To expand on the new combat targeting system, Rockstar fire up another mission entitled "Deconstruction for Beginners". It seems that a wealthy Arab property developer is being screwed by the Mafia over a downtown construction site, and progress on the building has slowed to a crawl now the trade union has become involved. Niko is briefed on this mission by "Playboy X" - an African-American criminal kingpin living in splendour at an upmarket, high-rise apartment overlooking the city - a city, we're told, he owns. Halfway through this meeting, another character is introduced - "Dwayne". Dwayne has just been released from prison, or "pre-school", as he euphemistically puts it, and despite Playboy's obvious annoyance at his presence, he insists on continuing the pair's previous crime partnership. The meeting is cut short - hinting at another, deeper plot line that Rockstar didn't elaborate on.
We head out on to the street and start looking for some wheels. Niko and Playboy walk along the pavement and around the corner where a taxi is pulling up at a set of lights. Niko then hails the taxi, and both he and Playboy get in. At this point, and after changing the radio station in the taxi to something a bit more upbeat, Playboy starts jabbering on about the reason for the mission, and the story behind the mob involvement. Rockstar pointed out that this dialogue would have taken place had we simply jacked a car - but as we're in the back of a taxi, it's the perfect opportunity to use the exterior camera shots to take a good look at the city whilst someone else drives for a change. Interestingly, we pass by a set of railway tracks that disappear underground – when pressed, Rockstar admitted there is a subway component to the game, and it is functional. After a short period of admiring the quality of the landscape, Rockstar skips the taxi ride (which we are told incurs a small penalty charge over the normal taxi fare) and we're at our destination, albeit $65 lighter.
The construction site is a sprawling expanse consisting of a large dirt hole with unfinished masonry and iron girders lying about, along with the skeleton of what is obviously intended to be a large commercial building. Rockstar informed us there were two ways of going about this mission - either head straight in, guns blazing, and suffer the (most likely terminal) consequences, or use a conveniently placed service elevator to get to the roof and pick off as many of the guards from long range as possible. We chose the latter. It took around twenty seconds for the lift to reach the top of the building, and here for the first time we saw the real Liberty City. A word of warning - it's huge. Not only horizontally, but vertically as well. It's as close to computer generated vertigo as you can possibly get, so much so that we were zooming downwards to shoot the mafia guards off the building. A well placed stomach shot saw one guard spiral off the building, and fall about twenty stories only to land on the roof of a Range Rover parked below - crushing the roof and smashing out the windows in a perfectly scripted cinematic sequence. Another guard was shot in the foot and had the same tumble, only to land with a sickening crunch and slight bounce on the pavement, leaving a disturbingly accurate pool of gore at the point of impact. Brilliant.
After returning to the ground, and communicating with Playboy via an in-game headset, we moved Niko towards the main construction area where he was met with a hail of bullets from the disgruntled mafia-controlled workers. Immediately, Niko performed a flawless skid and dived behind an iron girder, periodically reappearing to fire off a few shots using a blind-fire routine. I'm pleased to report that possibly the largest annoyance of GTA III has been removed - the targeting system in GTA IV appears to work perfectly. Targets are acquired using a "lock-on" style system, at which point the right stick can be used to target an individual area of the body. Head shots are always fatal, but are obviously tricky to get from a long range, so you can simply switch between targets and fire off as many rounds as you can until they're all dead. Or you're dead, whichever comes first. No more moving the stick from left to right to left again trying to get remotely close to the bad guy - it's all done for you, so you can concentrate on making it look good, although Rockstar did point out that without a good working knowledge of using cover to avoid enemy fire, the mission would be all but impossible. Needless to say, with the expert demonstration from Rockstar the evil mob boss was dispatched, the highlight of which was seeing one of his henchmen blown across the construction site on to an adjoining roof after getting a little too close to Niko's grenade.