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GTA 4 PC: Buggy as fuck?


When it comes to batshit crazy conspiracy theories I’m a not so modest master. This is especially true in the PC gaming world. I mean, how can you not see an ulterior motive in half the seemingly random crap done by some games publishers.

They’ve let us know tangentially, they’ve said it straight to our faces. Piracy is the thing that has all but killed the platform many of us grew up with, that many of us still see as the superior option in this console age.

We’ve gotten through the anger, we’ve dealt with the many necessary steps needed to ensure we can still game on our PC, we’ve had a few victories but not many in this war on inconvenient DRM. but now I worry things are getting nefariously worse.

Day one patching kind of crept up on gamers. The notion that a developer could drop and incomplete game to manufacturing and then get it up to scratch with a release day patch is by no means a new one, yet we are seeing more and more completely nonsensical bugs in game releases at the moment. Requiring a patch to make a game playable on day one, especially via a secure download service, is a great way to delay the inevitable loss of sales to piracy. But even my warped mind can only take the conspiracy so far.

Grand Theft Auto IV for PC has been deemed technically unplayable by a large number of gamers. We aren’t talking little glitches here either, we are talking a level of clusterfuck not usually seen in the often messy world of PC gaming.

To just cherry-pick a few of the reports from users floating about the web the issues with GTA IV on PC begin long before the actual game loads. Not only do you have to install the game, you need Games For Windows Live and the Rockstar Social Club application. That is without extra complications being seen in digitally downloaded version.

Voodoo Extreme provides the best summation I’ve found of the mess. It turns out the version of Games For Windows Live is weeks out of date. The inbuilt video editing system in the game needs Flash 9 not the newer Flash 10, Rockstar Social Club sets itself to run at startup, Graphics hardware detection is out of whack. The list is extensive.

Now we could expect this kind of unwieldy mess from an afterthought port like Bully, but for heavens sake, this is Grand Theft Auto – one of the few console games that is actually good on PC, or at least is supposed to be. No massive title should need lists of workarounds so people can actually use the features that were most hyped about the game.

Normally my paranoia would ascribe such game breaking bugs to a secret ‘anti piracy through required patching’ cabal. But the issues are so relatively wide ranging that it’s unlikely. Maybe Rockstar just wants to piss PC users off so much that they give up and buy a console. For there is no way that the litany of errors would encourage anyone to play PC games.

We really expected more from you RockstarGrand Theft Auto was one console experience we PC types loved. Now it looks like we’ll have to wait weeks before we even know if the game can be played without spending hours altering our PC’s software environment. That is just not on.

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