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2.3 out of 5 stars
Grand Theft Auto IV - PC Download (Standard Edition)
Platform for Display: PC DownloadEdition: StandardChange
Price:$5.99 - $399.98
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256 of 300 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
We all know the game. It's Grand Theft Auto 4. Enough has been said about the game itself, love it or hate it. The PC version could have been great, but it's crippled by poorly optimized code and forced bloatware.

My PC lets me run any game I want. Most modern games run at 720p, 60 frames-per-second, 4xAA on my 46" HDTV. This includes Fallout 3 and Dead Space. Other games, like Far Cry 2 are more taxing, but I still manage to crank out a solid 30 frames-per-second. GTA4, simply put, performs horribly. I am only getting 15 to 20 FPS on average. I can't picture someone without a hardcore gaming PC getting anything close to a playable experience with it.

Also, to install the game you're forced to also install Rockstar Social Club, Games for Windows Live, the SecureROM service (DRM). Plus you need a Windows Live account to even save your game. Terrible, terrible port. Shame on you Rockstar.
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127 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
Let me preface my review with a brief story: When GTA IV came out in May for consoles, I purchased a brand new PS3 just to play it. To this day it's the only game I own for my PS3, which sits largely unused but as a testament to Rockstar's masterpiece. I'm not much of a console gamer, but Sony and Rockstar made well over $500 from me on the release of GTA IV alone... but after seeing this incredible mess pushed out I do not think I'll ever purchase another Rockstar product.

I suppose it's also important to say I have not actually purchased GTA IV for PC, although I do have firsthand experience with this travesty. A good friend of mine called me over the weekend and asked if I wouldn't mind taking a look at his computer, because according to him, his rig was running GTA IV very slow. When I arrived I could hardly believe this product was from the same company I gave my money to.

Everything you read here is accurate. SecuROM, with or without "teeth," is always to the detriment of honest consumers and here it is in full effect. But not satisfied with that, Rockstar apparently made it possible to play the game if and only if you agree to Byzantine Windows Live and Rockstar Social Club contracts. That is frankly unacceptable by any standard. And to top it off, on a computer with a Quad-Core, two 8800 Ultras in SLI, and 8 (yes, eight) GB of RAM the game runs worse than it ever did on my PS3. And it looks about the same. For a game developer, the words "code optimization" mean very little to Rockstar.

Perhaps the most heinous injustice about this whole shameful affair is the warning included that, summarized, warns "... most current hardware will not be able to run this game at high settings." Unbelievable. When did releasing games, especially games which ran acceptably well on inferior consoles, incomplete with a requirement to spend hundreds more dollars on future hardware become acceptable? To me that is the lowest form of terrible work ethic and is the main reason I feel I cannot buy another Rockstar product ever again. Is it not enough to completely ruin a product by making the consumer sign away his privacy just to play it? When did Crysis, whose infamy cannot even measure up to this abomination, become the golden standard for a successful game release? If the market into which you're releasing your product is "unprepared" for the "requirements" of said product, then there is something wrong with your product, not the market.

But here Rockstar really shot itself in the foot because the game has already been proven to run, with over 10 million witnesses, on inferior hardware. I told my friend to get his money back and now I'm thinking of selling my PS3. The most successful PC games have always been the ones that are not laden with malware and actually run on consumers' PCs. PC gaming is in dire straits if the biggest developers think people actually want to have to deal with insurmountable mountains of red tape just to play a video game. It's a video game- nothing less, but especially nothing more. Playing GTA IV on PC is worth far less to me than the actual time it would take to accomplish said goal.

I consider myself a Grand Theft Auto fan. I played GTA IV an unhealthy amount over the summer. But merely seeing this stillbirth of a title that Rockstar threw onto PC gamers makes me realize I can live without. Do not purchase this under any circumstances. It is far cheaper, in terms of money and life lost in frustration, to buy a new console to play GTA IV. If you want a new PC game, I recommend the excellent Left 4 Dead or any other title by Valve. I beseech you not to give money to companies who treat their costumers like this.

