(Below is the beginning of a report filed at MTVNews.com.)
There are two ways to play a "Grand Theft Auto" game: following the rules or not following them.
On Wednesday morning at the headquarters of Rockstar Games, we took Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers in hand and spent two hours with "Grand Theft Auto IV," trying both. The result: a better understanding of what "GTA" rendered on cutting-edge video game hardware feels like and how it might impact fans and nonfans of the series in a whole new way.
"Grand Theft Auto IV" is only six weeks away from release, but only recently have the developers at Rockstar let reporters get their hands on the game. During MTV News' session, we explored the depths of the game's missions and the randomness of simulated city life that makes every tour of a Rockstar gaming metropolis a sandstorm of surprises.
We flew helicopters, we returned an in-game text message on our cell phone, we crashed lots of cars, we wondered if the game's version of the Statue of Liberty was supposed to look like Hillary Clinton (not intentional, Rockstar says), and we earned a five-star wanted rating on the series' newly expanded six-star police-alertness meter...