The PC game introduces a new and definitive aspect to the playground gaming genre; player videos. Press the F2 (or Back on an Xbox 360 controller for Windows) at any time during gameplay and the last 30 to 40 seconds of gameplay will automatically save into your piggy bank.
Then booting up the video editor you can cut and tweak the footage using a video timeline, various filters, camera angles and special effects - all very similar to the simple yet incredibly capable system used in Lionhead's The Movies.
Gameplay of Niko walking down a street gunning down cops for example, can be viewed from all angles via a free-flying camera, switched into slow motion and then chopped up in to several scenes. You could attach the camera to one of the cops getting nailed, or cleverly free-cam-follow a rocket as it exits your RPG and impacts a chopper.
We wouldn't be surprised if gamers eventually put out the entire three hours of Godfather II in GTA IV - it really is down to the creativity of the man behind the tools.
As the YouTube generation have proved with the wealth of video content captured in San Andreas' sandbox playground, this is more than a throwaway feature and is almost guaranteed to create a bustling Spielberg-a-like community.
So it's prettier, has mental 32-player airport antics and video player to make Niko kiss Brucy. Graphics card aficionados must surely be reaching for their (empty) wallets by now... but we do have one gripe. It's the bizarre chunkiness of the new multiplayer set-up.
The extra game modes are all welcome - and we've already mentioned how outright mental the boosted player count has made bike races - but the decision to incorporate both Games for Windows Live and Rockstar Social Club into the experience has made everything a bit... clunky.
You've got to log into both services, and it's effort enough just to get into GFW these days. Not a biggy, but then anything's useful enough to justify why we haven't given the game 11/10.
While we're at it we also wouldn't have minded an quicksave feature to save us having to stress out over repeating failed missions, but then that probably is too much to ask from a port.
So, what can seven months do to a game? Well if you've got a PC capable of doing its time tables, it can make it prettier, ocassionally more immersive and add community features that could well prove to be a massive source of entertainment for the months going forward.
GTA IV is still one of the standout console games of the current generation, and now it's gone and got it's ultimate version on PC. If you've got a system capable of running it, GTA IV PC is definitely worth picking up.
Impressively bumped-up visuals, more multiplayer carnage and a well-built video editor; this is the ultimate version of 2008's premier sandbox game. If you've got the specs to run it.
- Liberty City is still a joy to explore
- Impressive visual jump
- Video editor is bound to cause waves
- Even more chaotic multiplayer
- Matchmaking is a bit clunky