Rockstar, you have released an utterly pathetic excuse for a personal computer game. I hate to say this is another nail in the proverbial coffin for PC gaming, but even I feel a little dismayed that almost every new title for computers is burdened with SecuROM, doesn't run well on hefty hardware, or is some unholy combination of the two. In short, Rockstar has taken everything that is "killing" PC gaming and mixed it into one completely miserable experience. Caveat emptor.
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167 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
As a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series since it was a 2D top down perspective game for the PC nearly 11 years ago, I was very eager to try the latest episode as I'd heard great things about the console version.

I thought GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas were superb games that were funny and entertaining with a good mix of shoot'em up, adventure/quest and interactivity to suit most tastes. Those titles stayed on my hard drive for a long time and provided me with much entertainment.

I'm sorry to say that GTA IV lasted on my hard drive for about 6 hours. The vast majority of which was spent trying to get the thing to work.

I'm sorry I didn't come on Amazon and check out the negative reaction that this game has generated before shelling out my hard earned cash for this incredibly disappointing waste of time and money. The sheer number of 1 star reviews here would have warned me away from the game, like the plague.

Like many other reviewers here, I feel cheated out of my money by "Rockstar" games and I'm very angry about it. "Rockstar" have gone about their business in a very underhanded way. There should be clear stickers on this product declaring that various online accounts are needed to play the offline game. I and I'll wager the vast majority of users don't want a "Windows Live" account, nor do I particularly want "Rockstar Social Club" account either. The "Windows Live" account is mandatory, to enable the user to save their progress! Never in my many years of PC gaming have I come across such an idiotic and deal breaking device before. I'd love to have been at the meeting where that "feature" was suggested.

On top of that, the user is required to download and install Windows Service Pack 3 for XP users. Why? I don't know. I've no idea why any PC game would need a Windows Service Pack to simply run. Obviously this is at Microsoft's insistence, but it is yet another reason to leave the game on the shelf. There are some people who just don't need, or want Windows Service Pack 3 on their machines. I was one of them until I bought this game. Oh, by the way, "SecuROM" is included too! The "SecuROM" anti-piracy spyware, like "StarForce" before it, is something I just don't want on my machine.

What I and every other PC user would like to do is simply install the damn game and play it. A game like the GTA series is primarily designed for Offline users and that is the target audience, so why is "Rockstar" trying to push Online to the games detriment? GTA is, in essence, a story based adventure game for a single player.

After the irritation of trying to install the game, the real show-stopper makes its appearance. I'd heard that the game was resource hungry, but really, that's an understatement. My current PC exceeds the recommended requirements by some degree and I had a lot of difficulty getting the game to even accept my assigned display preferences, even in 1024 x 768! On top of that, there were missing textures from the start of the game. So much so that the game was unplayable. I've run recent releases which are heavy, like Fallout 3 etc, with no problems. But GTA IV is just ridiculous. After much messing about, included unloading NVidia drivers and installing new ones, then fooling about with the preferences again, I finally got the game to run. But it was far from the experience I was expecting. I could barely get it to run at 20 frames per sec, which would plummet to about 8 or so in a car. So, in short, it was pointless.

According to Gamespot, "Rockstar Games insists that the problems experienced by users are extremely low". I simply don't believe them. They are lying and a casual overview of the reviews on Amazon proves that very clearly. "Rockstar" have stated that they were trying to `future-proof' the game! But this is bunkum. Games should be designed to run on current hardware, not some rig that won't exist until 2014, when few pwople will be actually playing this title.

The simple fact is that "Rockstar" have simply rushed out a lazy port of the console version for the Christmas sales and they don't give a toss about the public doing the buying. It comes across as extremely badly optimized code and the end result is an unsatisfying whole, to what should have been this years masterpiece. There may be some hope to rescue this sinking ship with patches, but at the moment I am not holding my breath and GTA IV has been deleted from my Hard Drive. I've lost 6 hours of my life and 40 Euro and have had to put up with an extremely frustrating and ultimately miserable experience that just wasn't worth the hassle.

