Tuesday, 25 November 2008

1UP Multiplayer Preview

The closer we get to the PC release, the more new information revealed. People at 1UP had a chance to play multiplayer on a PC version and reflect on it. They also confirmed a lot of rumors about the gameplay, so many of you will be pleased.
What happens when you throw 32 thugs into the same neighborhood? We find out ourselves during a PC multiplayer session.

If you've ever wondered what might happen if you dropped nearly three dozen people into a neighborhood in New York, gave them automatic weapons and vehicles, and left them to fend for themselves, well, Grand Theft Auto 4's multiplayer might prove to be a decent simulation. While the upcoming PC version sports the usual array of improvements (snazzy resolutions like 2560x1600, general visual polish, a new radio channel called Independence FM that lets players listen to their own music, and a new video editor), multiplayer's getting a significant improvement: 32-player support. Anthony Gallegos and Thierry "Scooter" Nguyen got to jump right into a multiplayer session with personnel from Rockstar Games' various studios (fun fact: Rockstar Lincoln is not located in Lincoln, Nebraska, but in Lincoln, England) to experience some 32-player hijinks. Here's what they had to say on the subject of multiplayer vehicular homicide.

Scooter: Turning a 16-player game into a 32-player one sounds like a dorky bullet point for the back of the box, but in the case of GTA4 multiplayer, it officially amps up a multiplayer session from "crazy" to "f***ing nuts" on the Scooter Intensity Dial. No matter which of the numerous modes you play (we checked out two of the 15 modes), the addition of more players -- plus the new keyboard/mouse controls and the accuracy they grant -- results in some interesting matches. I can say one thing for sure: Padawan Anthony is damn good with the mere pistol due to his superior keyboard/mouse skills.

Anthony: It's true -- a keyboard and mouse definitely makes the pistol a viable weapon. It wasn't terrible in the console version, but it works fantastically for headshots if you have a steady mouse hand. But even an awesome mouse hand doesn't mean that you're going to wipe the floor with your opponents, since there's little that mouse hand's going to do when 12 cars are barreling down the street at you while four thugs are popping shots off at your head. Scooter's right: It's accurately described as "f***ing nuts" most of the time. Whether it's a free-for-all match or a mode with four teams of eight, you can be pretty sure that something's always going down close to you.

Scooter: Yeah, our first 32-player match was in an 8v8v8v8 Team Deathmatch session in the Bohan borough (GTA-speak for "the Bronx"). Even before jumping in, we noticed that the developers added a custom match browser, where you can search for an online session that fulfills specific criteria (gameplay mode, number of players, and so forth). It's a small but welcome touch, considering how the console versions pretty much just put you in a random online match. Like in the console versions, you can tweak your character's appearance a bit; Anthony rolled with a team that coordinated their outfits to be the same color while I had a sort of "what if Santa Claus was younger and a registered sex offender" look. The matches were pretty damn straightforward: You spawn in, run (or drive) around for a weapon or two, and just shoot the guys sporting other colors. Kills earn money, and the team with the most cash wins. Despite being constantly lost, a crazy firefight was always nearby due to the sheer number of players. Heck, even though I was crouching to up my accuracy, my assault rifle wasn't enough when Anthony rolled up with his whole crew?.

Anthony: It's true -- more so than when I played on console, I felt the need to run around with a posse. Being accurate is good, but having a group spray a wave of bullets is even better! And thanks to the spawning system that keeps placing you near your surviving teammates, I generally found that I was never far from friends or from the action -- despite playing in a large chunk of the city.
And while my teammates coordinated their outfits, I certainly never felt like it was a necessity. Between the minimap and the tags above players' heads, I never had trouble sorting out who deserved a bullet in the brain; in fact, besides the time when we played Team Deathmatch, this was never even a thought that crossed my mind, as everyone was a target in most of the other modes. I don't know about you, but when we tried out the GTA Race mode, the last thing I was concerned with was driving the proper course on the track.

Scooter: Oh, yeah, you want to talk craziness -- how about GTA Race mode? What's hilarious about GTA Race mode is how quickly it devolves into zany free-for-alls. It's actually kind of cool to be in a real, legit vehicle race with 31 (GTA Race also has a 32-player limit) other dudes, but cramming 32 people on a stretch of highway usually turns even a well-intentioned race into a bunch of guys hopping in and out of cars while trying to cap each other. Actually, since everyone starts out in a similar car, GTA Race mode ends up playing a bit better than Team Deathmatch for me. While it took me forever to find a car in Team Deathmatch, in GTA Race, because people kept on ditching their rides in an effort to take out other players, you have a lot of abandoned cars to choose from. Also, since each player in GTA Race respawns in a Faggio (the GTA name for Vespa scooters), you can see which spot is a warzone due to how many discarded Faggios litter the street.

Anthony: Yeah, I appreciated the craziness of GTA Race mode, but I worry that some people online will take it too seriously and end it within a few moments of when it starts. I guess, if nothing else, people who love to torment others can take pleasure in trying to derail those players from achieving a swift victory. And I completely agree with you that GTA Race mode is a great, as it not only still tracks your kills, but it also constantly gives people new vehicles when they respawn. Fighting on foot is fun and all, but there's something to be said about dropping grenades off the back off a scooter. GTA4 PC's multiplayer proved to me that, as far as the amount of players in a match, more truly can be better.

Source: 1up.com

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