[Dual Review] Grand Theft Auto IV
What? We're just reviewing this now? Clicky clicky to find out what the hold up was...
Published: June 23, 2008
Justin: Definitely. At first the watercolor filter that they threw over everything had me feeling like I was drowning in a tub of vaseline, but I got used to it pretty quickly. It's certianly better than just having a terrible draw distance. Buildings that far off don't look too perfectly crisp, anyway. The range at where it takes effect can be dissapointingly short sometimes, moreso in multiplayer, but overall the game is gorgeous. Model complexity is improved, like you said with the cars, and characters have fingers instead of solid blocks of meat. Stuff like that really helps with the immersion.
In the real world, buildings that far off don't look too perfectly crisp anyway.
Sam: Well, that does bring us to the difference that the game's manual install brings over the 360. Not having draw-in on objects like the old games was a definite plus, but yeah, I agree, some of the cutoffs for when the game started dropping detail could be a little weird. At least it used stuff like depth of field and motion blur to really nice effect. The first time I got into a taxi while drunk was amaaaaazing.
And ohhh man, I was sooo glad to bid farewell to mittenhands -- even if sometimes the characters' hands did move a little stiffly. That's starting to seriously nitpick, though. By far the biggest gains in moving to the PS3 have been in the visuals, I think, though the audio is no slouch either.
Justin: It's about time they changed the gun sounds. They definitely sound more realistic this time around.
Sam: Yep, and there's some really cool sound modeling too, so stuff sounds quite different when you're in a tunnel or out in the open. Even just being in an alleyway makes a difference, which is a nice touch. Oh, and the conversations people have on the streets are every bit as good as they've ever been. The crazies rambling give you like a good 10 minutes of one-sided conversation.
Justin: Yeah, it takes a while to hear all of the pedestrian dialogue. The radio stations, on the other hand... there's a lot of them, but they are stretched really, really thin. You're always hearing the same few songs over and over again. Though I guess that's not a far cry from the real world, either.
Sam: Yeah, I was a little bummed out about that. Having a custom soundtrack option would have so fixed that. In fact, I'll be honest with you; if there were custom soundtracks, I probably would have put rips of the old games' music in there. Running through GTA IV Liberty City with RISE FM playing in the background would have messed with my head soooo nicely.
I did like that certain stations, like Integrity, could only be caught if you were in certain parts of the city. Also, Lazlow is incredible now. His character has had one of the most incredible arcs in the history of games. He was so damn cool in GTA III and now he's just this bitter, washed-out guy who doesn't get it anymore. I really am amazed at how well Rockstar handles continuity.
Justin: I thought Integrity just opened up once you made some progress. That's pretty cool that it's based on your location. Custom soundtracks would be good in just about anything, especially a game like this, but unfortunately it's absent from just about everything right now. So that's a bummer.
Sam: I'm pretty sure it's based on proximity. Radio Broker comes and goes too if I remember right.
Okay, so your best and worst moments from the game. Annnnnd.... GO.