GTA IV – It’s Here

Some initial random thoughts from my first 30 mins on single player…and first three hours on multiplayer. If you want it summed up in one word – unmissable.

  • Very cinematic intro – don’t skip it!
  • Rich environment, great graphics. Lot’s happening around you that you need to spend time looking at and taking in. So big. So much to see. Massive scale.
  • Cars are varied and handle superbly. Different and takes time to get used to and you need to brake. Loving the wheelspin’s and momentum of vehicles.
  • Not done enough single player to say any more. Same old GTA fare by the looks of it which isn’t a bad thing!
  • Multiplayer takes a bit of getting used to. it probably helps to have done some offline missions first and get used to targeting, cover system, changing weapons. I didn’t and i suffered!!
  • Multiplayer offers the whole of Liberty City if you want it. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and a few other modes that I didn’t have time to try. Cops and Crooks is a great game mode though. So much fun! So many ways to kill/die. It can feel overwhelming though.
  • Thankfully there’s an option to respawn nearby where you died. Keeps you close to the action – anything else could lead to boredom crossing the map to get to enemy team.
  • Racing modes are fun. Losing car after death though and getting a scooter can be frustrating but superb for your frineds.
  • Rockets on a small map is frantic. Rockets look superb!
  • No mute. Loud Americans! XBox Live should allow you to default voice communications by region/countries. Mute all yanks!
  • Helicopters! A great way to travel.
  • In just one night so many memorable moments. First time I used the sniper to stop a car was superb. Seeing and driving cars with no tyres. Cheesy in the fire engine. Me not being able to kill anyone. Me not being able to drive. Class
  • It’s a sandbox game so don’t expect the honed multi-player of Halo, CoD, Forza etc. it really is up to you how you want to play.
  • Soundtrack ticking boxes so far. Heard Queens One Vision and some Phil Collins tonight.

So. Some initial thoughts mostly all positive. One also closing note. Glad I picked up 360 version over PS3. Some reviews have mentioned better graphics on the PS3 but this comparison between both shows me that any difference is hard to spot. It’s also been found today that the res of the PS3 version is 640p against the 360’s 720p, that the PS3 multiplayer service has been down and had connection issues today and also that the PS3 version is freezing. Solution – delete your game save and also the game install. Nasty. Xbox Live (for me anyway) performed without a hitch tonight. Great to login and see 15 friends all playing the same game. Can’t wait to really get into the game. More thoughts probably next week on how it plays after a few days.


Shamelessly stolen from elsewhere but copied below for, well, Roberts benefit mostly (I should really be sending an e-mail at this point but others might find it interesting). GTA IV launches two weeks tomorrow in the UK and the first reviews are starting to surface. Below are links to a scanned copy of this months OXN review.

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Two weeks feels a long time away. I can’t wait to play this online.


Just watched the trailer. Wow. Available at:

Graphics looking very detailed (Flickr set here), much more impressive than I expected. This really does look like a city (New York?) thats alive. Good to see the Rockstar humour is still present – check out some of the billboards. The trailer music reminded me of Matrix. No gameplay details but still…roll on October 16th.


Rockstar presents Table Tennis

Just out on the 360 this game came from nowhere and attracted some interesting press. Most couldn’t believe that the developers behind Grand Theft Auto had picked of all sports Table Tennis to be there next game. It was also pretty unique in that it focussed mostly on online play with very little for the solo player. To be honest it was picking up fairly average press. Now that it’s released it’s quickly become one of my favourite games for the 360 so far.

Table Tennis

It focusses clearly on the game of Table Tennis so has none of the fluff that other sports games have – character creation, career modes, upgradable characters. There are characters that you can unlock playing the off-line tournaments but that is about it. The controls are simple yet offer tremendous depth during both off and online play. This can be summed up with the length of the rallies – my highest so far is around 80 strokes. Each point can take a long time to win and it captures the feel of Table Tennis – it’s hard to tell when you’ve got your opponent beat especially with the different spins that can be applied to the ball. Online play is excellent and there is very little lag. Playing Graham online provided one of the very few ‘in the room’ experiences we’ve had – there was nothing to suggest we weren’t playing on the same machine. The little lag I have seen was due to my opponent having an average connection.

Graphics are good but limited in that there is very little to see. Sound – great for what there is but again there’s not a lot there. Presentation – I think it’s slick and it has the usual Rockstar stat collecting options so you can see fastest shot, length of time played etc just like in GTA.

It’s the ease in which you can pick up the game and just start playing – no need for endless character face building options, career setup’s, money buying/training which can get pretty tiresome. It’s also very fast and requires a lot of concentration – if you like Geometry Wars you’ll love this. All at a bargain £25 if you order online means it’s a must buy for 360 owners. The official website is great too.

GTA Liberty City Stories – Custom Soundtracks

Picked up GTA:Liberty City Stories for the PSP today. Great game – if you liked any of the other GTA games you’ll love this. One warning – it gets of to a very slow start but then the missions start to pick up. Another warning – the soundtracks included in the game are mince which is something of a letdown as the GTA games have become renowned for their use of music.

However Rockstar have included a custom soundtrack feature which allows you to play your own tracks from the PSP’s memory disk. Way! The problem is this feature won’t play mp3’s from the memory stick – you need to use Rockstar’s software (download from IGN) to convert music to their format and transfer that to the PSP. An added twist is that the utility will not covert mp3’s to their own format – only music ripped from a bought music CD using their utility can be used. Boo! There is another way…

Codemasters also had a custom soundtrack feature for their Toca game on the PSP. They also used a utility to convert music to a PSP format – the difference is that their utility allowed you to convert mp3’s from your hard disk as well as music CD’s. Therefore:

1) Download the Codemasters utility –

2) Make sure you have a game save for GTA on your PSP memory disk

3) Install the Codemasters utility on your PC

4) Connect the PSP to your PC in USB mode.

5) Goto the folder PSP and then SAVEDATA – look for the name of your GTA gamesave folder. For me it was ULES00151S0

6) Now you need to create a new folder in SAVEDATA that holds the custom soundtracks. Using the name of the game save folder remove the final S0 and add CUSTOMTRACKS – create a folder using this name. So for me my GTA music folder is called ULES00151CUSTOMTRACKS. Note that is a new folder – NOT the game folder renamed. For Vice City name the folder ULES00502CUSTOMTRACKS.

7) Fire up the Codemasters utility on the PC, select mp3’s from the hard disk or a music CD, select the custom tracks folder created above and convert your music.

8) Once converted, goto the custom tracks folder and rename all the files from *.toc to *.gta

9) Fire up GTA, select custom soundtrack in audio options and enjoy your own music.

It’s ironic that Rockstar, a company who have made money out of glamorizing drug trafficing, prostitution, stabbing, shooting, car theft, killing of innocents and now gang violence, have taken the moral high ground and limited their software to bought music only. You really have got to laugh.