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  1. #31
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    That is good to hear. More PS3s sold can only be good news.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #32
    ELITE v85rawdeal's Avatar
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    Grand Theft Auto IV - A Review

    I was out when this arrived, so I was somewhat concerned that I would not get it due to the disreputable nature of one or two individuals in the block of flats I live in, and the general uselessness of the postal service in Portsmouth, but, FORTUNATELY, one of the older tenants picked up the parcel and kept it for me.

    I can only judge the game based on the version that I got, after all, but I would hope that both versions of the game are identical in every way. I know it won't shut up the fan-boys going on about downloads or ‘jaggies’, but I don't care. I try to make my viewpoint as unbiased as possible. So I will only reveal that I did purchase the SPECIAL EDITION of the game, which may not be the best value for money, but certainly looks good with the hefty metal tin, soundtrack (only in cardboard sleeve though), art book, bag and key fob.

    I also intend not to give anything away about some of the more pleasantly surprising additions to the game that relate to the game story itself, beyond the very basics. After all, it’s great fun to discover these as you play rather than being told beforehand. This, I think, is one of the reasons I have not read any other reviews for the game, as I didn’t want anything special to be spoiled for me.

    The initial start of the game, for me, was a slow process, due to the amount of data being copied over to the HD (3gb worth). Once that is done the game starts in the traditional GTA style, with a fairly long sequence to cover some of the background to the story. There are plenty of details not covered, but Nico slowly narrates his background as the story progresses. With regard to the story, there IS one noticeable addition that is quite welcome. As the story is, in part, narrated through judicial use of the cell phone, you can turn the phone off, thereby suspending story mode and turning the game into a 'virtual life' simulator. Of course, you could also try phoning up many, many numbers on the phone to see if any work…



    The first thing that you notice is the graphics, as they are, without a doubt, stunning. Rockstar have certainly surpassed all that has gone before when it comes to the level of detail and manipulation that you have with your environment. From picking up drinks bottles and bricks to knocking over dustbins, everything seems to do something The environment also has another characteristic in that some buildings or surfaces have a tactile effect (in that you can grab and hold on when jumping). I knew that ledges could be grabbed, but was somewhat shocked to find myself able to shimmy along a cliff-face.


    There are a few glitches, but most are negligible. I feel that some of these are simply due to the RAGE engine. The glitches matter little when you compare them to the thrill of driving a car into a pile of burning cars at great speed, with Nico getting sent through the windscreen and into the inferno to emerge the other side as a living ball of fire screaming across the firmament as a testament to his piety and godliness. (Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!)

    Another aspect of the RAGE software is watching how other pedestrians react to you and other activities. Breaking into a parked car can cause passers-by to do any of a multitude of actions, ranging from standing there with a shocked expression on their face, to trying to stop you, to even jumping into the passenger’s seat and coming along for the ride.

    The views are well used, with lots of different views available to view the action depending on the event, although bizarrely there are at least 8 views for when you get a car washed, and only 3 with which to watch a lap-dance. You can even hold down a key to activate cinematic mode when driving, rather than switching to it as a view (which can still be done). And if you get yourself up to some of the higher points on the islands, you can get a seriously good view from the binoculars. Some the high points are accessible by climbing up the longest ladders I have ever seen in a game, and to do it in true style you need to turn up in a black Cadillac wearing a suit and shades.



    The graphics also help with car recognition as the details are greatly improved, as to be expected. Also it is noticeable that motorbikes are fewer than in Vice City or San Andreas, which for a city such as Liberty, does not come as a surprise, as I imagine that, with the exception of scooters, that two-wheeled transport are vehicles only considered by people who carry an organ-donor card, alongside their licence in their wallet.



    Damage is nicely done, with vehicles showing damage to greater effect than ever before, although dropping over 70ft and landing on the roof of a car should do more than just dent the bonnet...

    The weather system is also a great effect, with fog and rain and storms and sun all really adding to the atmosphere. Night-time is suitably dark and moody, and the storms are wonderful to watch from a high point, if you can find one suitable enough.



