Yahtzee takes on “Grand Theft Auto IV.”

You just know I had to share this one…

Having fun with “GTA IV” glitches.

To say that the scope of Grand Theft Auto IV is ambitious is an understatement. It attempts to simulate a fully fledged living city with an active population and realistic physics and for the most part it does this very well. It’s not perfect, however, so there’s bound to be a few places where the simulation… breaks down… falls flat… just plain goes nuts. For one class of gamer out there hunting those glitches down is half the fun:

Found over at Kotaku.com.

Patch for PS3 version of “GTA IV” due sometime today.

The folks at Eurogamer are reporting that a patch for the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV should be hitting the net today:

Speaking to Eurogamer, a Sony source explained that the patch would help by “reducing the loads on the servers at GameSpy and hopefully the completely random hangs that some users have seen”.

I’ve not had the chance to play the game for the past couple of days anyway so this is perfect timing for me. With any luck the patch will be available by the time I get home and I can check to see if it clears up the issue. No word yet on a patch for the Xbox 360 version.

On a related note: GTA IV is, as expected, earning Rockstar a shit load of money taking in some $500 million in its first week on store shelves.

Update: According to the guys at PS3 Fanboy the patch is out and working as advertised.  It clocks in at 18MB and bumps the version number to 1.01.

Possible release date for PC version of “GTA IV” leaked to the net.

Those of you who are drooling for a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and debating over which console to buy because all you have is a PC may take some heart in this Softpedia news item:

… [W]e have a German website presenting the Grand Theft Auto IV PC version DVD case, together with a price and, what matters most for all of us: the release date. According to the website, the PC version of Rockstar’s title will be made available starting the 30th of November this year. What should normally be a further proof that the date is correct (or, at least, that a PC version is in the works) is the fact that pre-order is available. It remains to see how and if Rockstar responds to this… let’s call it “leak”. They probably won’t be too happy, since the official announcement still has to be made.

So, assuming this date is correct or at least in the general ballpark, if you can hold out ‘till November then you may not need to purchase a console to get your fix after all. Maybe by then they’ll have smushed the rather annoying freezing bugs as well.

“Grand Theft Auto IV” has crapped out on me.

So about six hours of game time in I had just finished the mission where you deal with the problem of Vlad (if you’ve played it then you know where I was) when the game suddenly locked up during the cut scene at the end of the mission. Oh, I thought to myself, this must be the much-discussed lockup bug. So I rebooted the console and tried to launch the game. It went through the load up screens and then tried to load the last save point at which point it just sat there strobing the loading text at me for far longer than usual. When the music ended and it sat there in silence still strobing the text I figured it wasn’t going to load and rebooted the console again. Since then I’ve deleted all the save files I had, the profile, and the installation files and yet it does the same thing every time. Goes through the load screens and sits there strobing the text STARTING A NEW GAME at me endlessly. Considering that I never saw the “starting” text the first time I loaded the game the fact that I was seeing it at all wasn’t a good sign.

Now this is disturbing because my issue doesn’t sound like what other folks have been having. They all report that they get to the first cut scene and then it locks up. I’m not even making it that far. When I check the files on the hard drive I can see that the game has managed to make a profile, but not a save file so I know it’s locking up pretty early in the process. The consensus seems to be that the problem is related to the Internet connectivity and that’s one thing I haven’t tried turning off yet so we’ll see if that fixes it. I’ve not gotten a chance to try it yet today as we got up and took Melvin, the official SEB cat, to the vets then went out for lunch and an early showing of Iron Man (Super Short Review: Go see it. It’s good.) and when we got home the TV was occupied.

It’s a little bizarre to have the game work fine for two days straight and then lock up and refuse to run after that. Still I’ll try disabling the internet connectivity next and see what happens. Either way I’m not too worried about it as they’ll eventually get a patch together for it at some point. It is rather annoying though.

Update: Turning off the Internet connection got the game working again just fine. I’m back to where I was before it locked up on me the first time. So it appears it’s related to the networking in some fashion. I expect they’ll have a patch for it in short order.

I’ve got about five hours in with GTA IV…

… and so far I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not done a whole lot yet, a handful of the missions, two dates with Michelle where we bowled (once) and played billiards (twice), gone to the titty bar with my cousin twice, watched a whole episode of Republican Space Rangers on TV (which was easily worth the price of admission alone), and died three times. I spent a good hour last night just driving around checking out the sights and then I decided to see how big of a car pileup I could cause in one of the traffic circles. Just cause, you know, I could and all.

What I’m most impressed with is the level of detail on what you can do. Things like being able to sit down and watch episodes of shows on TV (albeit very short episodes) is very cool. I’ve not seen it yet, but there’s apparently some cabaret shows and stand up comedians you can go watch perform as well. Or the fact that you can pick up small objects, such as a brick, which you can then throw, such as through a window, for smaller scale mayhem. I’ve not gotten a gun yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from knocking a guy through a window to his death. I’ve already had one moral choice to make (whether or not to kill someone I was sent to kill) which will probably come back to play a role later in the game and offer a bit of replay in the form of making the opposite choice next time. I’ve spent a fair amount of time just walking the streets and taking in the details. It really is impressive.

