Breathing new life into an old classic…
There’s no denying that GTA V is the pretty girl at the party. Ever since she walked into the room, all eyes have been fixed on her. Since setting world records and posting huge sales numbers upon its initial launch (and continuing that success with the multiplayer rollout later) GTA V is riding high and rightfully so. However, even though a newly remastered edition is set to once again shove the latest sequel into the spotlight as the definitive Grand Theft Auto experience; did you know there is tons of fun yet to be had with an old favorite?
There was a time when GTA IV (featuring everyone’s favorite immigrant Niko Bellic) was all the rage. At the time, it was heralded as the most innovative Auto game to date, once again moving the bar higher and higher for future entrants. Although, just because time and technology have passed this great little gem by (and I use the term “little” very loosely) some may not realize how much fun you can still have with the game. No matter if you’ve been into the PC modding scene for decades, or have only recently started to explore its possibilities; GTA IV is a great place to start! This is a series which is no stranger to fan-made content, as the PC editions of GTA have entire networks dedicated to tweaking and changing things to your heart’s content. It’s easy to suggest that it was with GTA IV where this movement really hit its peak. This game alone has produced some of the most beautiful (and might I add fun) add-ons created by any community, as it now rivals many AAA titles released in today’s current market!
So for all you PC fanatics out there, let me give you just a few examples of why you might actually have more fun playing an older GTA title, vs. the current offerings on the next-gen Xbox or PlayStation.
Location, Location, Location!
There is nothing better than stealing a car and heading out on the open road. Speeding through the dusty desert highways of the West Coast speaks to my inner Thelma and Louise. While GTA V has the feather in its cap of sporting the largest and most expansive map to ever grace the franchise, it lacks that charm of the big city magic in my opinion. While I don’t want to blow this article up into an East Coast/West Coast blood feud, I’ve always preferred the lights of Liberty City to San Andreas. I know that comes down to personal preference, but GTA IV lets you step into one of the most realistic representations of New York City you’ll ever find in any video game. Period.
It’s the car right? Chicks dig the car.
While it’s easy to lose yourself in the beautiful sights and sounds of GTA (and by that…I mean strippers and guns) don’t forget this game’s focus is about ‘Autos over all else! Even though it already sports a wide variety of vehicles, swapping them out for something more fun (like the Batmobile, a DeLorean complete with time circuits or the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard) is particularly entertaining! And, if you get bored with buzzing around on four wheels, there are no shortage of aircraft mods as well (try flying a UFO sometime). There are literally 1,000s of mods to choose from online, turning this game into the ultimate sandbox for big kids like us.
One mod is so good…it may be the roots of Skynet!
If you’re at all familiar with the GTA’s modding scene, then you’re probably already know about iCEnhancer. If not, I can only describe it as injecting your game with a huge shot of graphical steroids. With improved lighting, motion blur and depth of field filters, GTA IV actually looks like it was designed for the PS4 or Xbox One. Think I’m exaggerating? Just check out the screenshot posted above. That’s from a PC game released almost six years ago! It’s absolutely insane and is a must have for any modder (NOTE: you’ll need a seriously beefed-up system to run it properly).
I’m certainly not suggesting that GTA IV is a better game than its younger brother, as no mod can ever touch the advancements we’ve seen in the latest release. However, this does highlight how community generated content (backed by the innovative minds of those who love PC gaming) can take something old and remake it new again. I’ve only scratched the surface regarding all the great things you can do (not to mention a selfie-mod recently announced for all you hipsters out there). Let’s hope Rockstar stops torturing us and releases the much anticipated PC version of GTA V sooner rather than later. I can only imagine what the fan community will do once they get their hands on it!
Now if you’ll excuse me, time to stroll through the streets of Star Junction with Glenn Frey‘s “You Belong to the City” blaring in the background…