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Archive for May, 2008

GTA4: Grand Theft Auto 4 (ps3) Review

by on May.01, 2008, under PS3

Overall Rating 10/10
Online Play 10/10

Initial Thoughts

With it’s scheduled release of April 29th, I went and picked up my pre-ordered collectors edition at midnight. I’ve been waiting for this game for quite some time, so it’s very exciting!

The whole feeling of anticipation is just something you cant explain. The 10 minute drive to the store, and 10 minutes back is the longest ever! Not to mention the hours standing in line felt like days!

Let’s open this sucker up!

Included in the collectors edition are:

  • Special Collectors edition GTA4 Game
  • Safe Deposit Box + Key & Keychain
  • Artwork book
  • Duffel bag
  • Music CD with non-released tracks

First Impressions

After inserting the disc into the PS3 and switching on my LG 42” LCD television, I cranked the volume on the surround sound and sat back in my chair. The installation gave me time to look thru all the extras. The art book was kind of cool and the duffel bag is actually pretty solid. Good for use as an “overnight bag” or to throw some games/accessories in if you’re going to a friends house.

The safety deposit box is of sound construction, not “secure” by any means, but will keep anything safe from prying eyes in your household.

Gameplay & Graphics

I’m a big fan of free roaming and not doing missions after I build up a good chunk of cash and properties. Mostly I just cause a ruckus, pretend I’m a normal pedestrian (Driving by the rules, parallel parking, all that good stuff). Then more often then not I feel like being bad, rob a few people, kill them, steal a car and get a police chase going. This is fun for me. I love it! And the fact that GTA4 game play is based largely on free roaming having an effect on what happens is just great!

I had to adjust the brightness/contrast settings because it was just too dark by default. But the graphics are great! Vast improvement over the cartoonish look of the previous versions. And if you look closely at the paint on cars you can actually see the metal flake in the paint!

Driving

Driving is much different in this game then the previous installments. Every car handles and drivesdifferently, cornering requires you to actually SLOW DOWN! Cars will spin out and crash just like they would in real life if you go too fast around a corner. Once you get use to it you start to appreciate the dynamics.

The cars don’t blow up as easily which is GREAT! I found when the car takes enough damage it just wont start anymore… You’ll be sitting there trying to start it, but no go! Even if you flip over it wont blow. Shooting the gas tank or catching the car on fire of course will result in the car becoming a rolling time bomb. (But you do get a bit of extra time to get out before she blows!)

Flat tires will effect handling of course, and if you drive to hard or too fast on a flat, it will deteriorate and shred off – leaving you to ride on the rim. I haven’t come across any spike strips during cop chases (I actually enjoyed that aspect)… But road blocks, helicopters and SWAT teams are still strong. I have had a 6 star wanted level but was in a helicopter at the time so I was unable to see what the ground forces were like.

Walking / Running

I also found this a bit harder at first, but again once you get the hang of it, its no problem. You’re able to hold X to run, or tap X repeatedly to sprint. Careful not to run out in traffic because you will get smoked!

Shooting / Combat

Shooting is MUCH improved! You can use the cover system (R1) to duck behind cars or hide behind a wall. Shoot blindly at your targets while staying behind cover (not very accurate), or pop up and shoot your enemy.

You can free aim your weapon by holding L2 about half way, or lock on by pressing it all the way in. Once locked on you can use the right analog stick up to go for a head shot, or down to go for a leg wound. When shooting at cops, they take more shots to the chest due to body armor.

Game Features

GTA4 has veered away from the traditional sense of the game in the fact that, well… things are different. Yes you still kill people, steal cars and all that stuff we most certainly love, it’s bee MUCH improved.

  • Stealing Parked Cars - Now instead of just running up to any car on the street which somehow conveniently had its keys in the ignition or visor; you actually BREAK in and hotwire the sucker! While this sucks for those times you’re running from the cops and the only quick getaway car is parked, it ads a huge sense of realism. I love the sound of breaking glass in the morning. Some cars tend to take longer than others to hot wire (This may just be a random thing). But you can press L2 and/or R2 quickly to speed up the process. And yes, pedestrians will be like “omg”.
  • Getting Arrested – usually you would be arrested as soon as the cops got within a few feet, or opened your door if you were JUST stepping on the gas… quite annoying at times because you knew you just needed 0.0001 more milliseconds. Now you have a better opportunity to resist arrest! You put your hands up and before the cop gets around to slapping the cuffs on, you can take off running! Granted depending on the crime committed they may or may not shoot at you.
  • Cell Phone – you’re able to call 911 (police, ambulance, fire) to the location you’re at. How cool is that? Want to start some trouble, get the cops there sooner! Call yourself an ambulance or firetruck! So much fun! Calling an ambulance to replenish your health costs money, but if you’re in trouble with no food around, its well worth it.

Online Play

Being a first in the GTA series, online play will most definitely be AWESOME. I can sit there for hours and free roam wishing I had a 2nd player in there with me…. and now.. i CAN!

About 45 minutes after I played single player, I hopped online to check it out… Most fun I’ve ever had in an online game my entire life! The interactions you can have with other players is hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing!!! A headset is a MUST, it makes it that much better!

You automatically have voice chat with your teammates, but can call other players with the in game cell phone for a private or conference call.

Just to give you an idea of the antics you can pull on your enemies or team mates. I loaded up a helicopter with a few of my team members, they all thought we had big plans to kill the enemy… little did they know I had an alternate agenda. Whilst they were shooting out of the chopper and enjoying the ride, I went higher in the sky and proceeded to tell them via voice chat they were on their own. At the same time I jumped out of the cockpit! Leaving the chopper to spin wildly out of control! I could hear screams and laughter over the voice chat as there was nothing they could do to save themselves.

Cannot Connect to game provider (Error Message)

The Error “cannot connect to game provider” is due to everyone trying to connect to the game servers. Just keep trying and eventually you’ll get in. The server’s aren’t “crashed”, just hard to find an open connection. Although I have experienced one or 2 online crashes to do with a game just dropping and the PSN network not signing in… but this was short lived.

Common for new releases (though unfortunate). But expect there to be no delay in joining multi player matches in the next week or two.

Conclusion

This game is just awesome. It’s the only game where all my PSN list says “playing GTA4″. This game is well worth the money spent for the enjoyment you’ll receive.

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