    The sound is the game is also great, although, I still don't think that the soundtrack is anywhere near as being considered a classic, unlike Vice City. With all the additional sound going on though, it is a little hard to really focus on the music, especially when driving rather fast. Emergency Service sirens can be heard from a long way away, and I would hope, that if your console is plugged into a surround sound system, that you will get the full benefits of the Doppler Effect (Mine isn’t, so I can’t judge on that). There are a few tracks that do stand out in the soundtrack, but there does not seem to be the level of introduction that the previous games had, leaving you with a slight frustration as to the songs that are played, although there is a track listing in the back of the book, it would be nice to know the names of some of the more obscure tracks.

    The city, at this point, feels like a living, breathing city, with an atmosphere that truly surpasses even the mighty Oblivion, becoming more like an online community. Great fun can be had just doing the slightest little thing to interrupt someone's day. Such as: tripping someone who is jogging; nudging someone off the platform on the L-Train; and sneaking up behind someone having a phone conversation and knocking the phone out of their hand. All of these can cause the police to chase you, triggering a new element of the game.

    Rather than running from the police, until you can find a safe place to hide or until your wanted level decreases, the police look for you in a certain area surrounding your last known position, The more stars you gain the larger the search area. (Six stars is HUGE!!!!). The only way to get rid of the stars is to escape from the search area, but if you are spotted then the search area is recentered on your new position. You could, of course, surrender. But, hey, this IS Grand Theft Auto...



    You could also fight your way out of situations, with melee or firearms. The targeting system is greatly improved, but is a bit fiddly to get used to, with the shoulder buttons having more than one command, depending on how much they are depressed. The cars also seem to have a life of their own, so to speak. This is especially noticeable at the most inopportune moments.

    There are also the usual secrets included, but these do seem to be a lot harder to find. And certainly, I can see some people complaining about one of the range of secrets in the game. This is something, I imagine, that none of the reporters who have commented on the game on TV have noticed (which could be a blessing, I guess). But it wouldn’t be a Rockstar game without at least one envelope being pushed to the limit.

    However, there are a couple of flaws. In a game this big, it could not have been perfect. First, the missions do feel, at first, to be a bit samey... Of course, this could very well change as you progress, but it could put some people off who were looking for something a little different.

    Secondly, this is Liberty City again, for the fourth time (GTA 1, 3, LCS, and now 4). BUT this is Liberty City like you have never seen it before, managing to breathe new life into a city that has seen plenty of action (In Rockstar's defence, this have never stopped moviemakers from re-using a certain famous city: Cloverfield; The Day After Tomorrow; Godzilla; I Am Legend; Ghostbusters 1& 2; Men In Black 1 & 2; Spiderman 1, 2 & 3; every Woody Allen movie).

    There is also some serious pop-up problems, which I am certain could have been addressed. Standing by the river, I glanced in one direction and spied a speedboat heading toward my location, I looked the other way and noticed a sailing boat, when I glanced back to the speedboat it had gone, and suddenly the sailing boat was now a speedboat heading in the opposite direction. Surely, with the processing power available, this silly little flaw should NEVER have happened.

    The biggest flaw is the fact that the box states it runs in 720p, 1080i and 1080p and yet only runs in 720p. This is not the only game to do so, as Call of Duty 4, and Medal of Honour: Airborne, also make the same claim and yet only run in 720p. I did have high hopes that Rockstar would be able to push the game to the very limits of the consoles (media limitations notwithstanding), but this is something that could be rectified at some point with their next game.

    Apparently, however, if you set your settings so that the console set-up is set to only show at the highest resolution, it WILL play in that resolution, but games that don't use that resolution will only play in 576p. So you need to reset the settings set for GTA so that you can play other games. THIS IS NOT GOOD!!!

    Actually, the biggest flaw is Ricky Gervais is in it.... but you can turn the TV off if you want.

