Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV

From the moment I popped the installation DVD into my computer, I knew that Grand Theft Auto IV PC was going to be a tough title to review.

Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Beautiful graphics, promise of mods and DLC, same fantastic game in new packaging

Cons

  • Demanding system requirements, technical issues, poor control scheme

Bottom Line

A demanding port of an excellent game, GTA IV PC is only worth a look from gamers that missed Niko's venture to America the first time around.

Would you buy this?

From the moment I popped the installation DVD into my computer, I knew that Grand Theft Auto IV PC was going to be a tough title to review.

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Let's step back for a moment and look at the facts: Grand Theft Auto IV has already sold over eleven million copies worldwide on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 systems, and with Crysis-esque system requirements weeding a good number of possible players out of the mix not to mention a hefty 15-gig minimum hard drive installation, mandatory memberships to Windows Live and the Rockstar Social Club, a required update to your latest Windows service pack in both XP and Vista, and last but not least, an army of pre-mature errors, including the title's numerous hardware compatibility issues... well, the odds have certainly been stacked against Niko and friends.

While I realise that this isn't the conventional way for someone to start off an all-around positive review of a game, I just think that it's definitely worth getting the bulk of the bad out of the way before we move onto the good. For every step backwards or minuscule error that GTA IV PC raises, there's something there to satiate GTA fanatic's needs, from customisable controls, high-definition visuals, to hefty 32-player based multiplayer. Rockstar's kicked out all of the jams for their latest iteration of GTA IV, and while hugely successful at times and widely annoying at others, the PC port of this stellar title is still worth keeping an eye on for hardcore fans or first-time criminals.

"Cousin!"

Now, let's get one thing straight right off the bat: if you've owned a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV in the past, there's really no reason to pick up the PC version. While everything that made GTA IV a blockbuster console hit is still here, there's hardly any new material, much less any that's worth writing home about. Sure, the PC version's replay editor is a fun distraction, allowing players to capture and edit footage from their favorite high-speed escapades, but it doesn't nearly justify an entirely new purchase. The game's multiplayer is also notable, beefing up the console count of 16 to 32 players, and while the online multiplayer's just as much of a blast as it's always been, there's always the inherent trouble of finding 31 willing players all dead-set on the same rules, maps, and modes as you.

Grand Theft Auto IV's story is just as impressive as it was on its console endeavours, bringing an incredible Hollywood-grade script and case to an outstanding cast of characters and locales. Every mission, weapon and vehicle from the console versions remains completely intact in GTA IV PC, but with downright frustrating keyboard and mouse controls, car-jacking may seem like a bit more of chore than it used to. If you're planning on picking up Niko's first foray into PC territory, my biggest recommendation would be the purchase of a well adjusted game controller to ride shotgun with you throughout Liberty City.

Arriving Late to the Land of Opportunity

While Grand Theft Auto IV remains an amazing title through and through, I can't help but recommend a console purchase over this PC port. While GTA IV PC retains much of the magic that made the game such a massive hit earlier this year, there's no overlooking the technical issues that weigh down this masterful game, from teeth-grinding slowdown to simply lazy controls. Still, even with its flaws, there's no missing the fact that this is the same Grand Theft Auto IV that so many gamers fell in love with the first time around, with every mission, character, and locale completely intact. Undoubtedly a system hog, that never stops GTA IV PC from delivering one of the finest cinematic action/adventure video game experiences to date.

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