Wednesday, March 18, 2009

GTA IV - First Impressions

I tried my hands at GTA IV today. I didn’t play it for long & maybe that is why I’m not able to come to a conclusion on whether I like it or not. I loved spending hours together in the old GTA III. I even loved the top-view GTA II. But when it came to San Andreas, I simply couldn’t find it in me to finish even the first mission where they give you a cycle to outrun a car. I don’t know why, but I simply didn’t fancy that game. So, I didn’t have high hopes for this one.

A friend of mine was playing the game & I took over simply to check out the car control. Weirdly enough, I loved it. The car behaves like a real car in the sense, it simply wouldn’t turn as it used to in the earlier versions. The car control was kind of addictive, but tough at the same time. The game has the old storyline, similar missions, same cops roaming randomly & the same ambulances that come to the rescue of injured people. None of that was either new or interesting.

There was a mobile which was supposed to give us some options & then, I was asked to choose between two options at times like for example, when I was about to drop my date, I could ask her whether I could come in or I could just say goodbye. I don’t think it would alter the story, but it was good to have a pseudo feeling of being in control of the story. Besides that, the physics in the game is probably the most note-worthy part of the game.

Though driving the car is a lot tougher now, it is also a lot of fun. Sadly though, there are some catches in that too. The controls are in ‘wasd’, which for a guy like me who plays the game simply to drive the cars & bikes, is stupid. We could probably change the controls but I didn’t want to mess around with it since ‘up/down’ were used for the mobile and I wouldn’t be playing for long anyway. If this wasn’t bad enough, the camera takes a long time to get back into position when we reverse or slide. Basically, we have to move the mouse to look at where we are going during turns. I have no idea how this is supposed to be fun!

The game is probably good enough to at least finish it once, but then again, I’m not completely convinced yet. The Rs.500/- price tag in India is very impressive, but the rumours I’ve heard about the problems of installing this game, have kept me away from it. I believe we need XP SP3 or Vista to install this game. I’m not sure about it, but I have neither of those. For the gamers who love the free-roam games, this is a must try coz the map is definitely huge & the various objects on the road are very real.

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