I've never said this about a producer before, but I can honestly say that I will never by another title from "RockStar Games" again, nor anything that has "Games for Windows" emblazoned across the box.
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313 of 375 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
I was taken aback when I found that I could not save ANY progress in single player mode without signing up for Windows Live. It says that these "services", such as Live and the Social Club, are only required for multiplayer mode. They lie on the box and again during the install.

It is only after you wade through their registration requests, the insistence upon registration requests, refusal to even load the game until you update windows live, you finally get to playing.

Then it tells you you cannot save any progress unless you sign-in to windows live. What a shaft job.

I called Take2games and they confirm that you cannot save unless you sign-in.

What a let down. I have uninstalled the game and am now working on a refund. lol.

I have played every GTA so far, mostly on PC. I have GTAIV on the PS3 and was looking forward to playing on the PC with great graphics.

I do not like a company who seems like a spyware vendor out to capture my machine.
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295 of 354 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
Buyers beware - The PC version is not a better choice than the console version, this time around. As a faithful GTA fan for years, I was eagerly awaiting this game - only to find out that it's a poorly coded console port that fails to deliver satisfactory performance even on a modern system. In addition, the product is crippled by bugs, requires two separate online accounts to play (even to play offline), and installs invasive, difficult to remove SecuROM monitoring software into your computer.

Rockstar, shame on you.

To anyone considering this game, I highly suggest you pick it up for the 360 or PS3 instead - and that is the very first time I've ever made that recommendation about any game before.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2009
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
Despite reading the negative reviews on amazon and elsewhere, I stubbornly bought the game thinking none of the issues would apply to me - Boy was I wrong!

Be prepared to undergo a whole evening of jumping through hoops just to get the game to work properly. Microsoft has obviously done some mischief here by FORCING people to upgrade their computers to Windows XP Service Pack 3 as well as FORCING people to use their lousy Windows Live system. If that's not worse, you are required to register and activate the game via the Rockstar Social Club and then link it to the Windows Live For Games network. Unfortunately, the links don't work at all. Their database system is screwed up.

Failure to properly register online with their broken systems prevents you from saving your game progress.

After giving up trying to properly register online, I try running the game. The game is still insistent that you update it to the latest patch (which is known to cause even more trouble).

So after about a whole hour of installing and updating, I finally get access to the game. Next thing I realize is that all the optimizations that hyped about in the game are down right lies. Despite having a a mid-high range system, the game performance is appalling. There is no multi-core optimization or SLI/CrossFire capabilities. Heck, the game even goes on to pester you about owning an XBOX 360 Gamepad for the PC to even play the game. The controls are terrible otherwise.

Come to find out, the game was never ready for release. Despite the problems, the game was rushed out too fast in order to make it for Christmas. The game is so bad, that even STEAM (who offer the downloadable version of GTA4) is offering refunds for it on a case-by-case basis.

I've decided to uninstall the game. All is not over though. My computer is much slower, full of clutter, and is a victim of the sleazy SecuRom/DRM malware that came with the game. I'm sticking the game on my shelf until something is done about it. I suggest you do the same and AVOID AVOID AVOID!! I can't emphasize this enough - AVOID PURCHASING THIS!
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71 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
This review will be short and sweet:
1) I read the reviews here on Amazon and felt folks were giving R* and GTA IV a bad rap
2) I bought the game anyway giving them a chance.
3) My rig is "current gen" which plays top games at highest settings smoothly.
4) After going through the nightmare install, I finally got into the game
5) Massive slowdowns, missing textures, game crashes.

Wouldn't recommend this game to anyone. Terrible, shameful and R* should be sued over a release like this.