One thing I’m disappointed with so far is finding the stunt jumps. Because the city is so realistic it’s hard to pick out what would have obviously been a stunt jump in the other games. I think I’ve found one so far, but when I hit it I didn’t get the usual cinematic and my car didn’t land upright so I didn’t successfully complete it. That is, if it was an actual stunt jump. Launching my car off the stunt jumps is what I enjoy the most about this series of games and it seems like the ramps have gotten increasingly harder to find with each release. Hopefully they’ll become easier to spot once I find a couple and have an idea of what they look like.

Overall I’d have to say the game lives up pretty well to the reviews it’s been getting. I don’t know that I’d go as far as to say it’s revolutionary, but it’s definitely a big step up in the evolution of the series. Well worth the price so far.

OK, this is too funny not to include the video so here it is. WARNING: Lots of strong language so probably NSFW:

“Grand Theft Auto IV” appears to be living up to the hype.

Today was the day that the embargo on GTA IV reviews was lifted and all the non-exclusive reviews finally hit the net. So far GTA IV is racking up an incredible number of perfect and near-perfect scores. There are some minor flaws here and there, but the story, presentation, and greatly improved control schemes are winning accolades. Here’s Game Trailer’s video review as an example:

Now I just have to hope that Amazon.com has shipped the title so it’ll arrive on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to spending a fair amount of time just driving around checking out the city.

Xbox 360 version of GTA4 already cracked and loose on the net.

Every now and then you’ll see an article about how gaming on the PC is dieing thanks to rampant piracy. Everyone wants to make console games because they’re supposedly harder for the pirates to crack and distribute. So perhaps someone could explain to me how the Asian PAL version of GTA4 is already on the net?

At approximately 1:45AM EST the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV was leaked onto the internet. According to our X3F tipsters, who better plan on actually buying the game, thousands of users are leeching the 6.36 GB potential game of the year candidate. The release is a rip of the PAL version, specifically from the Asian market, and comes a mere six days before retailers place the game on store shelves.

We don’t want to get on our soapbox here but we hope our readers would shy away from downloading a full version of the game, especially considering the team at Rockstar North have garnered near-perfect review scores for the release. Why? Well, it’s illegal kids … actually come to think of it, this leak is deliciously ironic. Isn’t it?

Yeah it really is. Just goes to show that the consoles aren’t all that much more difficult to pirate games for than the PC is.

Hear a song in GTA IV you like? You can buy it in-game.

Now here’s an interesting idea: Rockstar Games and Amazon.com have teamed up to bring you the option of buying any of the tracks you hear in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV from within the game itself:

The in-game radio feature of the Grand Theft Auto games has long been lauded, and now players will have the chance to scoop up the songs they hear in the game to listen to in the real world. A new technology called “ZiT” uses the game’s cell phone feature. When players hear a song they like, they can dial a number on their in-game cell-phone to receive a text message detailing the artist and track title. For users that sign up for the new Rockstar Games Social Club, an e-mail will then be sent with a link to a custom Amazon.com playlist which features the tracks phoned in. These DRM-free tracks will be priced in the 89-99¢ Amazon price range.

The game’s soundtrack reportedly includes over 150 tracks. The developers are “aiming for music geeks by handpicking rare, hard-to-find songs such as Electrick Funk’s 12-inch treasure ‘On A Journey’ and Elton John’s “Street Kids’ off his relatively unheralded Rock of the Westies,” as well as songs exclusive to the game like “‘Vagabond (Liberty City Mix)’ by the Greenskeepers and ‘War is Necessary’ from iconic rapper Nas,” according to a press release posted on Yahoo! Games.

Citing the success of downloadable music sales as implemented in Rock Band as an inspiration, but boasting the ability to take songs outside of the game, Amazon and Rockstar are looking for similar results from players of Grand Theft Auto 4. “Music has long played an integral part of the game playing experience,” said Ronn Werre, executive vice president of EMI Music’s Sales, Licensing and Synchronization unit, in a statement. “We think giving players the ability to identify and buy their favorite tracks from Grand Theft Auto IV’s popular radio stations is a great new music discovery tool for fans and an innovative new revenue stream for artists.”

This shouldn’t be too surprising as Rockstar has sold box sets of the soundtracks from previous GTA games, but it’s certainly novel in its approach. I’d actually be more inclined to use this method as I generally don’t like every song in the game (I rarely listen to the rap stations for example) so I’m not inclined to spring for the whole box set, but would be up to perhaps snagging a song or two that catches my fancy. The fact that you can do it in-game and then take the files to real-world players is pretty freakin’ cool.

Rockstar updates Grand Theft Auto IV website.

One of the games I purchased my PS3 in anticipation of is Grand Theft Auto IV. The folks at Rockstar just updated the website for the game with lots of new screens and several video clips. Everything you could want including downloads of wallpapers and ring tones. Here’s one of the trailers to show you why I’m so looking forward to this game:

Yep, need to save my pennies.