By Oo Gin Lee
|Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)
|» Price: $61.90
» Genre: Action adventure
» Platform: PC
» Rating: 8/10
CAN a man who kills another without even batting an eyelid be a hero? As Niko Bellic, the answer is a big yes.
An Eastern European mobster who arrives in Liberty City illegally wants a new lease of life, lured by Niko's cousin Roman's tales of fast cash, cars and women. Unfortunately, they are hogwash. To save his cousin from the mob, Niko must turn to crime and violence.
Welcome to Grand Theft Auto (GTA) IV for the PC, the non-linear game where you can roam the huge city on foot or in a cab or drive your own car. As you partake in the main quests to propel the story forward, you can engage in tons of side quests and have a social life too, dating women and hanging out with mob brothers.
Gameplay is identical to the console versions released in April but there are extras in the PC version.
For instance, if you have enough mojo in your PC, you will be impressed with the amazing graphics when run at 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. Keyboard and mouse also offer better control especially during combat when you can aim faster and more accurately with the mouse.
Switching weapons from revolver to shotgun is easy - just press 1 to 9 to get the right one. The game also supports an Xbox 360 gamepad controller.
The new Independence FM lets you create your own radio channel by simply dumping your favourite MP3 tunes into the UserMusic folder. Listening to Teresa Teng's melodious voice while fleeing the cops at 200kmh is very calming.
The game, however, is a resource glutton. I tested it on the new Gateway P7804G FX gaming laptop and had to tune it down to 1,600 x 1,040 to reduce game lag. There were also occasional crashes. The good news is that its game publisher Rockstar should have a patch out by the time this article goes to press. If not, just continue from the last Autosave. So, save often.
I love the video editor which lets you capture in-game action clips, splice them together, then add text, audio and transitions the way you do in video editing suites. Just press F2 to automatically capture the last 30 seconds of gameplay. You can also upload your home-made videos to the Rockstar Games Social Club TV website and share them with the rest of the world.
One other difference: you can now take part in a 32-person multiplayer mode - up from 16 - death matches and mega-races. That's twice the mayhem.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on 17 December 2008.
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