March 31, 2008 - I would like to start off by saying Rockstar better hit their adjusted April 29th release date for GTA IV. Every rabid GTA fan out there has been eagerly awaiting any new information and/or videos from Rockstar's upcoming next-generation juggernaut since it got pushed back from its October release date last year. Fortunately, Rockstar has released a new trailer for GTA IV that is so big it apparently needed two titles. Entitled "Good Lord, What Are You Doing" AKA "Everyone's a Rat," this latest trailer gives fans another glimpse of what to expect come April 29th, when GTA IV is finally released.
While the first few trailers mostly focused on showing the game's environments, characters, and pieces of some of the cutscenes, this newest one shows quite a bit of action that will potentially take place during actual play. Before the trailer starts, the game's rating and descriptors appear on the screen. While it was pretty obvious that this game would come in under the M rating, I was still holding out hope that Rockstar would try to push the AO envelope. The trailer then opens with some excellent moody chant-filled music as a helicopter flies above the city and under a thunderstorm. Random flashes of lightning can be seen in the clouds, giving hints of just how well-done the weather effects are going to be in GTA IV. Let us hope that perhaps there will be some snow in Liberty City this time around as well.
Character models also look marginally better in this trailer. All the characters seem to have more tiny details than in the previous trailers. For example, there is a policeman in a fairly ugly shirt with tattoos covering his arms. Niko looks just like he did in the previous trailers, although if you pause the video towards the end, you will catch a picture of Niko posing with a gun in his hands on a rooftop while wearing a nice suit. While we have come to expect the ability to change the main character's clothing in a GTA game, I believe this is the first time it has actually been shown in GTA IV.
There were some pretty good environmental effects shown in this most recent trailer as well. In one scene, the previously mentioned helicopter releases its occupants into a firefight. While these characters are running into position, you can see stray shots barely missing them and causing chips of asphalt to fly from the road where the bullets actually contact. There is another scene later in the video of a shootout in the subway that also shows off this effect. Another scene in the trailer shows a newsstand blowing up in an eruption of flames and flying newspapers. These are little touches but will really help to make the world seem a lot more realistic when you are playing.
Anyone who has been following the news about this title may already know about the inclusion of a slow motion death camera for GTA IV, but it is actually shown in this trailer. It is very brief, but there is a scene where Niko is standing very close to a car. The car explodes, sending Niko flying like a ragdoll in slow motion. This effect really helps to accentuate the impressive lighting from the explosion, both at the point of explosion and how it shines on Niko's airborne flailing lifeless body. This seems like it will be a pretty sweet addition, perhaps taking some of the sting out of having to restart a failed mission.
The game's slightly changed driving mechanics are also highlighted in this trailer. In one scene, Niko is in a car and trying to escape a fairly large number of police vehicles. He drives in reverse for a short period of time and then spins the car in a complete 180 and drives off in the other direction. Much has already been made about how the vehicles will handle differently than in past GTAs, but the ability to execute a maneuver like this will certainly come in handy on many missions.
There is definitely a lot to see in this new trailer that can't be summed up but needs to be seen. This is perhaps the best trailer that has been released for GTA IV yet and will undoubtedly be studied by many fans who just want it to be the end of April already. GTA IV continues to look like the game that we all expect it to be, and should not disappoint anyone when we actually get a chance to take our own spin around Liberty City. Until then, we will just have to keep watching these trailers over and over again to help quite our hunger for this game until April 29th finally rolls around.
CCC Freelance Writer