Grand Theft Auto IV: Midnight Lineup and First Impressions

Here’s a photo of the line outside my local EB Games (the Runnymede/St. Clair location in Toronto) for Grand Theft Auto IV, taken last night at midnight:

Midnight line for GTA IV outside the EB Games at Runnymede and St. Clair, Toronto

The 30-car parking lot behind the store was full of cars that I could’ve sworn were lifted right from the previous game in the series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: small sports cars painted in bright colours with lowered suspensions, chrome wheels and obnoxiously loud exhausts and stereos driven by guys in hoodies. The male-female ratio was high, but there actually were some teenage girls in line, which is a good sign: why should guys have all the realistically rendered fun in a virtual New York?

The door to the store is a few paces past the “no left turn” sign in the distance. I waited in line for about an hour and managed to get one of the last non-pre-ordered copies for the XBox 360.

A trailer for Grand Theft Auto featuring my character’s cousin Roman.

After getting back home, I played the game for about an hour, soaking up the the visually gorgeous opening sequence, running errands for my character’s cousin, Roman, shopping for clothes to impress a lady and beating up Albanian loan sharks. I’m going to have to jack a car and explore the city, as it’s so gorgeously rendered that it feels quite real. While the “San Francisco” segment of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas gave me the feeling of deja vu (I lived there for a year), Grand Theft Auto IV made me feel as if I was in Brooklyn right now.

Here’s a video of the opening of the game, featuring the title sequence and the first few minutes of mise en scene:

The first 10 minutes of Grand Theft Auto IV.

I’ll post more details as I play the game.