Beta 2.0

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1UP Quick Take on GTAIV Single Player

* You'll likely notice the same graphical "quirks" that the series has dealt with since the jump to 3D. The same filmlike, grainy framerate exists and usually holds steady, but it can momentarily dip when things get frantic. There's some long-distance graphical fade-in as well as some street-level hazards that appear only after you hit them. Traffic will be nonexistent one second, then three cars deep when you rotate the camera back around, and then completely disappear when your wanted level gets to two or three stars (which is oh-so-fun when you desperately need a getaway vehicle). But even these problems have been "upgraded" in a sense for GTA4: An artistic application of filters hides some of the uglier character models, there's more types of cars to choose from, and overall, the feel of the city trumps any of the shortcomings we're familiar with by now. But you'll be able to see that in the screenshots and eventual videos.

* As previously mentioned, GTA4's story is focused. So much so that you won't be seeing any amusing yet totally out of context missions like invading top-secret government alien research bases. There's a lot of driving, following, shooting, and evading as you do your freelance work around the city. But that's not to say there aren't climactic moments or centerpiece events -- they just seem a little more spaced out along the lengthy campaign. It'd be silly to call this more "realistic," but it's definitely more in line with the genre's representations in television and film.

* The oft-maligned mission structure, where death or capture at any point of the process means restarting from the beginning, is partially redeemed by the cellphone: You still have to start from the beginning of the mission, but now you can skip from jail or the hospital immediately to the starting point. And to help placate those with restart fatigue, Rockstar threw in some different character dialogue for the second try (if you have to try for a third time, your accomplices will suggest that you all be quiet and just listen to the radio until you get there). It's still frustrating to fail a mission in its final stages due to random traffic interference or lucky cops, but that just appears to be the nature of the open-world beast.

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