Grand Theft Auto IV: Redux

Grand Theft Auto is a franchise that every gamer, no, every person who has ever heard of computer games knows about. It is the hallmark with which other sandbox type games are measured. Originally released in April 2008 for consoles (Xbox 360 & PS3), Grand Theft Auto IV was released for the PC in December 2008 in North America. PC gamers… worldwide were waiting with bated breath for this mega-game to hit their platforms but their excitement and joy was short-lived. GTA IV for the PC was a direct console port and a really shoddy one at that as well. Many enthusiasts of the franchise expressed their dismay and outrage through online forums however, it seemed as if Rockstar was not really interested in making it right for the PC gaming community. This trend of giving console gamers preference by game studios is nothing new and will be addressed in a subsequent article here on 30 Inch Reviews. However, for this particular piece, the focus is on GTA IV on the PC. With mounting disappointment at the buggy, barely playable version of GTA IV on the PC, GTA fans were ready to call it quits when they were thrown a bone. A couple of “modders” in the community got together and decided to give the PC version of GTA IV an overhaul. And boy what an overhaul it was! The famous ENB modder Boris Voronstov and ICEnhancer “Ice La Glace” changed GTA IV and the modding community forever. With either of their graphics mods applied to GTA IV on the PC, the game came alive with brilliantly realistic graphics, custom weapons, vehicles, clothes, and various other mods that hundreds of modders around the world have developed. It gave people a reason to go back and reinstall GTA IV on their rigs just to try these insanely beautiful mods out!


We at 30 Inch Reviews applied the ENB mod with some tweaks and applied several custom cars and weapons and we have to say that GTA IV was NEVER this fun before. These modders took a base game that was somewhat fun and turned it into a never-ending ride of action-filled mayhem that GTA is best known for. We also tried the iCEnhancer 2.1 mod that was recently released and out of all the graphics mods, this one really is the best!


GTA IV was a huge upgrade from GTA III and its sales on the consoles proved that quite clearly. The PC port however was lackluster and seemed more of an afterthought for Rockstar than an actual development platform that can be utilized to get the best out of the RAGE engine, developed by iD Software, used in GTA IV. However, as aforementioned, with the ENB mod installed over the patch of GTA IV, the game was transformed almost unrecognizably. With the high resolution textures, vibrant colors, and lighting effects, GTA IV modded was like a brand new game! Driving around Liberty City in broad daylight and blasting people with a SCAR-H rifle and riot-shotguns made for some mighty grins. To top it off, the various cars that can be added to the PC version of the game really set the modded version of GTA IV apart from its console counterparts. Cruising Liberty City in a $3.5M Bugatti SuperSport was unheard of until now.


Power sliding across four lanes of traffic on the Liberty City freeway in a Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster was and still is unimaginable in the console version of the game. Giving Niko Bellic a shave and a tonsured look while donning on new designer gear such as PRADA was stuff of fantasy until GTA IV modders got to the scene. In essence, with the mods, GTA IV is a must play for any gaming enthusiast. If you haven’t touched GTA IV since its release in April 2008 on the Xbox 360 or PS3, go pick up a copy right now at your local store or on Steam for dirt cheap (<$20) and give these mods a whirl. We at 30 Inch Reviews were so amazed with these mods we played through the storyline of GTA IV three separate times just to take in the scenery and enjoy the ride, pun intended! The biggest clincher of them all is that these amazing mods from these incredibly talented folks are absolutely free!

Look at this monstrous Top Fuel Dragster blast through the narrow streets of Liberty City at over 170MPH!



Playing GTA IV modded on one 30″ monitor and expecting a decent framerate is challenging on any computer. With the ENB mod, there are literally hundreds of settings that can be tweaked from the aspect ratio to anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion, anisotropic filtering, and so forth. The mods put tremendous stress on the system and unless you have a really good graphics card, or preferably several of them, running GTA IV in its full glory is next to impossible. Of course, if you turn down the settings to “LOW” and set many of the in-game settings to a minimal level, it may still be playable but that is not how we do things here at 30 Inch Reviews! We cranked up every setting we could to see what kind of framerate we would get and whether the game was actually playable. To our surprise, with ambient occlusion, more than 30 cars and many weapons among other mods installed, the Uber Rig was still able to push GTA IV at a constant 70 – 80 FPS at 1600P!


With the graphics cards being pushed with all the mods, the fan profile had to be set at 85% to make sure that the temperatures never went above 70 – 75C. At 30 Inch Reviews, we feel that it would be ideal if you had two or more GTX-580s to play with all the settings turned up and mods installed or perhaps even one of the newest generation 28nm chip GPUs such as the AMD Radeon 7970 would handle this game with ease.


A word of warning, however, to the uninitiated. These mods are in no way supported by Rockstar and if you apply the ENB mod amongst others, they will tax your entire rig and if you’re not careful, it could cause problems for your GPU. So be warned but of course, you knew that already!

Surround (7680×1600 – 8100×1600)

GTA IV in Surround was a total disaster. It screws up the Field of View (FoV) and makes everything look squished and is not supported by Rockstar. More importantly, since GTA IV with all the mods was already pushing the computer so much with one 30″ monitor, trying to play on 3 of them would probably bring even the Uber Rig to its knees. This is not necessarily to do with the rig’s capabilities but more so to do with the way GTA IV is programmed. Some people might dispute this claim but at 30 Inch Reviews, we eat, breathe, and live 30″ monitor gaming. Certain games like Batman Arkham City were programmed really well from the “factory” so to speak to work seamlessly in Surround and/or Eyefinity. GTA IV was never intended to run at those resolutions and although it can easily be run with a few mods such as cars, weapons and some texture mods in Surround, using hardcore mods such as ENB or ICEnhancer was just not feasible for the technology available today.


If any of you out there have 3 30″ monitors and can run GTA IV fully modded with playable framerates, we’d love to hear your experience!

*UPDATE* (12/31/12):

After upgrading the Uber Rig to the massive 4-Way SLI configuration with EVGA GTX-680 Classified GPUs as well as the X79 i7 3970X CPU, we oriented the 3 30″ monitors in Portrait mode – a resolution of 5160×2560 (~ 13.2 MILLION pixels!).

Surprisingly, GTA IV worked beautifully in this resolution and hence, we were back to blasting baddies in Liberty City with Niko Bellic ridin’ dirty in some insanely exotic cars and weapons!


After spending several hours modding and tweaking GTA IV to our liking, we just love the game more than ever. The game is totally worth getting on PC just for trying the various mods out there on sites like GTA4-Mods etc. If these mods were not available, this game would be an EPIC FAIL on the PC due to its poor implementation and lack of support from Rockstar. Until GTA V comes out later this year, modding GTA IV and wreaking havoc in Liberty City is the only way to really get your dose of GTA medication.




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