Like many of my peers in the industry, there are many positive things I could say about the Grand Theft Auto IV experience. After all, it really is as good as we’ve been been hearing, and I’ve certainly been enjoying my time with Rockstar’s cash cow “murder simulator”. Unfortunately, though, I have no choice but to use my first post on the subject to point out an epic negative: The game is broken.
Since I picked it up three weeks ago, I have put a great amount of mileage on the game, all without issue. Then, about four days ago, and without any rhyme or reason, the game began to frequently FREEZE. Typically, the video will freeze anywhere from 10 to 45 seconds, all the while the audio will proceed as normal (indicating that the game itself is still moving along just fine). I’ve never had the frozen video stick around long enough to require a complete reboot of my Xbox 360, and it nearly always returns to normal — allowing me to continue with my raping and pillaging. However, when the video doesn’t unfreeze, I get one of those lovely “This disc is unreadable. Clean it with a soft cloth, arsehole!” messages. Of course, my disc is in immaculate condition with no obstructions on it whatsoever, so the disc cleaning message is a non-solution to the issue at hand.
I had begun to assume that my 360 was nearing the end of its life, with the inevitable “red ring of death” being on its way, but I’ve discovered that this freezing problem only occurs while playing GTA IV. Through a little bit of searching on the Intarwebs, I’ve also discovered that I’m merely one of a great number of gamers who are having this problem, with both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game: Playstation Forums; Xbox Forums; NeoGAF Forums; Gamespot Talkback.
While Rockstar has made a patch available to straighten things out for PS3 owners, Xbox 360 gamers have so far been S.O.L., with no patch in sight. Rockstar’s pre-patch solution? Erase your game saves and start over.