I've purchased the PC version of "GTA IV" on Steam at the holiday price action. This means, I had to pay around 8€ for that game, while you still have to pay around 40€ in different kind of shops. Well, it helped me to keep my temper down - a lot. Here's why.
First, GTA IV is really a great game. Graphics, story telling, looks, you name it, it got it. The high ranking ratings and well received critics don't come from nowhere. But the stuff surrounding the game just really sucks golfballs through a garden hose. The game, even one year after its launch on the PC platform, is full of annoyances.
Which kind of annoyances, you might ask? Well, here they are:
- The sheer amount of computing power under your desk you need to play it nicely. Better have a decent quad core, at least, and a very good graphics card, 512 MB of memory is the minimum, better yet 1 GB, if you want to play it on the highest detail level. This is something that's going to wane down in the future when more and more potent computers are becoming wide spread.
- One word: Microsoft. It just plain sucks. What the game has to do with Microsoft, you might ask? Well...
- You are unable to make any saves of the gaming progress at all, when you are not signing up for Microsoft Live. What the bloody fucking hell have the developers thought about that? I don't need no stinking membership in there, when I want to save a game, it should happen without that kind of stuff and shit, period! And believe me, since you are going to play it for a long time, membership is really a crucial need for you. This just plain rotten stinks!
- Support for 3rd party Controllers, namely gamepads. The first version of the game, released in 2008, only supported one type of gamepads, namely the ones from Microsoft for the Xbox 360. Why in the name of bloody hell should I buy a gamedpad for around 50$, just because the developers are forcing me to do that? Games on Windows have always been open for a broad range of hardware, there are enough cheaper and almost as good controllers around for PCs, anyway, and I am not going to buy a stinking Microsoft controller just because the developers have made the game that way. With later patches they introduced a somewhat broader support for other controllers, but still the support is severly lacking and leaves much in the dust.
I repeat: this has just been a decision to make people go to Microsoft and buy their stuff. Hell, I for sure really dislike that kind of attitude!
- DRM. You need to activate the game once over the internet. If you bought the DVD-Version, you are only able to launch it if DVD #1 is in your dvd drive. You for sure cannot start the game without always first launching up that application named "Rockstar Social Games Club", because it is part of the DRM. There is no way to get rid of it. You can start the game with that application, but when you are not a member of that club you are always getting reminded in a very annoying dialog box that you are unable to publish your acchievements on that club website as long as you are not signing up there. Hell, why should I want to do that? This is just another plain and annoying part of the customer being treated like a child and not a grownup at all. Bummer.
So, since I bought that game on budget, I am content with most of that stuff, though. But, if I would have bought it in a shop, I would have returned it, because of all that annoyances. They suck great lengths! Don't get me wrong, though: the game itself is great, but all that stuff makes it really an annoying pain in the ass. No customer likes to be treated as a child as much as this game did and still sometime does!