With Grand Theft Auto V taking a lot of the headlines in the news recently I started to get a craving to play the games predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV. Despite my original thoughts of the game, I’ve actually been having a blast with it. But then I started to wonder, what makes the violence on screen seem so offensive to some people? That’s when it occurred to me that I look at it from a different perspective than most.
Upon starting the game I was quickly reminded of just how complex the game world actually is, with a city that’s bustling full of crazed maniacs and drivers that like to switch lanes every 30 yards, it’s inevitable that chaos was going to start unfolding pretty quickly, but this chaos is also incredibly clever!
Despite taking caution initially and try stay under the radar, It wasn’t long before I was plowing my way down the sidewalks on my roof in a poor effort to escape the police with civilians watching helplessly as half a ton of artificial car hurtles towards them. I started to realize that all I see personally is the carefully crafted artificial world around me.
This particular journey began after leaving my hideout in South Bohan, when I started to grow tired of the local conspiracy crazed nutcase and decided to take action. I wedged his legs against the wall and the Euphoria engine caused his upper body to slump over the bonnet as he writhed in pain. I was impressed to see the engine was aware that his legs were wedged between two objects, essentially holding him up, as most games would typically have crushed him under the vehicle leaving them in a ragdolling heap. The fact that he fell and smacked his head on the curb as he tried to stumble away really drove home how deep the system is too.
As my wanted level began to rise my cautious attitude began to go out the window and the NPC’s became nothing more than a small obstacle.
Whilst I was speeding towards a corner at much too high a speed, my attempted handbrake turn that had led me to the sidewalk began to flip my car, which by this point had been switched for a 7-seater taxi. The vehicles wobbly suspension hurled the car into the air, leaving the locals having a casual cigarette on their doorstep in the shadow of impending doom.
As the bonnet landed directly on the first unsuspecting victim undoubtedly killing him, I noticed his friend had only suffered a lesser blow from the door swinging open, sweeping her from her feet and sending her bouncing along the road, yet accurately leaving her with her AI life intact as she hobbled away down the street. Using my pistol I aimed at the girl and noticed that she had lost about 70% of her health from a side effect of a collision, again a highlight of how deep the engines systems are. And no, I didn’t pull the trigger, despite the fact she would have only respawned at the end of the street with a new hair cut and possibly driving a Comet, I felt this NPC deserved a break.
Of my many escapades throughout the game, some of the best have happened in the busy high street of glitz and glam that runs through the center of the second large island. The amount of traffic negates the wide road making it a hot spot for high speed collisions that warp the cars body and manifold under the force of the crash. The NPC’s very cleverly begin to scream as they watch a driver helplessly hurtled through their windscreen only to be ran over by a stampede of yellow taxis.
The physics of the Euphoria and Havok engine’s step in again as I closely pass a cop car at high speed, crushing the unfortunately positioned officer in the door as it slams shut on him thanks to the collision detection throwing the door back at high speed as my car nicked it, accurately wedging his legs and neck between the chassis and door frame.
Unfortunately this of course increased my wanted rating and the police were now starting to show up in full force, grouping up around me and leaving me very little room to move other than attempting to ram my way through. As I squirmed from car to car nudging officers gently out of my way I noticed the engine also equates only the smallest forces into a useful skill, allowing me to nudge the officers legs gently to leave them stumbling like a drunk whilst I regain my bearings. As I reach my opening I saw a panicking driver hit a lamp post, which then continued to fall onto a running civilian whilst the Havok engine’s physics crushed and killed him under the force of the cascading remains.
On my way to the closest Pay N’ Spray I had one final collision with an NPC which grabbed my attention. Turning a corner I caught the leg of a female NPC at a reasonable speed, the collision had only impacted a single leg but this propelled her into the air lightly with the leg that I hit noticeably further forward than the other, again a testament to how deep the physics are on the game. I can’t say that the passer by was as pleased to see that same leg though, as it was going to connect with his face pretty soon. To add to my surprise, she continued to complain about her hip upon landing!
Feeling that my time here had come to a close and that I should probably get back to the main game, I abandoned my newly sprayed taxi and decided to look for something better whilst returning to my law-abiding strategy and pondering how much I have missed during the game because I wasn’t taking the time to pan that awkward camera around and look at my resulting path of mayhem.
The result of my on-the-fly decisions in tandem with the Euphoria and Havok engines had caused absolute chaos, yet to me it’s nothing more than a bunch of complex calculations and a few amusing scenes, it doesn’t represent the real world.
But even in my efforts to abide by the law as best as possible in the game, violence towards my own character was also unavoidable. Despite the games incredibly advanced systems you can’t hep but feel that waiting behind that cops car at the traffic lights was in vain once his friend tears through you at over 100 Km/h in a patrol car trying to catch a thief.