I picked up GTA4 yesterday. A bit reluctant, because I read about the horrible installation/validation process.
We’re now roughly a year after its release date, and because I’m a terrible sucker for bargain bins when it comes to PC games, I’ll analyze what has been fixed and what not in the process: the road to Liberty City.
More behind the cut
These are the steps I experienced:
- Pop in the first DVD.
- The autorun screen had it’s locale set to Korean … My Korean’s a little rusty, so I hoped the left button read “install game” or something similar. Wild guess number one.
- Actually, it appearently meant, “install Rockstar Social Club”. Without any explanation, I had to install this application, which was needed for online play.
- There’s the autorun screen again. I hit the same button. Wild guess number two.
- This time it means “install GTA IV”. Allright, five steps in, we’re getting somewhere! Pretty standard procedure, although the game takes up a hefty 16 Gb and the installation involves 2 disk swaps.
- Again, without any explanation, “Microsoft Live Games” is installed on the end of this installation procedure. DirectX too, but that’s pretty standard, so we’ll let it slip.
- Installer closes, The Rockstar Social Club is launched: it needs updating. A lot.
- After 5 minutes, I’m prompted to create an account in this ‘Social Club’. Browser launches, I fill in the details and wait for a confirmation e-mail. Their mail spooler is set to 15 minutes, so it’s a long wait.
- I activate my account and log in to the Rockstar Social Club: it says I have to “link my Microsoft Live Games account to Rockstar Social Club”. Errrh …
- After some browsing, I find a way to create a Microsoft Live Games account using my old .Net passport. Thank the gods for the good ol’ Hotmail days.
- After some more browsing, I find a way to “link” these two together on the Rockstar Social Club webpage (mind you: not in the Rockstar Social Club application, oh no). Why? I have no idea, but I hope it will be clear soon.
- Finally, I clik on “Play”.
- Game has to be activated using serial code. I enter it, game gets unlocked. SecuROM copy protection complains about ProceXP (a tool I use to monitor process activity), and I have to close that and relaunch.
- Game launches, but Microsoft Live Games overlay pops up and mentions an update. The game will shutdown without the update, it warns me. I don’t really have a choice then, do I?
- The progress bar immediately fills up, but stays like that for 10 minutes. I have to alt-tab out of the game to check whether or not it’s actually downloading the update or just screwing around.
- The game exits, the update installs, the game relaunches.
- I can play GTA4.
There’s no defending this, Rockstar. What could have gone better:
- Ditch Rockstar Social Club entirely, and implement it in-game.
- Integrate Rockstar Social Club with the product activation.
- Get rid of the Games for Windows Live software, although that might be a contractual agreement with Microsoft.
- Give more info on what is installed, and how far along the process is.