You see, itís quite nice when you get a chance to do something that makes you feel better than any of your friends. Yes, Iím like that, and yes, Iím a bit of a fanny for it Ė but how bloody good would you - a fan of games, a lover of the industry and a slave to the series that is Grand Theft Auto
- feel if you got invited along to an intimate session of GTA IV
multi. So Iíll get straight into salacious estimations of GTA IV
Visually, itís brilliant. Itís not the best thing to grace our screens Ďthis gení, itís not the most polished, but what has been achieved is a beautiful formula of grit, grime, city life and crime engulfed in sun, or fog, or rain, or bullets, or car debris, or anything, something and everything. And I know Iím already sounding slightly pretentious, but Iím trying to portray what I felt when first thrown into Liberty City. Pedestrians and traffic, trash cans and stores, statues and skyscrapers. All of this I probably shouldnít be worrying about, or paying so much attention to when what Iím meant to be discussing here is the multi-player aspect, but all of this aids in the promise of a fantastic, sandbox-style multi-player heaven.
After giving myself a chance to observe and take in as much as I could, I began to work on the controls. At first I was struggling, particularly with free-aim, which - as some may have already read - is achieved by half
holding in (what a horrible way to explain that, but thatís how it was presented to me, and thatís how you shall have it) the left trigger.
The cover system, I fast discovered, is incredibly important. When taking front-on heavy fire early, I realised its effectiveness as I charged the streets, slammed hard on the right bumper and slid almost sideways on my arse against the pavement and up against a trash compartment (you know, the big Ďskippyí things).
From here I noticed a nearby burnt-out car. With suppressing fire still clanging off the seemingly strong metal of the dustbin protecting me, I pushed the right bumper again whilst looking at the demolished car Ė my character hopped out from the dustbin and behind the vehicular remnants.
From here I was in a position to take some better shots and it wasnít long before my comrades had joined me, covering and firing, in what felt like your archetypal gangland shooting - Gang A on the north side of the street, Gang B on the south side - and a whole load of devastation in the middle.
I was trying my best to use the free aim, but was still having difficulties, so I continued with lock-on and didnít let it detract from the fantastic initial experience, which spawned mad possibilities in my head of future XBL/PSN fun.
If Iíve done a good enough job of explaining in that short description my first Deathmatch and general bash at the multi-player, you can begin to feel what the game-play is like, and what Rockstar have aspired to achieve.