GTA IV
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  • GTA IV is ten next month. It's still my favourite game, so here's a thread for everyone to raise a glass and tell me how wrong I am.

    It's flawed, for sure. The story is over-long, many of the missions are rubbish and even the good ones are repetitive. Drive here, kill that. The characters are more human and memorable than most games but are mostly still unlikeable idiots. Niko is an idiot too, his moments of dignity undermined by him being a wise-cracking, murderous psychopath.

    None of that matters though and it never really did. The city is the achievement, beautifully designed and a joy to explore, it easily overcomes all the flaws. I've not played a mission in years, I've just driven, explored and relaxed. The architectural variety is amazing, from ruined tenements to immaculate skyscrapers, industrial chimneys, shipwrecks, parks, outdoor pools and urban beaches, burnt-out buildings and art galleries. The city feels lived-in and there is detail everywhere, litter, graffiti, posters, abandoned sofas and chest of drawers. After ten years I still occasionally find new roads or landmarks. One of the biggest achievements is that despite its vast size, you never get stuck, there's a way through every alley and side street, or planks in a skip that allow you to jump a wall. This allows the chases flow beautifully.

    The soundtrack is great, complementing the world perfectly, with tracks that I'd now count among my favourites. But for me, the physics are the star of the show, everything feels weighty and satisfying and things are never the same twice. There's always a great deal of satisfaction in driving, riding a motorbike or accidentally pushing somebody down a long flight of stairs.

    The handling has real depth and every car handles differently, from super cars to wallowing 70's bangers. There's a tension to driving, a sense of being on a knife-edge. Clip another car and the impact feels massive, do it at speed and you'll pirouette across the street, leaving skid marks in your wake. Vehicles crumple and bend satisfyingly until black smoke is billowing and flames lick the engine. Then the rear tyres burst into flames, a great visual way to tell you to prepare for a large and satisfying explosion.

    Sadly, much was lost with GTA V, the wonderful Euphoria physics and weighty handling were toned down in favour of fancier graphics and a reduced difficulty curve. Cars are much hardier and the damage less satisfying, pieces just fall off and it's almost impossible to make them blow up. When you finally do the explosions don't even have the decency to chain nicely, just an instant bang.

    The motorbikes and the helicopters have become a twitchy joke and gone too are the fantastic physics when you bail from a car or exit through the windscreen. The countryside and lighting are beautiful and the flowing roads could be incredible to drive if the handling was more nuanced, but it's too grippy and shallow. Also, the world is far more hostile, so you can no longer observe or eavesdrop because standing beside anybody provokes a fight.

    All of which means I enjoyed playing it but seldom return, whereas GTA IV has drawn me back year after year. I'm probably thinking about this too much, maybe it’s just the last big game I had time to immerse myself in, but I don't think so. It feels like lighting in a bottle, a vast, beautiful, reactive world. It's a shame even Rockstar failed to build upon it and that all anyone remembers these days is the bowling.
  • No Roman, I'm not taking you bowling.
  • I'd agree with most of that. The world is dense and full of life in a way that the other games aren't, it feels like a perfect mash-up of real and cinema NY.  Not needing to be realistic seems to give the animation, textures and sound a chance to really shine. There's some great dialogue and characters in there as well, it's a pity it all goes towards a story that's an overblown mess by the end.

    I loved the driving as well, but I know a lot of people hated it and I'm sure Rockstar received the negative feedback loud and clear.


  • Still one of the best first trailers for a game I can recall.

    I feel like these days the spectacle of a well developed open(ish) world is a thing of the past, sadly.
    There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were. Inayat Khan
  • I was playing this last week.
  • Yossarian
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    The only two 3D GTA games that I’ve ever got bored of and given up on were this and San Andreas.
  • Kow
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    Was pretty much my first console online experience. I remember being last alive (on forum side) in the Christmas Edge staffers v forum multiplayer. And falling off a bridge and losing. The good old days.
  • Aye, it was a brilliant piece of world building. Gold standard.
    Come with g if you want to live...
  • Can't believe it's been ten years tho...
    Come with g if you want to live...
  • GTA IV plus expansions (Gay Tony in particular) is in the running for my favourite game ever. I loved it and hated GTA V singleplayer by comparison.

    The voice acting irritates me though. Niko and Roman can't even pronounce their own names correctly.
  • Aye, the Koyaanisqatsi trailer was brilliant, I already loved the film so for my most anticipated game to nod towards it was amazing. And Gay Tony was great, more colour, more disco, parachutes and proper checkpoints. 

    Both games had great ambient music stations, too. Nice to see some love. 

    I was playing it last night, it's still a very pretty game.

    kzfBesW.png
  • Very crude + unpretty from that shot. Looks way better in my memories at least.
  • Is GTAIV considered good now? I'm confused.
  • Obvs this belongs here -



    Triumphant vid.

    Shame the game has such performance issues on PC, mad stutter all over the place.
  • It was a really lazy port but there's plenty of fixes. I seem to remember it was a low-resource memory issue.
  • That video is great, articulates a lot of what I was trying to say. Such a sophisticated engine, I don't get all the cuts they made.

    My PC version is okay, I can run smoothly with max settings and high resolution if I lock to 30fps. Had to jump through a few hoops though, hopefully they'll tart it up for the 10th anniversary.
    indigoDos wrote:
    Very crude + unpretty from that shot. Looks way better in my memories at least.
    And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose.
  • Paul the sparky
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    Good post there Trippy, the car handling physics are a real miss, but most don't seem to notice or care. In fact I've probably seen more people whinging about it than I've seen enjoy it. A shame.
  • Didn’t realise this was backwards compatible. Downloading now.
  • trippy wrote:
    That video is great, articulates a lot of what I was trying to say. Such a sophisticated engine, I don't get all the cuts they made.

    My PC version is okay, I can run smoothly with max settings and high resolution if I lock to 30fps. Had to jump through a few hoops though, hopefully they'll tart it up for the 10th anniversary.
    indigoDos wrote:
    Very crude + unpretty from that shot. Looks way better in my memories at least.
    And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose.

    Oh, did he get brutally sodomised next? I do hope so.


  • IndigotSod
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Omg, he went there with the biblical language..sodomy follows.

    You love it elf, fess up.

  • Sod is my middle name. Or at least the middle part of my first name. Kind of.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • hylian_elf wrote:
    IndigotSod

    So by combining my handle and your middle name you're establishing a kind of Brotherhood/cousin connection between us in your culture.



    Umbasa, so back to this hugely overrated game then...
  • Only if you're sure you've finished talking about anal intercourse?
  • I loved vice city and san andreas. 5 was a return to form. 4 probably my least fav.
  • Andy
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    For all the praise about the car handling, it doesn’t necessarily make for a fun experience. In GTAIV’s case, it makes for a very not-fun experience.

    ‘Tension’ is not a feeling I want associated with my main method of travel.
  • Yossarian
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    That would explain why you became a police officer rather than a tight-rope walker.
  • There's a tension to real driving too but that's fair enough, your mileage may vary.
  • GooberTheHat
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    I very rarely feel tense when driving, unless I'm in Central London.
  • Some of the slow-mo, emotion engine crashes (and ragdoll moments) were very cool iirc.

    I really liked the driving model. Twas a lot more interesting than the simplified one they used in V.
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