The combat did need a massive overhaul, and I feel the developers have pretty much nailed it. Lock-on, as I?ve previously mentioned, is still in the game, but it does work slightly differently: by default you lock on to a target?s torso, from here you can begin to pummel them with your weapon of choice, or you can push up on your right thumbstick to lock onto their head. Use of this is not as simple as it sounds, timing and deciding when to switch is dependent on situation, weapon, and distance.
When in a car and blasting out of the window your character has just smashed, the only option is free-aim. It is possible to make some great shots, though. Habitually I aimed for the tyres of enemy vehicles, whilst friends sprayed passenger doors and side windows with a torrent of Uzi ammunition.
Having already established that the important business of shooting each other is pretty much spot on, or in my opinion has been crafted and carved into what will
make for a vastly positive reaction from fans, it?s time to address the matter of realism.
Barring the ?OMG PS3 or 360?? debacle, which will be covered later, realism is essentially the cause célèbre of GTA IV
. Fans - or specifically me ? are a little worried about what this meant for the series and its direction. GTA
has always been about the contrast in the attempt to create a dark, sinister, living, breathing world with all the stupid stuff you get to do in it. Mad jumps in cars, surviving more bullets than is plausible, causing havoc with cops only to fool them with a change of colour to your car (despite them seeing you enter the body shop)... you get the picture.
So, has this been replaced with 'Realism'?
Well, the cops still get fooled by the spray job, but what about rest? The extent of realism would certainly be affected by the following factors, all of which are covered to a certain degree:
- Character realism
- Police AI
- Civilian AI
- General environment
I?m pretty sure everyone who saw the latest trailer "Good lord, what are you doing?" AKA "Everyone's a rat" was knocked back by that ?shot down the stairs? moment. I was, and the vast majority of gaming communities I frequent had pretty much the same reaction. So ? does that actually happen; is this really what the RAGE engine is capable of?
Well, unfortunately, I can?t say for sure. I was restricted in how characters reacted to being shot by my gaming skills and the situations I found myself and the enemy in. I can, however, say that what I did see was very impressive. Upon dying there isn?t any set animation, you can be shot over edges, over cars, into cars, into the road; and I did experience how our characters can bounce off and collide with practically everything in the gaming world. But, alas, not a true enough picture as I had hoped.
There was one golden moment, though. I?d decided to ditch my burning car at high speeds, diving out of the driver seat and into the open road to what was hopefully safety, only the result was pretty much this.