5 features that made GTA 4 more realistic

GTA 4 brings new changes with the HD format (Image via Rockstar Games)
GTA 4 brings new changes with the HD format (Image via Rockstar Games)

What makes GTA 4 stand out is the realistic attention to detail - Rockstar Games gives the game down-to-earth authenticity.

At last, the 3D era of GTA finally came to a close. GTA 4 was a next-gen title that transitioned to the HD era. It wasn't just the updated graphics; the game upgraded its physics engine. At the time, Rockstar Games took advantage of the technical state of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

GTA 4 sets a more realistic tone with both the story and the gameplay. Considering the change of direction future games went through, GTA 4 retains a distinctive indentity. These true-to-life features are what make the game fun. It adds a little touch of accuracy to the experience.

Five realistic features from GTA 4 that made it authentic

5) Pedestrians get knocked over

Starting with GTA 4, players can physically collide with pedestrians just by walking or running into them. Ragdoll physics gives players mindless entertainment simply by moving into objects. Niko Bellic even has a pushing animation.

Previous titles did allow players to bump into people. However, the lack of ragdoll physics meant players could not push them down. There was a set animation with them backing up, but that was it.

Some GTA 4 players could waste hours simply pushing away pedestrians. Whether it's onto a garbage pile or from a high ledge, the new engine adds realism to physical encounters.

4) Vehicles now display better damage

GTA 4 greatly expands on vehicle deformation. Previous games had this feature, but they used the same modeled parts (e.g., every cracked window looks similar). There was no damage variation in the vehicles.

With significant improvements to the physics engine, vehicle destruction was more dynamic. For example, damage might cause a burning fuel tank. Individual broken parts also depend on where the vehicle is hit. The impact solely depended on the force and its direction. Damage always looks different and impactful.

Too much damage (especially on the front) will cause the engine to break down, forcing the vehicle to a complete stop. On a related note, vehicles will no longer explode if they are upside down.

3) Car engines can be turned on or off

It's a minor detail, but GTA 4 players can leave their vehicle running when they exit. Previous games automatically did this, but GTA 4 makes it a player's choice. This depends on how they use the exit button (which differs based on the platform). Tapping and holding have different effects.

When players tap the exit button, the ignition will still be on. Players can hear the radio station; the closer they are to the vehicle, the louder the music will be. The acoustic sound effects give it a realistic depth. During evening hours, the lights will also shine brightly.

Players can turn the vehicle off if they hold the exit button. Everything including the engine, radio station, and light systems will be turned off. It's not much, but it adds an extra layer of realism to the game.

2) Weapons will lie on the ground

Unlike previous games, weapons will now lie directly on the ground. Back then, pick-ups would float in the air with a flashing colored aura. It would also spin in place. While it does apply basic video game logic, a spinning rocket launcher would be rather silly-looking in GTA 4.

Instead, weapons will either be laid on the ground or leaned against an object (e.g., a carbine rifle against a metal rail). Weapons will also flash orange so players can find it much easier.

During gunfights, if an enemy is shot dead, they will drop their weapons. It might even misfire upon hitting the ground. There is something very satisfying about watching it in slow-motion. GTA 4 players can also disarm their enemies with a well-placed counter.

1) Ragdoll physics

The most prominent feature in GTA 4 is the ragdoll physics. Character models are no longer static, but move in dynamic ways. If a player is driving a vehicle, they can slightly push nearby pedestrians. They will react according to how much force is applied by the player.

However, ragdoll physics can be somewhat unrealistic under specific conditions. If a player is sent flying through their car windshield, they might do multiple rotations before they land. Nonetheless, GTA 4 players have a lot of fun playing around with the physics engine; it gives them more control.

GTA 4 uses fluid animations to make sure every moment is different. Whether enemies fall backwards with a shotgun blast, or players trip over a fence, every experience is unique. While not everything about GTA 4 was realistic, it remains unmatched in the series.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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