Man, if Valve is giving someone his money back, you KNOW something's messed up.
Grand Theft Auto IV hit the PC last week with a bang--but it probably wasn't the big explosive event that everyone was hoping for. The release has been plagued by bugs that leave some players completely unable to play, while others are scraping by on machines that aren't showing all of the level geometry, or shadows, or, in the "luckiest" cases, just an erratic and annoying frame rate.
I'm in the frame rate boat, as the game seems to run OK after I downloaded it off of Steam last week. I mean, the menu displays, I can launch the game, and sort of play it. But the minute I get into a car, the frame rate goes all poopy. This is on my 2.4Ghz quad core machine with 2GB of RAM and an 8800 Ultra in it, mind you. It's not the fastest machine in the world, but it ran things like Crysis just fine. You would think it would be able to hang with a higher-res, better-textured version of an Xbox 360 game.
The forum devoted to the GTA series on Steam has been on fire for the last week as players attempt to get the game working and generally bitch about its performance. For its part, Rockstar seems to be at work on the issues, as it's issued a statement about some of the system requirement stuff and they passed along some beta drivers for Nvidia users to try.
In the midst of all this, Voodoo Extreme posted a report they received from someone who managed to get his money back after purchasing the game on Steam. That's not exactly common, as I understand it, and makes it sound like the company is trying to salvage a bad situation. But really, the folks at Steam shouldn't have to suffer through this sort of customer support nightmare when it's clearly Rockstar's fault. Here's the bulk of what the VE reader sent to Valve...
I would like to get a refund of my GTA 4 copy bought from steam. Due to technical errors I am unable to play the game. I meet the recommended PC specifications/requirements but I cannot login to Rockstar Social Club , I cannot start the game, it keeps crashing to the desktop giving no error message what so ever (even after all the activation processes). Rockstar does not have a forum, I can't fix the game with driver updates, I have all the latest drivers and programs.
Therefore due to no fault on my part I request a refund, I was given a faulty product.
Incidentally, "I have all the latest drivers and programs" is a terrific pickup line for all you gents out there trying to make some nice lady friends. Here's what he got back...
Thank you for contacting Steam Support.
As requested, we have processed a refund to your account.
Your bank or credit card issuer will return the funds to your account - please allow 3-5 business days for the funds to be posted.
Please note in the future that Steam purchases, per the Steam Subscriber Agreement, are not refundable - this refund was issued as a one-time customer service gesture.
If you require any further assistance, please let us know.
In the meantime, I got in and played a mission or two, got the cell phone, and tried the multiplayer a bit. With the frame rate being kind of jacked, it just sort of made me long for the console version. I'll probably wait for a patch before I go back in and get some of those PC achievement points, but I think the safest thing to do is to just avoid picking the game up until a few patches are released. It'll probably be right eventually, but right now it's nothing but a mess of frustration for a segment of the PC gaming crowd.