...Unbelievable...
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70 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
Platform for Display: PC DownloadEdition: Standard
I posted the below as a reply to someone and thought many others were probably having the same issue so I reposted it here:

Hi,

I would consider changing my star rating after you try what I am about to suggest :-)

I had the same exact problem and was super upset because I have a top of the line gaming laptop (i7, gtx 460, 8 gigs ram, etc)

I found that the issue is with the 64 bit nature of windows 7. If you find the installation .exe file that you run to install the game and instead of double clicking it, you right click on the file and click on "troubleshoot compatibility", windows will then suggest running it in Windows XP SP2 mode or somtthing like that, and VIOALA! It will work. I could not find this simple fix anywhere on the internet and forgot that my win 7 was running in 64 bit mode so I figured that must be the problem (almost all programs are the older 32 bit versions and have to be run in compatibility mode). If you still have trouble, just try running it in compatibility mode for Windows XP. Hope this helps. The game is AWESOME by the way, I like it way better on my pc than on my xbox. amazing graphics. Good luck.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
Platform for Display: PCEdition: Standard
this is a crap release, never have I been so disappointed in a game. I played GTA IV on PS3, and have all the other GTA's on PC. My computer far exceeds the requirements, so I was stoked for the release. Should have waited and read the reviews! This SUCKS! You have to use the stupid Rockstar social club, Windows live and all that other BS, and you can't install on multiple machines even if using original disc, and most of all the graphics and playability are unusable. At the lowest levels it is buggy, freezes up, the controls are horrendous, and it looks like crap. NOTHING like the other Vice Cities. What the hell happened Rockstar? You need to hit the drawing board on this one and give me my damn money back!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Platform for Display: PCEdition: StandardVerified Purchase
Rockstar has released patches that fix pretty much all the problems 1 star reviewers had. This game is EXTREMELY CPU heavy, don't expect to run this game on a dual core. What absolutely makes this game a must buy is the massive modding community. A recently released graphics enhancing mod called "IcEnhancer" makes this game near photo realistic(Youtube it)! After playing this game with near photo realistic graphics, I cannot touch my PS3 anymore...or look at any console graphics for that matter.
The only problem I had with this game was the installation, I don't get why I had to create 2 accounts I was never going to use.

I also have this game for PS3, and the PC version is far superior to the PS3 and Xbox GTA4 version because:

*It is extremely hard to play with controller. Analogue sticks are a disgrace to gaming, controller controls are so bad, the game automatically LOCKS ONTO A TARGET when you aim. You might think this is easier compared to no aim assist on PC, but it is very hard and sometimes impossible(enemies ducking behind a car or wall,etc) to cycle through enemies with the auto lock, thus making it frustrating and easy to die. Moving is also clunky on console, GTA 4 has a weighted feel, like Killzone. It is hard to describe, but it feels like you're lagging when you're moving the camera of trying to move Niko with analogue sticks. Sixaxis controls on PS3 is also a gimmick. You can only fly helicopters, reload a weapon, and drive a motorcycle with sixaxis, and it is near impossible to fly/drive with it.

*The console version runs at 20-30 FPS and frequently drops to 10fps when you blow things up or look far away(no fps drop when cars explode in PC version surprisingly for me)
*The console version is very ugly and not full HD. GTA4 vanilla is very bland and ugly, even on max settings on PC(the only way to make it look good is through modding), so the console version is extremely ugly. There are jaggies everywhere, blurry shadows, blurry textures, texture/item pop in, low traffic, no night shadows, extremely low view distance, and more...

*no modding support on PS3/Xbox. Modding massively expands the replay value and overall enjoy of games. Do you want to be a cop like in real life? There's a mod for that: LCPD first response. There's basically a mod for anything because the community is so huge. You can even replace the stupid real world look alike cars in GTA4 with real Ferrari's and stuff.
MODDING IS NOT HACKING!!!

*

Minimum requirements in my opinion for smooth gameplay are:
Quad core(CPU heavy game)
4gb+ of ram(it hogs ram like crazy)
video card with over 1gb of vram(you need 2gb of vram to max out the game, it's stupid)
7200rpm hdd(you want the game to load as fast as you can because waiting 2-5minutes to boot up the game is no fun)

Here are the list of mods I use:
Icenhancer 1.3
ultimate textures v2
road textures by dkt70
real traffic spawn
and over 40 individual car mods and counting
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