So...is anybody playing GTA 4 multiplayer, not having problems, and is actually enjoying it?
I haven't tried multiplayer yet, but I intend to once I finish the story. Background programs and DRM don't bother me much (they're annoying, but I'm not going to boycott a game because of them and deprive myself of a fun game), so keep that in mind. Anyway, I'm really enjoying the singleplayer game. Combat is improved quite a bit from previous games in the series, although the driving seems a bit worse. All of the trademarks of the GTA series are there: the sarcastic humor, larger-than-life characters, cinematic missions, sandbox-style gameplay, and so on. It's a shame that the game suffers from performance issues and graphical glitches (textures disappear and reappear sometimes when I'm playing), but I wouldn't call it a crippling blow. With a little tweaking, the game is very playable, and patching should only improve things.
I always take complaints here (and at other sites) with a grain of salt. With each new year, bitter, bitchy gamers seem to double in size. PC gamers are the worst of the bunch, for whatever reason. I choose to be an optimist. Sometimes I get depressed by buggy games or the decreasing number of PC games, but I try to stay positive. Why game if it makes you so miserable? Some of the complaints are valid, but as usual the noise is a lot higher than the validity of the complaining warrants.
As for whether you should buy the game or not, it really depends on what you're willing to deal with. If you don't mind dealing with third-party programs (both of them are pretty much invisible once you sign up*) and tweaking the game to get it to a playable framerate, the game is a lot of fun.
* Social Club is part of the launcher and also runs in the tray, and the game will automatically sign you in to Live during the intro movies, so they're pretty unobtrusive. This comment was edited on Dec 8, 2008, 12:36.