Welcome to Grand Theft Auto IV
The next-generation doesn't start until Rockstar says it does, it would seem, based on our first-hand introduction to GTA IV. Find out more in our series of stupidly detailed previews, complete with all-new screens!
"A single beige sofa boasts as much detail and character as you might expect from an entire room in San Andreas."
We exit the backdoor, and head into the alleyway beyond. Earlier we mentioned the city's verticality of detail, and Rockstar knows the perfect spot in this part of Broker to demonstrate the point. Just down the alleyway is a telegraph pole. Niko climbs up to the top of it, to give a fantastic birds-eye-view example of our immediate Broker surroundings.
"It really hit the message home: GTA didn't truly enter the third dimension with GTA III - verticality is only just happening now."
Before we go and jump into a nearby car, Niko has a short jog to get over to it. While running, we notice Niko now has a centre of gravity, he leans left and right as he changes direction; it's another subtle, natural development that Rockstar says adds more connectivity with the player. It got us thinking about controls: are there going to be any new controls, or are they just refined? "The combat system and the targeting system have been completely overhauled, but we don't want to talk about it before we can put the controller in your hands."
The animation, in general, has been massively improved from the previous games. Niko's analogue-driven walking animation is fluid and real at different paces, and the standing still "waiting" animation that every game character has had since forever is in there. When he (or other pedestrians) get hit by a car, the crumpling of the body is convincing and quite alarming. "He's actually got a skeleton now," Brown points out. Approaching a car, Niko first attempts to get the door open with a couple of tugs. Finding it locked, he repositions himself to smash the window and open the door to get in - it's all really nicely animated. There'll be plenty of new car-jacking and hot-wiring animations, according to Rockstar.
GTA has always had the best cruise and chase driving mechanics around, and Rockstar says it's now further enhanced by utilising a brand new "vehicle physics package" - the idea is that it subtly improves the handling by adding a little bit more control and weight, while vehicles will also respond perfectly to the undulations in the road - indeed, we can see every tiny bump and shake of the car as it passes over this city back street we're slowly cruising down.
"The overall visual impression when driving looks better than any specialised next-gen city-based racing game we've seen to date."
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Grand Theft Auto IV
Trailer 1 HD 720p
(High quality version - Download WMV)
Grand Theft Auto IV
Trailer 1 SD (Stream)
Sam Houser on GTA IV
Developer comments on PS3 including Rockstar president Sam Houser, who is clearly discussing GTA IV.
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