Thursday, 30 October 2008

GTA IV PC Requirements & Review

Rockstar Games finally released the official PC requirements. Even though these specifications aren’t surprising for game like this, many PC owners will still be disappointed with such high requirements and the fact that their “Iron Beast” wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Unfortunately it was also confirmed that the PC release date of Grand Theft Auto IV has been pushed back to the 2nd of December.
Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 / XP - Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz, AMD Athlon X2 64 2.4Ghz
Memory: 1.5GB, 16GB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card: 256MB NVIDIA 7900 / 256MB ATI X1900

Recommended System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 / XP - Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, AMD Phenom X3 2.1Ghz
Memory: 2 GB (Windows XP) 2.5 GB (Windows Vista)
18 GB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card: 512MB NVIDIA 8600 / 512MB ATI 3870
People at IGN had a chance to test GTA IV for PC and see the difference with their own eyes. You can read their thought on the game below.
Have you played Grand Theft Auto IV yet? No? Well, on December 2nd the game's coming out on PC with some extra features and enhanced graphics, something we got to check out at a recent event in San Francisco. We didn't get the opportunity to actually install the game on our own computers; Rockstar had it set up on their own rig, so we can't say much about performance, other than what we saw and played at the demo.

According to Rob Nelson, producer at Rockstar Toronto, the PC version has been working on GTA IV PC since January with a team of around 50 members. He gave us some perspective as to why the PC version is coming out later than with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. "The earlier PC versions of Grand Theft Auto (since III) have always been put into production as soon as the console versions were complete; in this case, we've been working in concert with the console teams, and even a little before. The reason we're releasing six months later is due to the fact that we are building this as a pc game from the ground up and adding additional features to an already massive experience."

So what's been added since? There'll be custom match filtering for multiplayer games, though it sounds like there might be something else in the works. "At this time, all we're talking about is the custom match filtering," said Nelson. "You'll be able to create a multiplayer match with any number of specifications, and others can search for something that is just right." Players also get a built-in video editor to splice together replays, more control options and, as you might expect, better graphics.

But what about the downloadable content on the way for the Xbox 360 version? "The downloadable content is exclusive to the Xbox 360," said Nelson.

As far as content goes like missions and storyline, nothing's really changed with the single-player for the PC version. You'll still get the same kind of open-ended experience playing as protagonist Niko Bellic as, fresh of the boat, he prowls the streets of Liberty City, instigating chaos, committing crimes, and stumbling his way up from the metropolis's seedy underbelly. With the PC version, you naturally get a different input, the mouse and keyboard. If you want, though, it's entirely possible to play through with a gamepad. For our demo, an Xbox 360 controller was hooked up, and it along with the mouse and keyboard were active at the same time, meaning we didn't have to go into a control menu to swap between which input devices were active. This way, you can use the mouse and keyboard for aiming and the controller for driving, or whatever you prefer.

We can say that aiming, as might be expected, is far easier in the PC version. Making precision shots while barreling through crowded streets to blow out tires and the brains of drivers was far more practical, and should hopefully make for some more entertaining high-speed pursuits as you're more easily able to pull off desired actions. There's also a slider in the PC version to dramatically increase traffic density, which can lead to traffic jams of thirty or so cars. If you've got some explosives on you, like for instance a rocket launcher, this can lead to some serious fireworks that should be sure to please those gamers that play GTA games more for the random cop chases than the storyline and missions.

Even with all the graphics options cranked and the resolution set at a ridiculous 2560 x 1600 the game still ran well as we sped through the city and blew up as many things as possible. We checked out the specs on the rig and it turns out there was some pretty powerful hardware in there: a Core 2 Extreme X9650 CPU, GeForce GTX 280 graphics card, and 3 GB of RAM. At this setting, the game definitely looked better than the console versions, particularly with regards to the extended draw distance and less pop-up, though that shouldn't be all that surprising.

The one major difference with the PC version is the addition of a replay editor. At any time during play offline or on you're able to hit a key, F2 as default, to record a 30 to 60 second clip of gameplay. The length is determined by what's going on onscreen. You can hit F2 as many times as you want, and the game will record overlapping clips, so no worries about interruption. There's no limit on how many clips you can record, just basically as many as you've got room for on your hard drive. Once you think you've captured something you like, you can pop out to the replay editor to start customizing your clips.

The seems like a pretty useful tool, as it lets you do things like cut up and splice together different bits of clips. So if you've got five different explosions and want to string them together into a montage, you just load up each clip, set ins and out and, through a seemingly easy to use interface, string them together. For each clip you can also set a whole range of visual filters and camera angles to get the best view of the action. This way you can show shootings from the point of view of the victim, overlay a green-tinted or sepia toned filter, maybe adjust the audio levels, and add in some custom text for an added effect. Like, when the cop car explodes, you can have text pop up with some creative witticism such as "Look, this cop car is exploding."

Better draw distances, less pop-in.In addition to setting your own camera angles, it's also possible to have the camera perform movements while a scene plays out. If you want the view to orbit around Niko Bad Boys II-style while he's unloading clips or set the camera to a shaky handheld setting while he's running and gunning, that's entirely within your power. Then you can slap on a song from the soundtrack for some music accompaniment, touch up whatever else you feel is necessary, and move on to exporting the final file in 640x480, 720p, and 1080p sizes to the Rockstar Social Club where others can take a look at your creation.

Overall it seems like an easy to use but powerful editor, and something that should definitely be pretty nice for players who want to capture those chance moments in the game that seem like they'll never happen again. You'll just have to remember to hit F2.

For multiplayer, the game uses Games for Windows -- Live, the integration of which Nelson was willing to elaborate on. "Achievements for single-player, friends lists, voice communication, multiplayer anti-cheating technology, and distributed worldwide servers for robust online play... you will have the exact same achievements available from the single-player and multiplayer on the consoles."

Source: ign.com

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