Since most reviewer's don't take into account performance issues, they will likely be giving this a high rating, however
When it comes to GTA4, I can barely run the game with LOW TEXTURES, the sliders are crippled so they will only go as high as rockstar believes you should go for your particular machine. That's right, you CANNOT use the high texture settings unless you have AT LEAST a 600 mb video card. I managed to get my textures up to medium but it drops the draw distance to 1 (out of 100). This is the least optimized game I have ever played and I play every single game that pushes technological boundaries. I could go on and on about how poor the performance is, but there are other issues to address.
First off, after installing the game (which took almost an hour), I was (like everyone else) forced to install Windows Live and Rockstar Social Club. After the 45 minutes of installing, I was forced to download another 30 megs just to get the Social Club working. I thought to myself, "At least that is over with, and now I can have some fun with the actual game".
WRONG. I must be getting senile in my old age of 25 because I somehow forgot that PC gamers have become paying beta testers when it comes to any and EVERY game that started on a console. Although Gears of War ran incredibly well, especially compared to GTA IV. Anyway, I finally had the game ready to go, I login to the 50 programs it forces you to log into just so you can play, and boom, crash to desktop.
After another 30 minutes of searching forums I found out that the "Social Club" crashes the game if you are logged in, and the "Club" also happens to be the only way you can access multiplayer! Fantastic decision guys! Seriously is there a gas leak at Rockstar? Or was everyone just sitting around with their thumbs up their asses looking at this horrible port, saying to themselves, "Think enough people have upgraded by now?"
This is disgusting what they have released upon our community, and I think it is total B.S. for reviewers to wait for a patched version to review it because that's not what I bought, and it's not what everyone else bought. What we bought was an unfinished product and my review reflects that realistically.
August 2009 -
The game has been patched and has become more stable, the multiplayer is still so problematic that it is simply not worth it. With all the most recent patches in place, I was able to have an enjoyable single player experience and a few good LAN games with a friend, but I am not going to change my score because it truly was that god awful when it was released.