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Customer Review

170 of 202 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Grand Theft PC, December 27, 2008
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV (Video Game)
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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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 6, 2011, 1:30:32 PM PDT
Rick Wainio says:
They're not lying about most people NOT having issues. The truth is, this game probably has a few more problems with some people then, let's say, Doom 3. So naturally, the ones who have problems are going to rant and rave about them. Sorry man, looks like you're one of the unlucky few who have problems with the download :-(

Posted on Oct 15, 2011, 9:26:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2011, 9:28:00 PM PDT
Vince says:
I can totally relate to you. I too am a die hard single player, I do like the idea of having a multi-player on it but they should put that in the options menu. I don't like the idea of being charged when using it. If using skype is free then so too should be for games like this. Normally most single player games are more on quality than quantity.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011, 5:31:09 PM PST
Kevin A. says:
Appreciate the information provided in this review especially securerom as well as the insane requirement for online accounts to play a single player game you've bought.

I periodically look back several years to games I missed or just didn't get around to playing for whatever reason and am both saddened that the PC version is not just done poorly but loaded with crap I have no interest in dealing with. I too enjoyed playing vice city and was looking forward to other games in that same world, guess I'll just have to look at the earlier versions.

Posted on Jan 14, 2012, 4:53:10 AM PST
and i ALMOST picked this up yesterday while at target picking out floor mats with the wife. gag haha. anyrate, gta 4 pc was $20. i hadnt played grand theft in a number of years so i held off to read reviews on it. though i am sure a number of these reviews are geared toward problems perhaps mostly inherent in the download version, the sheer number of one-star reviews warms me that holding off on the purchase was a good idea. thanks for your thoughts.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012, 1:49:48 PM PST
Amazon Buyer says:
Should of listened to your review the PS3 and XBox version are great.The pc version no matter what I did would not work properly. My pc exceeds the recommended requirements. I ran in Windows Xp Service Pack 2 compatability mode and also installed patches.Never again , I am done with Rock Star games for good

Posted on Feb 23, 2012, 7:40:32 PM PST
Scott says:
PC is in this endless battle of piracy vs legitimacy. Unfortunately, RockStar and Windows Live did a bad job of implementing these security features and it hurt the PC buyers even more. Though I will add that they probably did lower some of the piracy going on, but with single player mods and online being so frustrating, piracy has increased.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2012, 7:27:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2012, 7:27:53 PM PST
Redeemer says:
Hopefully, one of the Rockstar Games' studios will have Grand Theft Auto V with Steamworks like how 2K Czech did on Mafia II. This way, it'll be easier for Steam players not to sign in through Microsoft's service, but being in Steam's service already.

Posted on Sep 25, 2012, 12:32:25 PM PDT
J. Blake says:
Um, I know this isn't straightforward in the installation instructions of this (and other games), but you can create an OFFLINE Windows Live account. You don't have to really go online.

Posted on Oct 14, 2012, 7:29:37 AM PDT
Ben says:
Although it has issues, and I completely agree with you on these points, once you get it running it is a quite amazing game.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012, 4:52:56 AM PDT
I needed 5 (!) installation due to the fact only one patch (and not the most recent!) provided a build of the game that actually could be played. never played more than a few hours because it didn't work on my old laptop, and certainly not going through the installation torture again. total waste of 30 €! never buying another rockstar game again!
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

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