy is a legend.

Bas’ performance on the show was an incredible example of over the top self parody of epic proportions. I’ve never laughed so hard for a long time. There were even tears in my eyes by the end. If you haven’t seen it then you must take the time to watch it.

It probably means a bit more to me as I’m heavily into martial arts and I know who Bas is but it is still incredibly funny. It was such a shock to see him in the game and I’m definitely glad I avoided reading too much of the game as the surprise would’ve been spoilt.

That moment will go down in gaming history for me. If R* can better it at any point during GTA IV then I will be amazed.

That was my first wow moment in GTA IV but I’ve also been very impressed with the physics and graphical level of the game. I went for a dive off a pier at night and the water looked amazing with the reflection of the moon breaking up amongst the waves.

I’ve seen no loading screens or pop up so far, there has been some minor pop in like bushes appearing but nothing on the same scale of previous GTA games. I’ve played for around 6hrs and completed a few of the main missions so far. The sound is also very impressive. Everything sounds so clear and vibrant and the game world is buzzing with activity.

GTA IV is less cartoony than previous GTA games and this is reflected in the handling of the vehicles which are less arcadey in feel, if you get my meaning. They also look fantastic.

The characters also add a lot of charm to the game. The dialogue and interaction is superb and the animations for the most part, are excellent.

I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve played and seen so far. I’d even go as far as saying it’s the best game I’ve played so far this gen for the overall wow factor and what it’s achieved. I haven’t tried online yet but I’ve heard both the PS3 and 360 versions are having problems in that department.

How has your GTA IV experience been so far? What has impressed you or disappointed you so far? Please try not to include any spoilers of the main story if possible. :)


Written by: Gary - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Bilzac on April 30th, 2008

    Not living in the States or Canada sux for video games seriously. My early copy of GTAIV was censored and i paid 80 USD for it. Sucks but luckly i convinced my local retailer to get me the US version and that they should refund some of my money. So i decided not to play the game in order to avoid ruining my experience. Hopefully i will be getting the US version tom/day after

  2. #2 by Sporty on April 30th, 2008 [ 95 Points ]

    So far I’m liking it. I made a huge mistake and replayed Vice City and then Saints Row just before I got GTAIV. So it took awhile to get used to the vehicle handling. I was fish tailing on every damn turn and hitting just about everything in sight for awhile.

    I haven’t been ‘sucked’ in yet so I’ve only been playing in small bursts and I’m about 6 hours or so in. Just got to the 2nd safehouse.

    I like the new vigilante modes a lot better. Haven’t tried any online stuff yet since I don’t have a PS3 version yet and my 360 isn’t online anymore.

  3. #3 by Segitz on April 30th, 2008 [ 1470 Points ]

    FFS,

    I hate DHL… I was at home and awaited patiently the arrival of GTA4… and guess what… the f*cking lazy postman didn’t bother ringing, and thus I have to get it myself from the postoffice at 4PM (since it is rated USK18, I need to get it personally!)… I am SO pissed!

  4. #4 by Gary on April 30th, 2008

    Sorry to hear that Segitz. :(

  5. #5 by Tim on April 30th, 2008

    I’m still disturbed at the “walking dead eyes” and the lack of eye contact between characters. Are sight lines that hard to implement?

    Also had trouble re-orienting the camera to my liking whle simultaneously driving – I’m new to consoles and GTA but there was too much fiddling around with the controller to drive well, IMHO

  6. #6 by Lars on April 30th, 2008

    I think this game is amazing. They did a very good job on the multiplayer, I did not play much singleplayer, but the first few missions were fun to play.
    The city is really living this time. I used to play GTA on the pc, so the graphics are a little more blurry.

    Greets from the Netherlands

  7. #7 by Darrin on May 1st, 2008 [ 17143 Points ]

    So far, it’s amazing. Same exact formula as recent GTA games but with massive upgrades in realism/graphics/physics/detail/AI.

    The single-player missions and story are pretty much the same. I’m not hooked yet and there is a long ramp-up of dull tutorial-type missions.

    The action is way better than ever. The car chases and gun fights are way more realistic and exciting than before. I’ve had several spectacular wow moments already during car chases and gun fights. This game is simply much better at generating those spectacular wow moments than ever before due to the huge improvements in detail, physics, AI, etc.

    I’ve only played the deathmatch style multiplayer, and it was much more fun than expected. I’m still not a big fan of frag fest deathmatch games, but I haven’t had a chance to try the other modes.

  8. #8 by warpdrive on May 1st, 2008

    Yup, pretty much ditto here. The game is brilliant, no if ands or buts.

    The world, physics, the quality of the plotline and characters, the whole experience is just complete. I almost feel like I am living inside a real Liberty City.

    Up until now, I haven’t been wowed by any game on the PS3. COD4 was well done but I prefer the PC for FPS. Motorstorm was a good one night stand. GTP5 is tremedously well done but it’s only 1/4 of the real game. I never have looked forward to playing a game as much as this. Sure it’s violent, and pushes moral boundaries, and there’s lots of swearing and politically incorrect dialogue, but I don’t take any of that seriously, it’s just a framework for all the cool action of missions you WANT to complete. In previous GTA, I found driving the car more satisfying than other driving videogames, and it’s also a FPS, and it’s also an adventure game. The freeform nature of the game really lets you just have fun no matter what mood you are in.


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