    Overall, it is most definitely the very best game out there, without any competition anywhere near it. It does bode well for the next Midnight Club, because the graphics and speed and controls in the Midnight Club games have always surpassed the GTA games immensely.

    My score for the game is certainly not going to be as high as the magazines have rated it, because I know full well that the quality of the GTA games on the new breed of console will get better and to score it too highly would be to do any future games a disservice. It's great! No, it's very great. BUT it's not perfect, and that has to be reflected in the score.

    Graphics: 8.5/10 (slight glitches, but certainly a beautiful game to look at. But work still needs to be done on the continuity when it comes to vehicles and surrounding pedestrians)
    Sound: 8/10 (The soundtrack just doesn't have the vibrancy or instant appeal of Vice City, but is certainly still a great soundtrack to listen to.)
    Playability: 8/10 (very playable, but with the need to do certain missions in order to allow access to various facilities or even basic actions. Come on, Rockstar, we ARE adults, you know, we don't need a wet-nurse anymore.)
    Lastability: 10/10 (if you can get past the initial feeling of deja-vu, then you are in for a wild ride, and a very long one at that...)

    OVERALL: 8/10 (The very best game released to date, with mini-games that would not look out of place in a top-range game compendium. A living, breathing game with character and charm. But, as we know, the next one will likely be bigger, better and brasher, so to score this any higher would be unfair to the sequels.)
    Last edited by v85rawdeal; 3rd May 2008 at 18:12.
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  3. #33
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    Nice review

    Still doesn't help the fact that I still haven't been able to find a single copy in town, though ... and I've gone through 20 shops already. Sure didn't expect the game to be this popular. Maybe I ought to have placed a pre-order.

  4. #34
    ELITE v85rawdeal's Avatar
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    I almost ended up with two copies, having both pre-ordered it in Game and also ordered it online.

    Have had a quick go on the multiplayer game, and may I just say it should be a lot of fun, once it seems to pick up. And the maps are HUGE!!!!!!!!!!! This game, I personally think, online will run and run and run. I just hope that they are able to patch it so that they can increase the number of players per game, as that would be even better and more crazy!

    BUT!!!! And I am very disappointed in this, it does seem to like crashing and freezing a lot. Even on loading, at least on the PS3 thats hooked up it does. MY PS3 isnt net-connected and hasn't froze once...

    And, OH MY GOD.... Mick Foley is colour-commentator on SmackDown... We are so not worthy...
    Last edited by v85rawdeal; 4th May 2008 at 00:16.
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  5. #35
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    There've been widespread reports of frequent game freezes on both the PS3 and 360 versions. Aren't these games supposed to be bug-tested to death?

    *puts on the Batman costume*

    To the patch-mobile!

  6. #36
    Wiseguy Staff Moderator
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    Yes, on some PS3s the game does crash a lot. They say it's an installation issue that can occur. Deleting the gamedata from the HD forcing the game to reinstall has fixed it for many people. It hasn't worked for some though. Fortunately it's never frozen for me, and I've been playing it a lot since tuesday.

  7. #37
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    Space Invaders Champion, Flash Sprint Champion, Seconds Of Madness Champion, BMX Park Champion Submeg's Avatar
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    Not frozen once for me....touch wood!
    Check out my blog - submeg.com/

  8. #38
    I am Legion for we are many. Staff Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Submeg View Post
    Not frozen once for me....touch wood!
    You'll go blind if you keep touching it.
    A1200 Power Tower
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    3.2Gb HDD + 20GB HDD

  9. #39
    The Darth Popsicle! VIP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buleste View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Submeg View Post
    Not frozen once for me....touch wood!
    You'll go blind if you keep touching it.

    Not THAT kind of wood!

    Erm ... right, Subby?

  10. #40
    ELITE Staff Member
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    Space Invaders Champion, Flash Sprint Champion, Seconds Of Madness Champion, BMX Park Champion Submeg's Avatar
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    Exactly! I'm pretty sure we had this convo once before...
    Check out my blog - submeg.com/

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