Via IGN Link
January 23, 2008 - It's been a while since our last look at Grand Theft Auto IV. The last time we had seen the game, it was "on track" for its October 2007 release, but still clearly in need of some polishing. This time out however, a good six months since our last viewing, things were different. Gone were any framerate inconsistencies, and Rockstar was no longer hiding elements of the game from us, like the use of Niko's cell phone or dialog bits that needed to be muted from our delicate ears. Indeed, the extra time taken for development was very well spent, and GTA IV looks to be just about done...
Our demo began with a mission entitled "Search and Delete", a job suitably chosen to show off some of the game's new interesting options and mechanics. Brucie tasks Niko with the job of taking out an informant named Lyle Rivas. It's an easy job on paper, except that Lyle is in hiding and no one knows of his whereabouts. That is, except for the police. The men in blue would probably be reluctant to give up his location to a man wielding a gun store under his jacket, so Niko finds himself an empty police car and gets behind the wheel.
Before he starts the engine though, Niko fires up the in-car computer and searches through the police department's criminal database for information on Lyle. This is one of the new, and possibly very powerful, features in GTA IV. If you know someone's name, you can run it through the database and see what pops up. It'll be interesting to see what happens when you search for Niko Bellic over the course of the game...
In the case of Lyle Rivas, the computer comes back with his last known hideout. Heading to the always useful map, you can then drop a marker at his supposed location, or anywhere else in the world, for the in-car GPS system to use. Every vehicle in the game will be able to give you street-by-street directions, with nicer cars featuring voice commands. Should you never want to read, you can turn voiceovers on for every car. One cool touch is that different cars will have voice directions given in an appropriate accent, so European automobiles might have a sooth female voice with a British accent while US vehicles might have a robotic male voice.
When you get to Lyle's pad, he flees and heads off in a car. Chasing him down, we then got a look at the new in-vehicle shooting mechanic. You're no longer only able to shoot directly out of either side window. Instead, you now have a movable reticule that will allow you to pinpoint anywhere around you, including straight in front of you.
The cops will spare no expense for your disposal.
During the chase, we also got a look at the new chase cam. Tapping a face button will leave the camera situated behind your car, but will focus the camera's direction on your target, allowing you to see where it turns much more easily. It looks to have been implemented rather nicely, acting more cinematic and natural than jerky and pinpointed.
When Lyle's car was finally spun and taken out of commission, Niko leapt from his ride and the game's use of Natural Motion's AI-based physics took over. Instead of seeing Niko simply roll a couple times in a pre-canned animation and stand up like in past GTA games, he instead flips feet over shoulders and tumbles very realistically down the side of the road. It's a brutal exit, one that makes his place and actions in the world seem all that more realistic. A second implementation of Natural Motion's tech was also seen here, as Niko raised his hands to cover his head as an oncoming car screeched to a halt just in front of him as he was climbing to his knees.
(continued in next post)[Edited by insomniac, 1/23/2008 9:32:23 PM]